Le1f is a rapper and producer from New York City whose debut mixtape–after a successful Kickstarter campaign–has officially started streaming online. Dark York is seriously heavy and remarkably impressive for a first effort. The production comes courtesy of Le1f himself, Nguzunguzu, and others who capture a similarly thick and grimy mood that speaks understandably to its title. On first listen it left me feeling the way I did after hearing Dizzee Rascal’s debut, Boy in da Corner.
Its lyrical content is what’ll stand out, though, particularly because Le1f has no qualms about his sexuality; he was recently part of a Pitchfork feature that focused on gay NYC hip-hop. On “Gayngsta,” Le1f employs a repeated sample of DJ Drama shouting “Gangsta” with great effect as he leaves the original vocals unaltered. He’s smart it’s evident, and Dark York presents Le1f as a talented and direct rapper with a great ear for beats. Next week Greedhead will make the tape available for download, but for now, you can stream it over at the Fader.