Ira Lee Die

Having debuted solo with a near-masterpiece, Ira Lee has a lot to live up to with Die, his ambitious two-disc sophomore release. It lacks the outright beauty of Cafeteria Food but Ira’s sincerity and silliness are still substantial elements. He also retains his distinct delivery, a slightly nasal mix of spoken word and rapping with an abundance of innocent conviction. All that’s really changed are the beats. The minimal, clank-y production of disc one is all accomplished by Ira Lee, who ends up creating great numbers like "Alberta’s Trying to Kill Me,” battle track "Your DJ’s a Gaylord,” the MF DOOM-sounding "Bugs” and a dance-y debunking of the Santa Claus myth with "Anti-Clause.” The second disc of fleshed out down-tempo production is a collaboration between Ira Lee and inner-city and reservation-based kids from across Canada for a few more highlights, like the salsa instrumental "Spicy,” the dark and depressing Def Jux-lite of "AE,” the head banging "Pass the Machete” and the touching "Sketch,” the closest to what Ira Lee offered all over Cafeteria Food. While two discs are way too much music for any one artist, with some exceptions, it’s hard to fault the sentiment of this project. After all, it’s not like you have to play both discs back to back.