Mo’ Mega

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It’s understandable that Mr. Lif doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a "political rapper." That’s a phrase as limiting as the quotations that surround it. But despite Lif’s best efforts to showcase his other sides (the vaguely humorous "Washitup," the sentimental "For You"), he’ll always be best as a political rapper, with everything else coming in a solid second. Yeah, the average-guy appeal of "Long Time" is fun, but compared to his other, weightier stuff, it falls short. Luckily, Mo’ Mega is mainly a political album, with some very good cuts on it, too. "The Fries," about the McDonaldization of the United States, or "Brothaz," which spurns the government’s attitude towards African-Americans, are hard-hitting and provocative, with intelligent rhymes that make no attempt to soften the emcee’s thoughts ("America don’t give a fuck about you"). Add to that El-P’s production — urban chaos conveyed in hollow beats and layered synths — and the intensity of Lif’s rhymes starts to raise the terror level. On Mo’ Mega, the lighter songs are nice. But it’s the thoughtful, timely and powerful tracks that still make Lif such a respected force. That probably means he’ll still be considered "political." But that’s a small price to pay for remaining vital.

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