Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Consumer Guide Album

Mr. Lif: I Phantom [Definitive Jux, 2002]
I've long suspected that a musically pleasurable album would betray everything the misanthropes at Def Jux stood for--their principles, their vision, their neuroses. But all it took was a normal rapper, which Mr. Lif is--for a rapper, abnormally so. However autobiographical this song cycle, which begins with a stickup and ends with a nuclear holocaust, it evinces not only conceptual ambition but detailed knowledge of what it's like to work a job and raise a family. It's underpinned by an analysis more Boots Riley than Talib Kweli or Steve Earle. And it fleshes out its cohesive narrative and cogent ideas with beats that respect the spare antipop ethos without abjuring such wayward rhythm elements as femme chorus, bass-drum-whoop jam, and $20 synth loop. A