“I can’t wait to do an interview about music…one day,” Le1f wrote on Twitter the afternoon before he was set to headline a hometown gig (supported by his Camp & Street compatriot DonChristian) at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Before you say, “Oh great, another artist whining about the way they’re portrayed in the media,” consider this: Nearly two years have passed since the breakout success of Le1f’s “Wut” single, which made the rapper/producer’s sexuality as much a part of his story as the song — a certified smash, mind you — itself. And while the track also popped up on his recent Terrible Records EP Hey, its mere presence shouldn’t be seen as an excuse to ask him about the rise of “gay rap” that’s been reported everywhere from Pitchfork to Salon.
Let’s talk about Le1f’s skills instead; they were certainly on display Thursday night, a liquified mass of deep, brooding rhymes set against the steely, bass-heavy beats Mess Kid triggered like smart bombs. Which brings up the ultimate irony surrounding his songs: Unless you listen closely or have a lyric sheet in front of you, Le1f’s sexuality isn’t in the foreground. A pervasive, limb-loosening vibe is instead, the byproduct of slick syllables that coat the stage like an oil spill and a spotlight-seizing confidence he most likely built up during his years as a dancer.
Or as producer FaltyDL proclaimed on Twitter after the show, “Le1f just owned Music Hall. Also, Björk.” That’s right: Björk showed up to see the end of his set. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of us catch up with her.