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Thursday, June 1, 2006 09:40 pm

Vinyl Static

Mr. Lif declared war on the government long ago — before it became fashionable

JUNEBUG: Rip the month of May off your calendar quick — the painfully slow month for shows and new releases has finally been put to rest, and not fast enough. Can you say, “American Idol season 5 encores”? Glad that’s over. Sure, we had some memories, those tasty musical morsels such as Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere and Neil Young’s Living with War, but their May 9 release dates seem like eons ago. June signifies the beginning of summer, Desk Vinyl Static’s birthday, and the release of the highly anticipated Mr. Lif album. We’ve been looking forward to this month all year.
CD EXCHANGE: These days it’s fashionable to bash President George W. Bush in song. It’s kind of like a few years ago, when the trendy thing to do was to push a corporate product with some not-so-clever placement. (“Sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday”?) So when Pink name-checks the president in the same breath as Paris Hilton, it loses the offensive effect intended by old-school political mutineers such as Steve Earle and the Coup, and, of course, Mr. Lif. Lif, a Boston-based hip-hop disciple, declared war on the government and the ruling class long ago, when Neil Young was still touting the Patriot Act and Pink was hiding from her 2003 tanker Try This. Lif doesn’t like Bush, and he didn’t like Clinton, either. The Definitive Jux artist’s new release, Mo’ Mega, drops June 13, and the single posted on the Def Jux Web site, “Brothaz,” is fiery, poignant, and easy on the ears. As in any good family, when a Def Jux artist puts out an album, the artist’s labelmates line up to pitch in. Here, El-P produces, and Aesop Rock and Murs chip in with guest appearances alongside indie hip-hop wonder boys, including Akrobatik and Blueprint. In other news: Meet the Procussions. Their new Rawkus Records release, 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents, is heavy on percussion, and that’s no coincidence; these boys love the drums. The Colorado-born, LA-based hip-hop trio isn’t just keeping time; the MC duo is dynamite. 5 Sparrows dropped on May 30.
PROUD MARY J: The first lady of R&B, Miss Mary J. Blige, rolls down the river to St. Louis’ UMB Pavilion on July 15 in support of her latest release, The Breakthrough. Tickets go on sale June 3.
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