Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Le1f – Wut

Want to score easy points at the Jukebox, songwriters? Call your song “Wut”…


[Video][Website]
[7.67]

Alex Ostroff: Exciting things about ‘Wut’: (1) That honking saxobeat, courtesy of 5kinandbone5, designed for maximum bounce. Dark York continues the ascent of my favourite underground dance producers into hip hop and R&B — by this time next year, I fully hope/expect to hear Nguzunguzu, Brenmar and Kingdom beats on the radio. (2) The glorious chorus. Need I say more? Easily chant-along-able, catchy, confident, disaffected. (3) The low vocal mix is apparently its universally agreed upon weakness, but I trust Le1f’s impulse to make me listen carefully, and I’ve never had much trouble making out the words. There are plenty of murky tracks on the tape; this isn’t one of them. (4) Anyhow, once your ears adjust, you’re in for a treat. Le1f is clever and funny, with personality and quotables to spare: “I’m the kind of jawn closet dudes wanna go steady on,” is maybe the best brag short of his steal-your-boyfriend raps elsewhere on the mixtape. (5) He’s such a nerd. Le1f is a child of the Internet and the 90s — his beats are from dance producers who came up through Soundcloud and Fader; when not rapping, he records #seapunk instrumentals; he gets hit on by tiresome yuppies who want to “Bink [his] Jar Jar,” in the video, he gives Pikachu a lap dance, and gets his Super Saiyyan on, “posing like I’m in a manga.” (6) His delivery. Le1f might not have as nimble a tongue as Azealia — there are moments in the second verse where too many syllables get crammed into insufficient space, and his punchlines get muffled — but he has the ability to entrance with his inflections. I could listen to him toss off the phrase “Let me be your mentor!” over and over. Things I’m tired of discussing about ‘Wut’: What Le1f’s sexuality ~means~ for his success/hip hop/black people/whatever. I get that to avoid the issue of sexuality altogether is some GOProud bullshit — but to centre the discussion on it when discussing one of my favourite new rappers, period, is to do Le1f and ‘Wut’ a disservice. “I am gay, and I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre.” Anyway, he would lose a point for the double-time muddle around the double-stuffed Oreos bit, but this hits me as hard on the dancefloor as ‘212’ did last year, and the making-a-fool-of-myself-in-the-club metric is probably the most accurate measure of pop I know.
[10]

Iain Mew: This is the second time that we’ve reviewed a song called “Wut”. What I would really like is for someone to make a “WUT WUT” mashup that takes Le1f’s amazing waterfall of words, removes the annoying horns and fits him over Girl Unit’s ecstatic bursts instead.
[6]

Brad Shoup: I love the tension of the production, the refusal of release. It’s left to Le1f to invigorate, and he whips the constipated horns into a froth, even as he loses this particular loudness war.
[8]

Jer Fairall: The queer hip-hop nation that too few people know exists gets what should be its national anthem, all sass and swagger and winking reclamations of hoary old slurs (“I’m gettin’ light in my loafers!”), free of gay angst or political testifying in any but the get the fuck outta my way sense. Loses two whole points for the genuinely horrible mixing job on the vocals, one for my irritation over having to strain to hear the words, and the other for the fact that his voice deserves to register every bit as loud and proud as those stuttering, thrusting horns.
[8]

Anthony Easton: I could write a thousand words about the emerging golden age of queer hip hop and how that is kind of awesome, or I could write two thousand words about how this sea bottom, booty bottom, shake-like-a-piñata rhythm is a formal masterpiece, or about his flow — as tight, precise and information-dense as any Haida bentwood box — and all of that would be as valid as a cowboy on my cock. But all I want to point out is the perfect chorus: “Wut it is? Wut is up? Wut is wut? Wut it do? Wut it don’t? Wut it is? Wut is up? Wut is wut? Wut it do? Wut it don’t? I’m getting light in my loafers, and I stay getting life until life’s over. I’m butter like cocoa, L O L O L O L I’m loco.” Perfect for Carbiena.
[10]

Will Adams: Plunging your already garbled flow deep into the mix so I can barely hear you is one way to make me say, “Wut?”. Placing a Pikachu mask-wearing model in your video is another.
[4]

Colin Small: Its a fun song, but that’s about all it is: a clone of just about every fashion outsider rap track that’s come out in the past 4 years.
[4]

Alfred Soto: The voice filters and distortions are a serious distraction. I like what I can hear past the good intentions. 
[6]

Josh Langhoff: Most of what rap does best in 2:47: joy, sex, social observation, spellbinding vocal technique, extreme juxtapositions of timbre and rhythmic complexities that sound stripped and bare, an idiosyncratic voice bent on conquering the world. If “Wut” feels longer than its running time, that’s just because it’s hard to fathom how the song covers so much ground.
[9]

Jonathan Bogart: My suspicion that the mix makes more sense in speakers than on headphones has yet to be field-tested, but there’s very little sense left to make.
[10]

Edward Okulicz: Mixed for the club, “Wut” struts the catwalk with confidence to burn. That’s generous to the sax, but less so to the words. A quick look at the lyric sheet reveals gems you wouldn’t get from anything less than a rapturously attentive listen, but the second verse in particular makes you want to strain your ears to hear what Le1f’s saying.
[8]

Zach Lyon: The two questions: 1) Is it a [9] without the video? 2) Does it matter?
[9]

5 Responses to “Le1f – Wut”

  1. aw, good call guys.
    I miss the jukebox.

  2. i want this to stay in the top 10. no one like anything from now on.

  3. I still can’t get behind this. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who picked up on the terrible mixing, but I also disliked the phaser effect on the 4/4 handclap, the strange floatiness of the second saxophone in the chorus, and the vocal effects.

    Re-reading the blurbs, though, made me realize that the line is “he wants to Bink my Jar Jar,” which I guess makes more sense than what I heard: “he wants to be my Zsa Zsa,” as in Gabor.

  4. I like that there was some amount of controversry

  5. The Jukebox misses you, John!