Miami-born rapper Liiight discusses his melancholy coming-of-age EP — “there’s no reason to share anything but love”
Not everybody can discuss Greek philosophy at length, let alone rap about it in metaphorical detail. Blame it on, as Plato wrote in Book VII of The Republic in explaining the reasoning for the Allegory of the Cave, “the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature.” Not every rapper is like Savannah-residing, Miami-originating Liiight though. In recognition of his 18-year journey through this thing called life, he released Circa 2001, a self-produced and recorded EP, on August 30. It is both reflective and metaphorical, telling an allegorical yet honest story.
One thing Liiight is not light on is knowledge. Ranking as a moderator on Genius.com with nearly 65,000 IQ points and multiple annotations of the week, he is a Top 3 annotator of artists such as Aminé, Erykah Badu, and Devonté Hynes — and 7,000 IQ points from his own work, as well. Prior to Circa 2001, Liiight released Doing the Most, Getting the Least (2018) — called album of the year by some, and 5ive EP (2017).
If the artwork created by @veinsplanet and introduction by Jerémie Nelson somehow doesn’t draw you in enough, you’ll become intoxicated by the mellow production that is almost trance-like in combination with the rapper’s flow.
“Jer’s Intro” opens the Circa 2001 experience — “my man Jer just had the job to talk about growing,” Liiight explains. “That’s the whole tape. Growth. I’ve been growing, in this life, since 2001, my birth year.” Plato’s Allegories of the Cave, Sun and the Divided Line play a major thematic role, its artist tells me. “Plato’s Cave” directly addresses the concept: “The idea…is that some people are born in a cave. They sit with their backs against a wall facing another wall. Behind their backs is a fire and at the fire are people who cast shadows onto the wall for the cave people to see. That’s all they know. One day, a cave person leaves and sees the real world. He goes back to tell everyone but they don’t care because they don’t want to care.” “SOS” is similarly based on The Analogy of the Sun.
Here’s how Liiight describes the rest of the EP, track by track:
“‘Anxiety Raps’ is a quick look at my weakest form. Depressed, anxious, whatever.
‘Plato’s Cave’ is about growing out of innocence but also anger at the people who know better. The family and friends who know that they don’t want us to win and still play into it.
‘SOS’ is bringing more liiight. Simile (Analogy) of the Sun but also a continuation of that shedding of innocence — normally, as a kid, you have to be in before dark, but it just looks real dark everywhere the youth is now…but also anger at the people who refused to lead us correctly, to give us the light. We have to find it for ourselves and it’s such a loss of valuable time.
“‘Alive’ is a reminder that even though we’ve been through that, we live, we shine, we can’t be killed.
‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is a profession of faith, but also a reminder to do good always. That if it really came down to it, we all wanna be safe, so there’s no reason to share anything but love.”
Outside of dropping music, Liiight is also a filmmaker, photographer, poet, and founding member of the PRISM Collaborative — which was partially influenced from a similar movement started by Liiight . You may see his self-produced and directed film Hard Times (2019) somewhere soon, and you can read a collection of his poems, Follow The Trail, now. Learn more about the artist through our interview below, and in the meantime listen to Circa 2001 on your favorite streaming platform.
The Renaissance: Let’s start with some basic questions: Who are you and where are you from?
Liiight: I’m Mareda Hafidh aka Liiight and I’m from Miami, Florida.
R: What’s your new project about, or describing?
L: My newest project, Circa 2001, is kinda about the progression of my life so far. It travels through losing that childlike innocence and kinda just feeling my way through the world. It goes from my doubt all the way through to my faith.
R: What was your mindset making Circa 2001?
L: The idea was to bare it all. I wanted to give the listener a glimpse into who, and why, I was.
R: For those who don’t know you, can you explain the meaning of Liiight?
L: Well it has a few aspects to it. 1: Light is just a guiding source. The truth that we should all strive for. 2: Three i’s for Hiiipower. The movement started over at TDE. Heart, honor, and respect. 3: Three eyes. Being able to see clearly even when it’s dark.
R: What was the most important attribute you want listeners to learn about you?
L: I NEED people to know that it’s about the love. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, we HAVE to show love to each other. Don’t hold that hate in you.
R: What would you say is your favorite lines on Circa 2001?
L: “Tab of acid with the unleavened bread/We living dead/Jesus moved rocks but Judas had broke his neck” — From “Alive”…I don’t know what it was, but writing this one had me hyped.
R: Last question – who’s an artist you want to collaborate with in the future?
L: Ha, well, last time I answered that question, I said Mac Miller…and it was hours before the news of his death dropped. I think Kenny Beats is one hell of a producer though.