Rising Mississippi rapper Li 9 returns with “Back in the Field,” a track—and video—that showcases the relentless hustle and unfathomable odds that the man has overcome to succeed. The track, led by a scrappy guitar line and rattling 808s, is out today via Motown Records. Listen HERE. The single is Li 9’s first release since signing with the legendary label.
“Back in the Field” puts Li 9’s cascading flows and intuitive ear for melody on full display. “I’ma put on for my city,” he raps, pain in his voice. A floating synth line is the perfect accompaniment for the forlorn story of someone who’s had to risk it all to chase their dream. The visual, directed by Karltin Bankz and shot in Georgia, finds Li 9 bathed in the deep blues and reds of cop lights. When he’s not fighting 5-0, he’s grappling with would-be assailants coming after his chains. In Li 9’s world, the risks come from all sides. He reps Greenville so hard because the only people he can trust are the ones who rose from the dirt with him. Like everything else in his career, though, Li 9 defies the odds in the video, eventually posting up in a mansion with his crew. “Blood in blood out, bitch we got mob ties/You play with one of mine you see my dark side,” he raps.
“Back in the Field” comes on the heels of 2020’s “Feelin Like Stuckett,” his first track to blow. Inspired by slain hometown rapper Big Stuckett, the moody song details the grim realities of surviving in Greenville, MS, while Li 9 celebrates his own rising stature. Li 9 also independently released his street-approved mixtape, Heartless, in 2020, which demonstrated a boundless talent and lucid perspective that earned him the coveted Motown Records deal. “Back in the Field” is just the latest in this long succession of hits, and its raw and sturdy bars only further Li 9’s journey to becoming one of rap’s most moving young voices.