Yesterday saw Le1f drop his much-anticipated follow up to 2012’s Dark York mixtape, Fly Zone. This time around, things are a little more manageable: as compared to Dark York’s 21 songs, Fly Zone is a neater 13-song mixtape that clocks in at 40 minutes. The production, too, is slightly more refined, as Le1f’s vocals sit more confidently in front of his characteristic manic beats. But Le1f isn’t cleaning himself up for mainstream audiences; if anything, his rapping on Fly Zone is far more in-your-face and intense than that on Dark York. On "Airbending", Le1f directly confronts the 'queer rap' narrative that motivated think piece after think piece in 2012, and which many of his fans may associate him with: 'Stop worrying about how gay I am / or how gay I’m not,' he raps. Further, Fly Zone seems to lack any sort of party-ready, dance-happy, pop breakout that "Wut" was. However, everything on Fly Zone is still beyond dance-worthy, and the increased aggressiveness and intensity is a welcome move.
Sadly, Le1f didn’t produce any tracks this time around, but the producers he did enlist (from LOLGurlz to Matrixxman) are more than capable of capturing that whole Le1f ethos, and Fly Zone is full of the hyper, occasionally bizarre beats that made Dark York so enjoyable. And Le1f’s incredible abilities as a lyricist are still up to snuff: 'I’m a black belt with that twerk kwon do,' he raps on "Pocahantas". Rounded out by guest spots from Spank Rock, Haleek Maul, Don Jones, and the ever-blogable Kitty Pryde, Fly Zone is exactly the sort of mixtape I’m craving right now.
Fly Zone can be streamed below or downloaded here.