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Riot Boi, Le1f's full-length debut following a string of experimental mixtapes, is arguably the most cohesive record he's produced. It might flirt with different styles and sounds, but from the title to the lyrics there is an incredible focus which takes in sex, homophobia, trans-rights and racism. The title alludes to the album's duality - on the one hand it's a frequently angry record railing at the injustices that still plague people every day due to the expectations of race, sexuality and gender; on the other it's an extension of the Riot Grrrl movement, where socially and politically conscious lyrics were packaged with infectious, liberating melodies. Le1f excels at this. Riot Boi is an immensely listenable, often thrilling record, and on the first few spins you're more likely to be seduced by the beats, before digging into the lyrical content.

Le1f created Riot Boi for the club and so it makes sense that the music is the first thing you notice. Featuring production from the likes of Boody, Evian Christ and Balam Acab as well as contributions from Dev Hynes and Junglepussy (amongst many others), Riot Boi clatters and clangs on tracks like 'Umami / Water' and 'Rage', draws from PC music on the SOPHIE-produced 'Koi' and offers up soulful 80s pop on album closer 'Change'. You'd think with so many disparate styles that Riot Boi would end up being all over the place tonally, but in fact it's quite the opposite. The front half of the record is loaded with the brasher, louder tracks, whilst the second half softens the sound drawing more attention to Le1f's rapping and pushing for a more emotive conclusion.

'Hi', the sub-bass inflected track which opens the record, essentially operates as a statement of intent for the record as a whole. The opening verse takes aim at those who are content to sit by and watch as injustice happens. There's "rats and roaches running all over the hood" Le1f tells us, but he's not seeing that in others' raps, rhymes or headlines, instead they focus on material goods and "just wanna ignore it all". But as Le1f makes clear as the song's percussive beat kicks in, he's going to do the only thing he knows how to do - be himself and fight for what he believes in.

In interviews Le1f's been clear to state that he doesn't make conscious rap, and here he reiterates that point. Whilst he imagines himself as "chief of his sons" and makes music for his people, he also does it for fun, and this is what sets his music apart from conscious rap. This isn't a record that preaches to you, rather one that entertains as much as it informs and inspires. With that in mind, it makes sense that Le1f follows up his artistic thesis with the album's most oddball moment - the appropriately titled 'Rage'.

'Rage' which was premiered ahead of the album's release reflects the artist's growing confidence in himself and his music. Whilst Le1f has always experimented - it's what made his mixtapes so refreshing and interesting - he's never released anything quite like this before. From the verse's dolphin-esque squeaks and dreamy synth chimes, to the bottle smashing, tense bass beat of the chorus this is a track which refuses to conform to one definable sound. It's like the loud-quiet ethos of rock has been rendered in electronica, drawing parallels to punk and riot grrrl in the way that Le1f releases his anger in pained cries during the chorus.

Both 'Rage' and 'Hi' see Le1f refer to himself as "nubian" which is one of the ways he vocalises the way he feels empowered as a black man (it's often used as part of wordplay invoking ideas of being "new" or unique). It's reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, particularly tracks like 'Complexion' which explore ideas of heritage and pride in one's identity. Le1f takes this further in 'Grace, Alek, Naomi' in which he adopts a braggadocios tone as he describes his changing fortunes as an artist. But it's about more than brags - many of which have a knowing humour to them - as Le1f celebrates the women who showcase blackness as beauty, Lupita Nyong'o, Alek Wek, Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell. These are all women who arguably opened Le1f up to the ideas he's presenting to us now about self-confidence and self-respect. 'Grace, Alek, Naomi' has a stuttering, percussive thrust which is offset by higher-pitched, metallic noises giving the whole thing a very sharp and precise aesthetic, it's sonically reminiscent of 'Free Kiki' from Tree House, Le1f's 2013 mixtape.

'Swirl' is the first of several tracks exploring interracial relationships. Whilst 'Koi' and 'Taxi' explore this alongside racism to different extents, 'Swirl' sees Le1f (along with House of LaDosha and Junglepussy) taking pride in both their blackness and sexuality. This lusty, defiantly sleazy track reverses the way black people are often fetishised with Le1f putting himself forward not as a sexualised person, but a sexually confident man. "Look at this brown skin," he raps over punches of bass and delicate chimes, "my fabulous brown skin / if you keep it cute, then you might be allowed in" - it's clear who holds the power here, but just in case there was any doubt Le1f tells us "you finna be my slave / 'til the end of days".

Le1f's final verse over darker, muddy beats and messy electronics, begins to tackle the racism that he explores on later tracks as he acknowledges the way that people refuse to acknowledge his academic achievements, or even his existence. This is followed up by 'Koi', produced by SOPHIE and drawing heavily from PC music, detailing Le1f's experience of being approached and flirted with in clubs. Whilst on the surface it seems to be the usual story of someone trying it on with someone happy to flirt but unwilling to go further, the increasing tension in the backing - the melody towards the end sounds like it's being wound up to breaking point - and Le1f telling the other individual "I think you better practice shutting your mouth", suggest something else is at play here. Indeed all evidence points towards someone with racist, fetishised ideas of black people being the other side of the flirtation.

If we take 'Swirl' to celebrate black sexuality and interracial relationships, and 'Koi' to tackle the misguided notions of white people, then 'Taxi' represents a third aspect of black and white relationships, and perhaps it's most damaging - invisibility. "Boys pass me like taxis do," Le1f sings, the lack of auto-tune allowing us to hear the despondency in his voice as the song opens. It's one of the quietest, most melancholic tracks he's produced and delivers an unexpected emotional punch. Whilst the rest of the record revels in celebration and club-centric beats, 'Taxi' focuses on slow, shuffling percussion, soft piano and distant choral vocals for the most part. Yet there's still positivity to be found, the chorus kicks the tempo up a gear, adds soulful vocals as backing and Le1f instructs his driver to "roll the window up on 'em".

It's a show of vulnerability that characterises the album's second half. With tracks like the chiptune-influenced 'Cheap' - criticising those who put money before art and squandering their chance to do something meaningful - as well as 'Tell' and 'Change', it shows Le1f turning his attention to the wider community and trying to be a role model for those who listen to them. This is most notable on 'Tell', where Le1f directly addresses the issue of being closeted and the impact that can have on someone. Like much of the album, the core message is to be true to yourself, not hide or adapt your behaviour because of other's prejudices. Yet it's clear that this is a deeply personal topic for Le1f and this makes 'Tell' an intensely moving track. In some ways it treads similar ground as John Grant's 'Glacier' but rather than focusing on the pain of coming out, Le1f asks the listener to think about what they could achieve if they were open and honest. The backing is full of deep, brooding synths and ambient swells, giving Le1f and DonChristian space to pass on their message.

Riot Boi closes out with 'Change', a track which takes the themes of the record and turns the attention on the listener. "Are you ready for a change?" asks Dev Hynes, whose production brings the sound of Blood Orange to Le1f. There's a glorious pop sheen to the track, with detailed percussive flourishes, bright synthesisers and twinkling chimes. Le1f meanwhile encourages us to question what we're taught and who really holds the power in society. Finally, in a verse delivered by Le1f's mother (credited as Miss Geri) the listener is encouraged to take control of their own life, their destiny and be the change that's so desperately needed on earth. It brings the album full circle, with Le1f returning to the problems that plague his neighbourhood (the rats and roaches of 'Hi') and offering words to empower the listener who sits dejected and afraid as news reels show a parade of police brutality, racism and prejudice. "Do you think we could save the world?" asks Miss Geri, as the record comes to an end. There's no definitive answer, but as the synths fade out there's a sense of hope.

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