The Emergency Rations EP was the first 2002 release from Boston-based MC Mr. Lif. After long percolating in the underground scene, Lif finally saw his work get wide distribution with this release. The EP, released on hot indie hip-hop label Def Jux, collects seven tracks: studio versions of songs Lif had been performing live for a while, plus some completely fresh material.
The conceit of the EP is this: The powers that be have finally had enough of Lif's outspoken commentary on our government and our society, and for whatever nefarious reason, Lif has disappeared. Did The Man finally get him? Or has he gone into hiding for his own safety?
Akrobatik sets up the scenario with an opening skit, telling Brotha PC how Lif has gone missing for "speaking up for his people in his music." This conceit is continued with interviews and testimonials sprinkled throughout the album.
- Intro (Missing Person's File) featuring Akrobatik and Brotha PC
- Jugular Vein, produced by Mr. Lif
- Heavy Artillery, produced by Edan
- Home of the Brave, produced by Mr. Lif
- Pull Out Your Cut, produced by DJ Hype
- Get Wise '91 featuring Edan, produced by Edan
- The Unorthodox, produced by Fakts One
- Phantom featuring El-P, produced by El-P
"Jugular Vein", "Heavy Artillery", and "Pull Out Your Cut" are standard Lif battle rhymes interspersed with his comments on politics and society. "The Unorthodox" and "Get Wise '91" ramp up the politics a bit ("Bush! yeah you guessed it / I could smell the dawn of armageddon when this dick was elected") but it is on "Home of the Brave" that Lif really lays down his manifesto, commenting on terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, and freedom of speech.
The last track, Phantom, is a preview of Lif's long-awaited full length, which was released later in 2002. After Insight refuses to reveal any information about Lif or his new album, El-P reluctantly introduces the song...
Nah.. I really uh, I really can't talk about it, it's not personal, I just, I... it's not really, it's not something, I can't talk about.
I can't play you, I can't play you the album, um...
Look, just trust us, something is going down, it's, you know, it's personal, it's political,
But I got a joint, I'll play it for you...
Just, though, you didn't hear it here, alright?
Seriously, you didn't hear it.
Lif's debut full-length, I Phantom
, was released in September of 2002.