Tag Archives: El-P

“The Jig is Up”

Cancer 4 Cure, 2012

I would not wanna spend a day in El-P’s head. The Brooklyn-born underground hip-hop icon has built an impressive career out of oppressive materials. His dense, obsessive, caustic production has been a fixture on the scene for close to two decades, so singular I can honestly say I’ve never even heard an imitator. That goes for the wordplay too: agitated and rife with sci-fi paranoia, he belongs to that rare breed of hip-hop lyricist devoted almost exclusively to world-building. As in all art, it’s hard to tell where the persona ends and the person begins, but I suspect “The Jig is Up” betrays more than a hint of autobiography. “Why don’t you just admit the truth/That you’ve been trained to withstand pain/And that’s the only way my crazy is not killing you,” he pleads with a would-be lover. “I wouldn’t wanna be a part of any club that would have me/You must out of your goddamn mind.” If you think consuming an entire album pitched at this same level of self-loathing is too much to ask, imagine what it feels like to live there permanently.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/08%20The%20Jig%20Is%20Up.m4a]


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Cassette on Vinyl, 2014

“I worry.” So confesses the soulful vocal sample at the heart of “Gross,” a 2012 cassette mixtape standout from L.A.-based rapper/producer Jonwayne. It could also double as his thesis statement. While his work thus far has leaned heavily on El-P-seasoned anxiety and apocalysm, there’s enough personality in ‘wayne’s music to suggest it’ll one day be its own touchstone. Until then, the buoyant simplicity of a track like “Gross” is more than sufficient. It’s just been remastered and re-released as the leading track on Stones Throw’s Cassette on Vinyl compilation. Rawness intact.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/01%20Gross.mp3 ]


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