Get To Know Le1f Before He Comes and Rocks The Double Wide With Us.
By now, you should be at least somewhat familiar with rapidly rising New York hip-hop star-in-the-making Le1f, thanks, in no small part, to the hotly-buzzing EP he released last week that's only picked up steam since the rapper made his national television debut last week on David Letterman's Late Show program.
However you measure it, all signs seem to indicate that this cat is about to blow the fuck up.
Not all that familiar with Le1f just yet? Hey, that's OK. There's still a some time to get acquainted with this steady up-and-comer before he headlines our next Red Bull Sound Select showcase tomorrow night at the Double Wide.
To that end, we've put together a crash course of fun facts to get you up to speed.
He's groundbreaking. Le1f recently became the first rapper signed to Terrible Records, the label owned by Grizzly Bear multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor. On March 11, the label released his new five-song EP, Hey, as a co-effort with major indie label XL Records.
No, we mean like really groundbreaking. His appearance on last Thursday's episode of Late Show with David Letterman marked the first time that an openly gay rapper performed on a major network late-night talk show, something that Le1f took to Twitter to express his appreciation of:
thank you so much to @Letterman for inviting me to perform on his stage as a musician and not as a spectacle. that's major.
— Le1f â˜¥ (@LE1FNY) March 14, 2014
He's just plain good at this whole music thing. While Le1f, for better or worse, has certainly received his share of attention for being one of the first openly gay rappers, that fact doesn't even account for the slightest part of what makes this guy so great. He's an extraordinarily gifted producer and emcee with a vastly unique delivery. Back in 2012, Le1f broached this very subject in an interview with The Fader: “I am gay, and I'm proud to be called a gay rapper, but it's not gay rap. That's not a genre. My goal is always to make songs that a gay dude or a straight dude can listen to and just think, 'This dude has swag.' I get guys the way straight rappers get girls. I'm not preachy. The best thing a song can be called is good.” We agree.
He's a real showman. Le1f isn't bringing a Blood Orange-featuring band to his debut Dallas performance, no. But he is bringing along DJ Mess Kid, a notable producer and DJ in his own right, to handle some backup duties, which is a pretty sweet score, we must say. And, while he won't have a team of backup dancers at this one either, he's still plenty capable of bringing it in his own right, having earned a dance degree from Wesleyan University. Expect energy. Lots of it.
He's no flash in the pan. Though Le1f's rise to popularity may appear to the outsider as an overnight thing, he's actually been at this for quite some time. He first started gaining notoriety as a rapper back in 2012 when the video for his song “Wut” first began to go viral. Before that, though, he had already been making quite the name for himself as a producer for acts like Das Racist and Spank Rock.
He's partly responsible for “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” Le1f produced the song for Das Racist back in 2008. Interestingly enough, he told Spin a while back that he was actually trolling the hip-hop outfit when he turned in that beat. For the song, he sampled Masters at Work's “The Ha Dance,” which is something of a key track from the vogue-heavy gay ballroom scene that came out of Harlem in the '80s.
He hates Macklemore, just like you. While the aggressively out rapper has been widely praised for his part in subverting the largely homophobic hip-hop genre, Le1f's been just as critical of heterosexual rapper Macklemore. Le1f has accused Macklemore of jacking the beat from “Wut” for “Thrift Shop” and for exploiting homosexuality with his other hit, “Same Love.”
Point is, seeing this guy is worth more than a $3 cover — and even Le1f knows it.. He even tweeted as much:
DALLAS THURSDAY! @ Double Wide for $3 with rsvp what can u even get for $3?? me, apparently!! pic.twitter.com/AlzOG8jE0F
— Le1f â˜¥ (@LE1FNY) March 17, 2014
Le1f performs along with Dark Rooms, Vulgar Fashion and Ynfynt Scroll tomorrow night at Double Wide as part of the Red Bull Sound Select series. Tickets are $3 with advance RSVP right here or $10 at the door. This show will hit capacity; admission into the venue will be determined on a first-to-arrive basis.