Upfront 057 / February 29, 2016


New York City rapper and producer Le1f compiles a mix of material from East Coast artists who musically exploit Banjee Realness. Unreleased tracks, edits, and remixes from the likes of Joey Labeija, Arca, and Le1f himself.

About this mix

A small mix of unreleased material, collected from 2012-2016 by me and other East Coast artists I love, specifically ones who musically exploit Banjee Realness. I mean all definitions of the word 'banjee' – new and old – but mainly progressive or androgynous, and definitely black. This is inclusive of, but not exclusive to, homosexuality and/or performances of masculinity. A few of these artists are fish and cunts, but equally authentic and unique in their personalities, united by overcoming first world disenfranchisement.

Khalif Diouf

Khalif Diouf, known by his stage name Le1f, is an American rapper and producer from New York City

Boiler Room says...

Le1f's music is hip hop, and built with the club in mind. While he may have first gained attention for his production work alongside the rise of hip hop group Das Racist, it was Le1f's 2012 Dark York mixtape that cemented him as a formidable solo force. A large chunk of the project was self-produced, but also included forward driving beats from the likes of Nguzunguzu, P. Morris, and spawned a certifiable viral sensation with the Matrixxman-produced "Wut". Le1f played the first BR session in New York off the strength of Dark York, but has since released two more mixtapes and a handful of EPs, culminating with the 2015 release of his debut studio album Riot Boi.

This mix features material from some of Le1f's favorite East Coast artists, and a solid 90% of it is unreleased. Ball culture is prominent in the mix, and after beginning with a nod to the 'Damn, Daniel' meme craze of the past few weeks, Le1f launches into a version of Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" by Beeks which highlights the ballroom "ha" sample. As anyone who has seen him perform live can attest, dance is an integral part of Le1f's artistic identity. From Le1f's submerged take on Zebra Katz and Niena Redd Foxx’s massive “Ima Read” to an edit of Destiny Child's "Solider" by Arca, there are unreleased gems here you won't find anywhere else. Those looking for new bars from Le1f  can also look forward to a handful of unreleased vocal tracks.

Le1f's music has looked towards and incorporated gay, black and latino New York culture from the off, and so it's only right that his Upfront mix is filled with artists who musically exploit 'Banjee Realness.' The artists and selections Le1f has included on the mix are undeniably authentic, unique, and powerful. A sentiment encapsulated on Riot Boi highlight "Taxi", featured here in "Skyshaker black thighs mattermix" form, where Le1f raps, “I love myself no compromise.”

Nelson Liu

Nelson Liu

Nelson is Deputy Editor & Music Programmer for Boiler Room in the U.S.