Between sharing mic duties with Bigg Juss in Company Flow and RZArecting the Def Jux monolith with production pipebombs the past decade plus, it’s interesting how underrated El-P has become as an emcee. For better or worse, we usually equate El-P Rapper with El-P Producer/Innovator/Indie Rap Benchmarker. There hasn’t been much seperation, but with good cause.
The Def Jux culture was similar to the early Wu-Tang matrix: insular as hell with astounding results. El-P preferred ruminating in the scary hours of Brooklyn bedlam rather than running up in all the industry showcases, hobknobbing for beat placements or mixtape vacancies to flex his rhetoric. The Jukies more or less followed suite; outside appearances from anyone on the roster in its heyday was an event.
Now that Def Jux has halted production, Jukies old and new have been left with a whole lot of time on their hands to give new bad touch examples of word murdering. Aesop’s contributions to records from Greenhouse, Hail Mary Mallon, and Tobacco have kept the fanboys on tilt with new molar cannons from Sir Bazooka Tooth, Esquire. Murs has been almost too prolific on his own (as always), but he’s branched out to lace tracks for Naledge, Nocando, and an upcoming punk album. And El-Producto has dished out beats like flu shots in Rowanda to Kidz in the Hall, Adult Swim, and his own WeAreAllGoingToBurnInHellMeggamixx 3.
When El feels like rhyming on someone else’s record, it is an event. In 2005, at the height of Ghostface’s powers, Lazerface won the Duel of the Brooklyn Iron Mic Melters on Prefuse 73’s “Hide Ya Face”. His couplets on Kidz in the Hall’s “Driving Down the Block Remix” was a worthy sequel to “Drive” from I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Going back in time, his Eric Cartman reference on 2000’s posset cut “Seven” from NYC subterranean cats Masterminds gave him the belt over a very sharp J-Live. And he held his own with Del (before he went crazy) on their collabo “Offspring” in 1999.
El-P has recently stated that he only makes full length albums when it’s time to unload a brick of thoughts and ideas that have been festering in his cranial cavern for inordinate amounts of time. When El jumps on a record to just straight up rap, we a glimpse of what exactly is irking the Walt Disney/Keyser Soze hybrid at that moment. Like past contracted hits, his verse on Das Rascist’s “Sit Down, Man” is terrifyingly on the money. It’s jampacked with surreal city freak outs. It’s wordy without being Kwelian. Brutishly slick references to Lost, Stephen Colbert and “Watchmen” give us a hint of what’s been in El’s Netflix and DVR this year. And the BDP-by-way-of-Psycho Realm production from Scoop DeVille makes it a trunk rattler that the hardest trucker hat Jux jocker in ’03 would never be able to front on.
Behold quite possibly the best verse of 2010*:
Gangster computer god, mind sluts my pseudonym
Fuck anyone giddily giggle simply misery
Fiddlers whittle bitch pitches but wear the duecy tag
First’ll always be the grit truthy Brooklyn elusive brand
Harbinger of the bum rush plus uzi that way a ton or more
Buddy cops kiss each other, pederast priests fuck whores
Go set the moral compass to something a little sacrilege
I’ll pirate jenny this whole town, black freighter your maggotness
Nobody sleeps tonight, 50 car alarm evening
Perpetual garbage truck annoying ice cream truck jingling
Hey young world,your clock just got donkey punched by aristocrats Maniac brainiac fist fucked in a dunce cap
Looking at it from space you can see the race is just one lap
Your tranquillity now is just future anarchy unhatched
I want a new drug plus alternate reality
Some dimensional shiftiness hidden from all the cowardly
Gypsies read the palm and then, vomit and, gimmee back my dollar Hollering “Oh god get out you monster”
From a local where disarmaments a running joke
More commonly for commoners its grey matter converted in to runny yoke
I’m not in the mood (stop), a lot more than rude (wrong)
Hot rod of intoxicants (vroom), gobble ya food (gone)
Bop to the truthiness, truly I’m a lost boy
Half man, half smoke no joke got it on Locke boy
Take your little sad poopy pants to the corner toy
I been the brain blazed bleeder burn a bridge burner boy
El-P’s other outstanding guest shots:
Prefuse 73 f/ Ghostface & El-P “Hide Ya Face (El-P Remix)”
Kidz in the Hall f/ El-P “Driving Down the Block (El-P Remix)”
Masterminds “Seven” f/ El-P, J-Live, J Treds, Shabaam Sahdeeq and Mr. Complex
Del f/ El-P “Offspring”