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Mo' Mega is the long-awaited 2nd album from one of Def Jux's most critically acclaimed artists. To help commit the sound and fury of his most recent soundbombs to tape, Mr. Lif has teamed up with acclaimed producer and longtime collaborator El-P to set the sonic table for Mo' Mega. As always, Def Jux head honcho El Producto has flipped the boom-bap, orchestrating a catalytic soundscape from behind the boards one that could only be navigated by a lyrical force as focused and deadly as Lif's. From the Katrina soaked streets of New Orleans to the blood soaked battle-grounds of Sudan and back, there's a riot going on and Mr. Lif has created its definitive soundtrack.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Mo' Mega is largely a credit to El-P's progression as a producer, than it is a lasting testament to Lif's superior skills on the mic. He's always proven that he more than holds his own. So when he chose to drop his first studio album in almost four years, he chose to hand the reins over almost completely to El-P in the hopes that something close to a classic could emerge. Gone are the sprawling robotic sounding epic tracks, the sheer bombastic pomposity of a producer trying too hard to simply be different. Left in its place are crisp drums and stabbing piano keys and guitar riffs that create what most fans have always wanted from Def Jux but were just too scared to ask: a simple hip hop album.
Lif more than delivers, most notably on the absolutely despicable single "Brothaz," where he turns his ire again on the Bush administration (and a pot shot at Hillary). Followed immediately by the impact of the narrative, "Fries", with other standouts like "Take, Hold, Fire!" and "Long Distance", the album coasts along with help from El-P, Aesop Rock, Murs, and Blueprint all lending their vocals to an album that is quite simply, one of the better efforts emerging from a pack of dull and listless hip hop that makes its way down the pipeline these days, whether mainstream or indy.
So if you're a fan of "Elektro" or "Inhuman Capabilities," yearn for more of the same like "The Now" and "Home of the Brave", then Mo' Mega delivers and then some. A superb effort by inarguably one of the most intelligent minds in the game.
The production on 'Mo'Mega' is largely handled by Def Jux founder El-P, who has also provided a good amount of production for Lif in the past. El-P's production style is pretty unorthodox, and many hip hop fans find his production just too "out there". While his production here is a bit more "normal" than what you might expect from him, people who aren't fans of El-Producto might be turned off by the production here. The 3 tracks that aren't produced by El-P have somewhat more conventional production, and they're handled by Edan (Murs Iz My Manager), Nick Toth (For You) and Mr. Lif himself (Washtup!). Overall, I feel that the production is great, although not as good as the production on Lif's past material.
Lyrically, Lif excells as always. Subject matter is great, flow is on point, and Lif executes extremely well. But once again, as shown by past material, Lif can do better. On I Phantom, for example, Lif showed his storytelling ability as well as numerous concept songs (considering it was a concept album). Lif strays away from storytelling and concept songs on 'Mo'Mega', which is pretty disapointing considering how great they were on I Phantom.
Overall, this really is a great album, and by far one of the best of 2006. But if you're a Lif fan lookings for another 'I Phantom', you might be disapointed on the first listen. But it definately grows on you.
Top 5 Songs (In Order):
1. Murs Iz My Manager (Featuring Murs) - Murs (another one of my favorite rappers) and Lif show great chemistry on this track, going back and forth over maybe the best beat on the album.
2. Brothaz - Sounds like a track straight off of 'Emergency Rations'; politically charged, and extremely dope.
3. For You - Great beat provided by Nick Toth (never heard of him before), and shows a more personal side of Lif (along with 'Looking In...') that was rarely seen on prior albums.
4. The Fries - 2 dope beats from El-P, accompanied with social commentary on fast food and other topics make this a definate standout.
5. Take, Hold, Fire (Featuring Aesop Rock & El-P) - Great overall track featuring 2 nice verses from labelmates Aesop Rock & El-P.
Long Distance - Not a bad track, but not as good lyrically, nor beat-wise as the rest of the album. Just overall the least enjoyable track.
Lyrics/Substance/Subject Matter - 9/10
Flow/Delivery - 8.5/10
Production - 8/10
Overall Feel - 8/10
Guest Apperances - Aesop Rock, El-P, Murs, Akrobatik & Blueprint - 9.5/10 - Every one of the guests makes a memorable apperance. Definately a high point of the album.
Overall Rating - 8.5/10 - Pick this up if youre a fan of political hip hop that makes you think...but if you haven't heard any Mr. Lif before, you might want to pick up 'Emergency Rations' or 'I Phantom' first.
At first when I put on this CD about a week ago I definately had my doubts but, as with every Lif release, it takes a few spins to totally appreciate it. I even disliked I Phantom at first but it soon grew into one of my favorite Hip-hop albums.
This one has the most layered, intricate production of any Lif album so far. Props to El-p for handling most of the duties. Lif's lyrics are a little more hard to discern than with previous efforts but the CD booklet has the lyrics printed to help you along.
Upon further understanding of the lyrics you will find the same topics covered as in I Phantom and a few new ones, but not in a chronological concept sort of way. This is layed out more like a traditional Hip-hop album. It's not as serious of an album as Emergency Rations or I Phantom. In typical Lif fashion his words seem to weave yarns that very few MC's can accomplish. When combined with the different beats, you have one rewarding listen.
It is a refreshing listen from Lif for the fact that it's different than anything else out there right now (and better) and different than anything he's done before. If your a fan of good Hip-hop or Mr. Lif pick this up RIGHT NOW!
My favorite track and message on the record is somewhat of a comedy sketch - "Murs Iz My Manager" (featuring Murs from the Living Legends crew). Murs tries to guide Lif to fame as they discuss how much work it takes to promote yourself and be known in this industry. "Brothaz" is also a favorite. Lif sounds hungry on this track, and El-P spruces it up with a massive heart thumping beat. "Take, Hold, Fire" featuring dope verses by Aesop Rock and El-P remains a favorite. They all perform well under El-P's sick soundscape. The semi-comical "Washtup" and "Long Distance" are probably two of the worst tracks I've yet heard from Lif. I never thought he would delve into such played out repetitive topics as telling your girl to wash "it" up, and a story of a long distance relationship while on tour (beating a dead horse anyone?). The title track finds Akrobatik kicking a sweet verse along with Lif, with Blueprint falling somewhat short. "For You" is a nice personal tribute to his child...a beautiful closer.
Sadly, a lyricist can make or break and album. I'm not saying Lif has lost his touch, as this is a fine record when comparing it to the competition. But if you are a first-timer, I cannot recommend this as your first purchase. Pick up "I Phantom" or "Emergency Rations" first. If you are in my shoes, and you're just starving to hear a new Lif record, by all means buy it! Just don't expect anything revolutionary.