In an insightful new interview with Complex, Khalif Diouf, AKA Le1f, shares some of the inspiration behind his forthcoming debut album, Riot Boi. "I wanted to make something that was totally unique and of its time," he explains in the interview. "I wanted to make something that encapsulated all of these ideas and feelings that I had about the state of my generation and my community: being the first-world, being the gay community, being the gay black community, being the black community. Being, you know, all these different groups of people, I wanted to make music for us and something that was unique. Something that was fun for the clubs and for the car rides, but also showed my passion for a lot of the social and political issues going on right now."
Transgender issues were one of the things on Diouf's mind when he made the record, and this comes across very directly on new single "Umami/Water," a bombastically rubbery track produced by Lunice and Evian Christ:
I got this beat from Lunice, and I was really inspired to make a song dedicated to my friend Juliana Huxtable. There was a lot of talk in political media, as well as clickbait, about transgender issues. Feeling like I wasn't educated and sensitive enough to trans issues, I wanted to correct that for myself, so I delved a bit more into educating myself on the struggle and a lot of the issues that are happening in the trans community. You know, really just knowing the names of victims and all this transphobic brutality and assaults. It's a multi-faceted issue and also a beautiful thing. I felt that I needed to do that because so many of my favorite people are trans, particularly Juliana Huxtable. She's one of my favorite artists in general.
Yeah, she's great. It came around the time where she had that amazing series of pieces and collaborations in the Whitney Biennial. She attended Bard College and booked me for some of my first shows, before I put the "1" in my name. We've been friends for a really long time, so to see her transition into the most amazing human being…I just wanted to make a song that would make her the most proud, and would be helpful for the trans community at large but also my friends who are trans.
Follow Alexander on Twitter.