Release Date: Aug 3, 2010
Record label: Gold Dust
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap
Somewhere in the 10 years between Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus and his previous solo record, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, El-P's production style snapped its leash. Not like it was all that tightly restricted in the first place-- his late-90s/early-00s work knocked with dread but included both hardcore hip-hop breaks and glitchy squalls. Still, his work's gotten to the point where it can take a longtime fan about 10 seconds to recognize one of his new beats, and another 10 seconds to hear something fresh in his approach.
EL-P has spent his entire career drawing a huge line between him and every other hip-hop producer in the world. His abrasive, blown-out approach to production and his management of the Definitive Jux label made him one of the shining lights of the hip-hop scene in the early to mid-2000s, and every album he had a huge part in acted as another meteor, opening the crater of his influence even further. Throughout nearly everything Jamie Meline has touched, there exist constant streams of discontent and dread, delivered as if a sinister grin is affixed to his face the entire time.
Back in the ’90s, as the musical mastermind behind Company Flow and Cannibal Ox, [a]El-P[/a] practically invented indie hip-hop. You’d be forgiven for thinking his time had been and gone by now, but this album of instrumental sketches is surprisingly bullish, its snotty distorted synths and chiptune funk melodies aligning El-P unexpectedly with the output of young UK producers [b]Joker[/b] and [b]Rustie[/b]. Misanthropy still oozes from tracks such as ‘[b]Drunk With A Loaded Pistol[/b]’, but in a way that’s gripping, not just gripey.
El-P’s productions have been known to induce mass head-bobbing among the underground hip-hop crowd, but with this instrumental mix album he’s bound to get some feet moving too. Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3 is a logical progression from his hectic early work as genres like dubstep and grime have since appeared to increase the pressure. Extended runs of uptempo numbers are something new for the man, and the album refuses to chill until it takes a breather on track six, a familiar slow-roller titled “Time Won’t Tell.
First as a member of Company Flow, and then as a solo artist, El-P developed one of the most distinctive voices in hip-hop. His lyrics were as convoluted and complex as the conspiracy theories that fuelled them, the New Yorker’s intellect stewing in paranoia as he made lateral links between political and metaphorical concepts to paint unnerving pictures of impending doom. And, as founder of the Def Jux label, he presided over a coterie of artists including Aesop Rock and Murs, all of whom made music so aggressive it should be bouncing off the walls in a padded cell.
Ever wonder what J. Dilla’s Donuts would sound like if El-P made it? Of course you haven’t. That’s a ridiculous thing to wonder. At least, it is unless you are El-P, in which case you’ve already admitted that Dilla’s Donuts was a major influence on your latest release. It’s called ….
This could represent the greatest thinking man’s beat tape of all time. Adam Kennedy 2010 Not for nothing is Brooklyn leftfield hip hop impresario Jaime Meline otherwise known as, in extended alter ego terms, El-Producto. Schooled in groundbreaking crew Company Flow before honing his craft as a solo artist and brain behind scene-defining label Definitive Jux, his literate wiseass rhymes and shrewd business sense are far from the only weapons in his arsenal.
When El-P decided to step down as the head of Def Jux records, he said the reason was to enable him to focus on his career as a musician and producer. He had been coasting in his comfort zone, producing the dark, head-banging beats for his cohorts of Can Ox, Cage, Mr. Lif, and the like. But considering the state of the record industry, among other events such as the death of Camu Tau, El-P has essentially put the entire label on hiatus.