November 13, 2020

Mr. Lif & Stu Bangas "Vangarde" (Album Stream)

“Our debut album is just the first in what we plan to be a long legacy of high quality, raw, brazenly uncompromising hip-hop. Legacy and adding value to this culture are extremely important to us.” - Mr. Lif on his and Stu Bangas’ self-titled debut as Vangarde. In a year of ongoing civil unrest, political corruption, and a global pandemic, 2020 deserves a punch to the gut like Mr. Lif & Stu Bangas’ debut album as Vangarde. This project addresses each of those topics and deftly tears them apart through incredible lyricism and raw, boom-bap production. Vangarde’s 11 songs represent the culmination of not only what this year has wrought, but also the talents of Lif and Bangas, an emcee-producer duo built for this. What makes Vangarde so impactful is that it doesn’t beat you over the head with the same sound or approach. Lif and his guests may tackle subjects related to oppression and corruption throughout the record, but it’s done through nuance. The same goes for Bangas’ stellar production, which maintains the momentum of his vocal counterparts. It’s no surprise then that the two speak so highly of each other, with Bangas referring to Lif as a “storyteller and a reporter,” and Lif noting that he was saving the name “Vangarde” for a project with an “elite producer.” It’s for those reasons that it’s easy to understand why the album succeeds in its execution, and why the two artists are so proud of the outcome. As Lif says, “Vangarde is that raw rap shit you can rely on to connect you directly to the essence of this culture.” The hard hitting LP includes guest appearances by Murs, Akrobatik, Eternia, Blueprint, Reef the Lost Cauze, Blacastan, Insight, and Puma Ptah. On a personal note, I'm very proud of my brother, Mr. Lif - this is another phenomenal project in his extensive catalog! You can feel the Gang Starr-like vibes throughout the album, but the vulnerability on "8 Minutes 46 Seconds" and "Now Is Only Now" add an extra layer to it, too. Listen to it below and props to Fat Beats for the vinyl on the way shortly.