Uncut (10/02, p.110) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Lif's genius is a given...an album of flashing wit and giddy ambition."
The Wire (09/02, p.52) - "...I PHANTOM could prove to be one of the most consistently rewarding HipHop records to land in 2002..."
Vibe (10/02, p.184) - 4 out of 5 - "...With raw, cyber-crunk production....Sly, studious, and battle-ready..."
NME (Magazine) (9/14/02, p.40) - 7 out of 10 - "...The sound of hip-hop fishing for cents in the gutter....this is vengeance made eloquent..."
Personnel includes: Mr. Lif, El-P, Aesop Rock, Jean Grae, Insight, Akrobatik.
Liner Note Author: Mr. Lif.
Recording information: Boston Butta Beats; Def Jux Studios; Steel Acres; The Danger Room.
Mr. Lif, the hardworking Bostonian MC, drops a debut LP that playfully discloses in lyrical fashion his inner battle of whether or not to return to his nine-to-five job, but the long-overdue record practically guarantees he'll no longer need the day job. One of the working-class heroes signed to hip-hop indie Definitive Jux, Liffy enjoyed a busy 2002, releasing the Emergency Rations EP and appearing on several releases from the Jux camp. I Phantom is slightly less politically aggressive than the EP in overall aesthetic, with blue-collar rhymes over hype, funky tracks with great production by Fakts One, DJ Hype, Edan, and Lif himself. The guest appearances on the mic by Akrobatik, a fellow fledgling Bostonion, Edan, Aesop Rock, El-P, and Jean Grae make all the tracks quality and seal the deal on Lif's breakthrough set. ~ Nic Kincaid