Scented Apprentice


Notwithstanding his lack of an Herbal Essences shampoo sponsorship, the ruckus-loving Boston MC Mr. Lif remains grassroots and organic on Mo’ Mega, sermonizing over Erick Sermon–caliber beats about U.S. mega-business as usual: economic and military globalization, the ideological co-opting of the working poor by the oil-rich ruling class, etc. You know, comedic material. “And I know they’re listening so/PS: Fuck the feds,” he adds on “Take, Hold, Fire,” but Lif’s not just putting Bush on blast: “Fuck Clinton too/You ain’t really down just ’cause you live uptown,” he rips in the steely banger “Brothaz,” while producer–Def Jux overlord El Producto blows more whistles than Terminator X.

Elsewhere, the clave on the title track (featuring verses from Akrobatik and Blueprint) makes it swing like some crazy Das EFX shit, while the festive second-line New Orleans–brass-band tuba El-P slips in “Fries” succeeds in capturing Lif’s polemic, wherein fatty McDonald’s food becomes a snarling metaphor: “Kids blacked out in the back/With the fuckin’ Happy Meals/What a crappy deal/But it was only $4.99/So there’s more people in line/Yeah the plan’s running fine.” For less biting humor, try the cartoonish sitcom “Murs Iz My Manager” (produced by Boston homie Edan), in which Lif’s labelmate suggests various promo opportunities, including rubbing elbows with bigwigs like Al Gore and Ben Affleck. Murs: “You know there’s no rest in this underground grind . . . I’m just tryin to make you famous, man . . . Something smells in here, man . . . I told you to wash your hair, yo, for real.” Somebody call Herbal Essences.

Mr. Lif plays Bowery Ballroom with Cage and El-P Saturday, June 17, at 8, $15-$17,