After letting off “Final Form” to fan the flames of the forthcoming EP, Justin Lifshitz liberates his 3-track Long Story Short. Keeping things quick and to the point, the EP clocks in at just shy of 8 minutes. But don’t let the duration of the project fool you – Justin steps up to the plate with a powerful presentation of insightful lyricism, painting vivid pictures with his smooth delivery and sharp, introspective wit. You’ll be left wanting more, simply because Long Story Short and the young man who created it are so good, but you’ll have plenty to sit with if you allow the content and the energy present throughout the EP to resonate within your psyche. This is thought-provoking music, packaged in the form of enticing lyricism and mood inducing production.
Enjoy our track by track look at Long Story Short below.
“7tate of Mind” [prod. Wes Ryan]
From the moment Wes Ryan’s production sets things off, you can already tell “7tate of Mind” is about to be a raw cut. Over the course of the record, Lifshitz laces the instrumentation with his characteristically smooth delivery, filling the landscape of the song with slick game. It’s an insightful and self-aware journey, told via Justin’s reflective yet forward focused storytelling. The cold flow reveals little emotion on the surface but the energy present within his voice allows the content of the track to reach the highest of peaks – listeners can genuinely feel the heart and honesty in his demeanor. He’s matured past the point of having to flex, instead allowing his actions and, in this case, the music to make poignant statements for him.
Wes cooked up chaotic production for “7tate of Mind,” syncing beautifully with the energy of Justin’s words. There is a lot of ground covered here but the sonic backdrop helps bring it all together into a cohesive product that begins the saga of Long Story Short wonderfully. Part way through the track, the production fades out in perfect timing to the subject matter at hand before rising back up from the ashes. It’s a little thing that may go missed due to how engaging the song is, but it adds a little additional depth to “7tate of Mind.”
“One Time” [prod. Crack Perez]
With Crack Perez taking over the production duties from here on out, “One Time” has a more atmospheric feel, almost becoming hypnotic as the instrumental forges a fidelity with Justin’s flow. “One Time” feels like Lifshitz is transcending from the physical realm, coming to terms and embracing the fact he’s far more than a body and far greater than the sums of his environment – although the environment certainly plays a role in who he is today. It’s a showcase of how balanced his mind, body and spirit have grown to be as the inner and outer work continue to manifest in a display of symbiosis. The shortest joint on Long Story Short, “One Time” is complex in it’s surface layer simplicity – no fancy wordplay, just fire delivery and intelligent prose to convey the message at hand. Regardless of the simplicity, there’s levels to the track as Justin flips the “spiritual” awareness into relatable, real life storytelling.
“More Alive” [prod. Crack Perez]
Tying together the overarching themes of Long Story Short, “More Alive” is a testament to letting go of past conceptions and limitations in order to evolve into a greater version of the self. As the music demonstrates, Justin Lifshitz is a work in progress – like all of us – but he’s putting in the work and taking full accountability for the work that still needs to be done. One should never trivialize an act as mentally and physically exhausting as this – it sounds so easy but it will be the hardest work you ever do. It would appear, however, that Justin has maneuvered and thrived through the work thus far and is ready to keep on growing into the different states of existence and awareness that await him as his life continues.
Perez cloaks the powerful closing track in vibey, ethereal production, leaving the EP ringing with an essence of airy mysticism. This was the perfect lyric/beat combo to wrap Long Story Short with as it shines a light on the internal and external work that helped manifest the EP as a whole.
Even though I could listen to Justin Lifshitz for far longer than 8 minutes, it’s a blessing in disguise Long Story Short is indeed such a short EP. There is so much to unpack and it’s a wild attestation to his craftsmanship that Justin was able to so powerfully address such a wide range of subject matter in so little time. Fortunately, you’ll be able to play this one back over and over and still have the time in your day to go work on yourself. Man, your favorite emcees wish they could get this deep with only 3 songs and less than 10 minutes.
Long Story Short is inspiring and serves as a reminder to take that uncomfortable look in the mirror to remember who and where change starts and ends.
Long Story Short is available now on all your favorite streaming platforms.