Mello Music Group

Mr. Lif - I Phantom (2xLP - Ultra-Deluxe Color In Color Splatter)

$26.99

Mr. Lif brought hip-hop back in 2002. In an era wracked by warfare and rising economic inequality, the Boston MC helped restore a feeling that had drowned in the mainstream. The album—currently being re-issued by Mello Music Group—was called I Phantom. The message spoke to us all.  

Inspired by eloquent and irate predecessors like Public Enemy and KRS-One, the rapper born Jeffrey Haynes created arguably the most scathing indictment of life in the Bush era.  Originally released on the seminal indie rap imprint Def Jux, Lif’s debut LP was instantly hailed as a classic.

The dean of American critics, Robert Christgau lauded its “conceptual ambition [and] detailed knowledge of what it's like to work a job and raise a family", and found it to be "underpinned by an analysis more Boots Riley than Talib Kweli or Steve Earle.” Rolling Stone raved that the album was "graceful" and that Lif was  "a rapper as incisive as early-Nineties X-Clan…and far more crucial in these depoliticized times."

But the record’s true impact can’t be measured by only critical praise. It’s longevity is more accurately gauged in terms of the hundreds of thousands inspired—the voiceless and disenfranchised for whom I Phantom spoke loud and clear—those sick of their soul-sucking corporate jobs, who gained new strength from Lif’s parables attacking the poisons of exploitive daily existence.

“After all those years of being a fan of hip-hop, I knew that when I had a chance to step up and make my own actual album, I wanted it to be special,” Lif remembers. “When I’m writing any songs for any album, I’m always considering what it’s going to sound like in 25 years. I ask myself, am I listening to the aspects of life that are real and true enough to still resonate a quarter century later? I’m glad this still does.”

If the definition of a hip-hop classic is a record that defines its time, but also updates the blueprint for the genre to go forward, then I Phantom succeeds on both fronts. It captures the jittery anxiety and woe of the benighted early 00s and also offered a guide for political rap in the post-millennium.

Featuring production from El-P and guest raps from El-Producto, Aesop Rock, Akrobatik and Jean Grae, Lif’s first record captures the raw spirit of the first underground boom. More specifically, it distills the intangible rush that surrounded the proceedings.

“The camaraderie was also what made I Phantom so special. I would basically go live at El-P’s and my roommate at the time was Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox,” Lif reminisces. “The studio was on the basement level of the apartment and all of us would wake up in the morning, play Madden, and make music. We were just so excited to be building this thing and really wanted to step up and deliver our best work.”

The proof is in the Phantom. Lif created a high concept burner that survives the test of time. In Lif’s words, it’s an “exploration of the dynamics of everyday life, and the pursuit of our dreams, in a rapidly decaying society.” In everyday terms, it’s a masterpiece.

Bad Card (prod. NASA)

A Glimpse at the Struggle (prod. El-P)

Return of the B-Boy (prod. El-P)

Live From the Plantation (prod. Edan)

New Man Theme (prod. DJ Fakts One)

Handouts (prod. Insight)

Status (feat. Insight) (prod. Insight)

Success (feat. Aesop Rock) (prod. El-P)

Daddy Dearest (prod. El-P)

The Now (prod. El-P)

Friends and Neighbors (prod. DJ Fakts One)

Iron Helix (feat. Insight) (prod. Insight)

Earthcrusher (prod. Insight)

Post Mortem (feat. El-P, Jean Grae and Akrobatik) (prod. El-P)

Important information when ordering with Fatbeats.com

Order Processing Time

Online orders are processed within *3-4 business days or *7-9 business days depending on availability.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, our shipping and processing times have been extended. Please note, we are still shipping and attending to customer service inquiries as per usual. Delays in supply chain, shorter fulfillment schedules, as well as extended processing from USPS have forced these delays for the time being. Thank you for your patience and business as we navigate these difficult times!

Order processing time is separate from shipping time requested. 

Pre-Orders

We try and offer as many upcoming projects available for pre-order when the releases have moved into production. However, due to the nature of manufacturing and production, pre-order dates may change. If your pre-ordered items are holding your package from arriving please email us with a request to ship the in-stock items and pre-orders when they become available. 

If your order contains pre-order items we will hold the package until all titles are available to ship. Please specify in the comments section of the checkout if you would like to:  a) hold your entire order until it can be entirely fulfilled or, b) have the in-stock items shipped immediately and the pre-ordered items ship when available. Please note that option B may require additional shipping charges as multiple packages will be shipped.

Out of Stock Items

Our stock rapidly changes and we try and set in place a system that avoids purchasing items that become out of stock. However, if a product ordered is out of stock or on back-order, we will reach out and give you the chance to change or cancel your order. If you choose to cancel, you will be refunded in full.

Return Policy

All sales are final. However, if the item ordered is different from the item you receive, please contact us and we can arrange to get you the desired product.