Review: Lykke Li at 6th and I Synagogue

Lykke Li wants to be a rapper.

I didn’t want to believe it at first. My boy told me about Lykke rapping at dive bars in Brooklyn and I couldn’t even picture it. But after Saturday night’s show it’s more than obvious that this is the case.

First and foremost, however, Lykke Li is a Swedish pop star. A woman, who at only 22, commands the stage with prescience and dare I say, swagger. The oddly selected venue of 6th and I Synagogue couldn’t hold her back, and audience members rose up out of the pews and ran to the front. For some reason, it reminded me of an old Baptist revival meeting and Lykke was the preacher.

The show itself, while not as technically sound as her last Black Cat performance (acoustics have a little to do with it), was yet another journey though her debut album, Youth Novels. For the course of the hour and a half set, she ran through her hits like “Little Bit,” and “Im Good, I’m Gone”, and DC ate her up. I’m still amazed that people knew every lyric of every song in her short catalog by heart, even if Lykke had to stop the out of pitch audience during a rendition of her song, “Let It Fall”, mocking them with that “I don’t give a f*ck attitude,” most reserved for rock stars—not 22 year old folk poppers.

So back to this girl being a rapper thing. If you follow Ms Li, then you know that she not only loves hip-hop, but he has a great appreciation for it. She’s got cosigns from Kanye and David Banner. She’s shared the stage with Q-Tip, redone Rick Ross’ Hustlin’, and drops Tribe and De La Soul in the middle of her sets.

However, she dropped a bomb on her audience on Saturday night.

A Milli.

Half the audience was stunned, the other half (including yours truly) was amazed. Sure, “A Milli,” is the pop song du jour, but coming from her, it was completely unexpected. I still have no words even 24 hours later.

So yes, even though I’m a supposed “hip-hop” writer, I stan for Lykke Li with a quickness. She is refreshing change to what we consider pop, and is at the forefront of the cross-cultural shift taking place in music today. If you can buy into her sound, you must see her live to be believed.

I’m already preaching her gospel.