Mr. Lif I Phantom

[Def Jux; 2002]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: underground hip hop
Others: The Coup, El-P

This conversation was intercepted by satellite transmission from the outer dimensions of the universe**   Nation Leader: So, second-in-command, what have you uncovered about these strange creatures called earthlings?

Second-In-Command: Well, where do I begin? I can simply be put in these words; these earth people seem to love living with two elements, happiness and tragedy that leads to sadness.

N.L.: What do you means?

S-I-C: It all seems to begin at birth. From that moment, their lives embark on an emotional ride until death. But what is evident is that it is other humans that cause this bumpy ride. Their world is full of chaos and this constant exposure has caused many earthlings to make wrong decisions in their personal lives that affect others in many negative ways.

N.L.: Please explain?

S-I-C:  Lets start with the union of marriage. This is the foundation of most of the humans on earth. This union keeps the population growing by producing offspring that are called children. This relationship is built on the fundamentals of what they refer to as “Love”. But it seems that it does not last very long. Within a few years, this “love” seems to diminish to nothing and the next appropriate step is divorce.  So to conclude, marriage is happiness, divorce is tragedy.   

N.L.: It is tragedy to two people only, right?  

S-I-C: No, because there is a child involved who will grow up without a father. This child will not have the proper guidance in life to live on the right path. The child will encounter neglect and may resort to improper activities as he grows up. As for the father, he will re-marry and create more offspring but will never connect to each child because he is too busy working long hours every day.  

N.L.: Long hours, what do you mean?  

S-I-C: It’s called the rat race. Most humans will work a job from nine to five every day. But what they don’t tell you is that they are utterly unhappy doing so. They do not like their jobs or their boss but must continue to work to afford proper accommodation and food to survive. And of course, if you have a child, you must properly take care of it. These hard times only add to the tragedy of their lives. Children are growing up alone as single mothers try to make ends meet.

N.L.: So what do they do about all this tragedy?

S-I-C: They create more tragedy by resorting to violent behaviour.  

N.L.: Violent behaviour, what is that? 

S-I-C: It is possibly the most gruesome act that humans use to try to gain control of their lives. But violence only seems to end in tragedy. Deep mental anguish seems to hinder their thought process. And what follows is a chain of events that leads to tragic circumstances. This is their ultimate downfall. 

N.L.: It seems that we should eliminate all contact with these life forms. But what do we do? We must advise all of our population to stay away from planet earth and all of its surroundings. S-I-C: I’ve come up with a great idea. While I was travelling on earth, I came to a city called New York. That is where I found our best means of communication with our people. His name is Mr. Lif. He has created a music album that touches on all of the subjects about modern day life. This music album is called I Phantom and is possibly the most detailed address to earth people that they are slowly killing themselves.  

I think that we should broadcast this album throughout our nation and advised our people of how dangerous earthlings can be.  This will deter our people to travel to earth for pleasure.   N.L.: But if you found this album on earth, why has it not created a deeper impact on earth people?

S-I-C: That is a good question. Perhaps people are blinded by glamour, money, criticism, popularity and ignorance. This is a hip-hop album. One of the best musical achievements in the hip-hop genre. But most people have fallen to the popularity of top forty hip-hop that they have neglected the true heroes. Mr. Lif is one of those heroes. This is the boldest statement that any hip-hop artist has ever made. Mr. Lif is trying to change his society by showing them that there are better ways of living. 

N.L.: Thank you Mr. Lif for saving our society. Earth should be more aware of such a true role model.  Good luck in saving your world.

S-I-C: Yes, thank you Mr. Lif. You have saved us. Lets hope you can do the same for yours.

**All characters are fictitious and no people were harmed in the making of this review.

1. Bad Card
2. A Glimpse at the Struggle
3. Return of the B-Boy
4. Live from the Plantation
5. New Man Theme
6. Handouts
7. Status
8. Success
9. Daddy Dearest
10. The Now
11. Friends and Neighbors
12. Iron Helix
13. Earthcrusher
14. Post Mortem