Boston native Mr. Lif made a name for himself after signing with Defintive Jux and releasing three albums with the reputable label: 2002’s I Phantom, 2005’s Black Dialogue and 2006’s Mo’ Mega. Influenced by pioneers such as Chuck D, KRS-One, Rakim and Guru, Mr. Lif’s style has always been about pushing a politically motivated and socially conscious agenda.

In 2010, Lif’s studio flooded and he retreated from his solo work for awhile. Rather than stay idle, he instead teamed up with DJ collective Thievery Corporation and created the title track “Culture of Fear” for their 2011 album. The next four years found Lif an honorary member of Thievery Corporations’ live shows, but by day, Lif continued to craft his next collection of solo tracks until he was ready to release them out into the world. That time is now.

Mr. Lif’s sixth full-length studio album, Don’t Look Down, is due out April 15. The first single, “Whizdom” (produced by Edan) premiered today [Thursday, February 11] and is further evidence of Mr. Lif’s penchant for dexterous deliveries. His verses are so intricately constructed, it takes time to dissect each one. The illustrious Hieroglyphics emcee Del the Funkyhomosapien pops up on “World Renown” while the Perceptionists appear on “Mission Accomplished.” Other production credits include Apex, Taylormade and SlopFunkDust. Overall, the 10-track effort is a welcomed return from the elusive emcee. Currently on tour with Thievery Corporation, Mr. Lif was able to comment on the album (presumably from his hotel room) in Australia.

“The Don’t Look Down album is a snapshot of real life,” Mr. Lif says. “We all go through hardships. Whether we’ve made mistakes that bring tough times upon ourselves or circumstances happen to deal us a bad hand, none of us make it through life unscathed. This album immediately knocks the protagonist down and asks him the question many of us are repeatedly faced with: ‘Can I bounce back from this?’ We watch him heal. We watch him shine. But even at his brightest point, we are reminded that behind every smile on each of our faces; behind every celebrated accomplishment, there is story of adversity that largely defines us all.”

Don’t Look Down by Mr. Lif