Paralysis and parallel lives express themselves through working class tales and hip-hop adventures in San Bernardino, Fontana and beyond. Reborn once more, Ital Santos renewal continues and reveals a matured but still banging West Coast production aesthetic. Santos discusses Snakes, summers, stoners and faith with another elite set of I.E. and So Cal performers.
Leifs is a triumphant evolution and statement of survival from someone who has been pivotal in the last decade’s several sub-eras of Inland Empire hip-hop. His production as melodic, banging and inspired as ever, his raps are cool, detached, laid back and conversational. Ital bluntedly and bluntly tells us where his values, priorities and artistic curiosities lie in the current day.
Upon a relatively thorough examination of his work, the theme of rising from the ashes of life’s struggle, phoenix-like pops up again and again. “I Pray” shows more of Santos’ constant struggle to not let the negativity of life stop him. The music to this track and ones like it is 2pac-ish in its religious deference and hints of mysticism. The honest simplicity of his struggle is admirable and relatable as a persona guiding you through albums. The rest of the album showcases his continued freshness as a hip-hop producer and more of his clever stories such as a multiple song trip from Fontana to Mexico and back.
Leifs as in the turning of a new? As in burning some? The meanings are many says Santos. I find Ital’s music relatable in its IE tribulations, shout outs to family and desire for loyalty and consistency out of life. I relate to the funk and the smart deployment of his compatriots. To go through his discography is to hear the evolution of many of the region’s brightest stars from Notiz Yong to Mando the DJ and more.