Fugitoid on the run again
July 10, 2008 8:54 PM   Subscribe

El-P, founder of Def Jux, is not your average rap artist. His themes and style are frequently lush and apocalyptic. While Deep Space 9mm launched 'El-Producto', cleverly futuristic works like Stepfather factory, Flyentology with Trent Reznor or the darker Tasmanian Pain Coaster are his hallmark. He recently released a new mixtape free online, along with the lyrics pdf for his album. He also recently remixed a song from MTV's TRL, warping it into a chaotic police state jam, mirroring other songs of his with themes of authority and control.

Because his delivery can be like listening to raw html, it's hard to appreciate the lyrical construction behind works like Poisenville Kids No Wins until the words are right there.

"And I felt like a hundred bucks in the pocket of a gambling lush/ at a wondershowzen
flow with the droids of destructo luck/ fugitoid on the run again/ the sky gleamed the
maroonist coloring/ layered against the bluest tone from where the thunder lived/ and
there I was directly under it/ like some dejected little grey they told to stay and wait for
the mothership/ a cotton ball in a blizzard of mischief or brain prison/ with a thought that
rode on the bus and came for conjugal visits/ and fucked its way into my grey matter the
tattered territory/ stayed chattering and nagging till it demanded it yell it for me/ and I tried
to hold the thing back but the meditation was otherly/ fixated on what a friend said and
relating it to my struggling/ “metropoloid void so damn smothering”/ but we were children
of poisenville and saw the seduction less repugnant/ and reserved the right as the
triggerman with the back up plan of self destruction/ and I touched the type of chemicals
that could pull me towards that function/ it’s the stuff I find hard for discussion/ how the
fuck do you explain your own self-destruction and still remain trusted?"

The lyrics for Tasmanian Pain Coaster are similarly, rewardingly dense.

"I swagger with rats tappin’ the glass in a government lab/ pass me the gloves/
mask and a flask of the cheapest liquor you have/ in the back of the tasmanian
path/ insane again laughin’/ cacklin’ at the randomness of the city and all its facts/
the dark art of interrogation agent skippin’ class/ and at last in a flash on my tip toes
walkin’ on cracked glass/ gats blast and wiz by fast or just/ catch in my calves like
“hold that”/ in other words: I’m trash/ glad you asked"
posted by cashman (36 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Your favorite band sounds awesome.
posted by jayder at 9:05 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Wow, those are some great videos, especially Deep Space 9mm
posted by delmoi at 9:35 PM on July 10, 2008

all men were created equal, emcees are uneven
ask blind man Steven if he's even seen how the sunset looks
that's something you couldn't feel with a braille book
posted by plexi at 9:52 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

I love El-P and his brand of dark, paranoid hip-hop. Oddly enough, I had never seen the Deep Space 9mm video before (despite the fact that I listened the shit out of Fantastic Damage), so thanks for posting that, because it was truly excellent.

Also, I love free mixtapes.
posted by threetoed at 10:21 PM on July 10, 2008

Great post. Loooooove El-P, and let's not forget to give it up for Company Flow.
posted by dhammond at 10:28 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Fantastic Damage rocked my socks (as did Cannibal Ox, who El-P produced) at the beginning of this decade. Love the "listening to raw HTML" description, as it really does fit.
posted by electronslave at 10:38 PM on July 10, 2008

I want new Cannibal Ox naowwww

And yes, El-P is colossally underrated.

Still. Cold Vein II please now goddammit thanks!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:56 PM on July 10, 2008

I was introduced to El-P through an excellent remix of "Flyentology" by Cassettes Won't Listen.
posted by anifinder at 11:28 PM on July 10, 2008

Thanks for the heads-up, cashman. Id heard just a bit of this guy's stuff, glad to hear more.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:35 PM on July 10, 2008

I really like his rapping on this VERY NSFW song.

Really NSFW. Really.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:49 PM on July 10, 2008

weird, i've just been going thru a re-obsession with can ox/co flow. i'm not a fan of el-p's verbal diarrhea flow, but he's one of the best producers ever. i love how can ox and company flow both had other lyricists who teetered on the edge between abstract and concrete... true poetry. it sounds so good mixed with his sci-fi/bladerunner/punk rock beats.

got callouses on my hands cos i held the sun uneven / and got the weight of the world on my chest, but still breathin
posted by jcruelty at 11:58 PM on July 10, 2008

Awesome. Thanks cashman. Loves me some El Producto. I was just listening to "We're Famous" off of Aes' Bazooka Tooth. Until my housemate made me change the stereo. Bastard.
posted by friendlyjuan at 12:14 AM on July 11, 2008

Cold Vein II please now goddammit thanks!

Careful with that. I wished for more Cage, and got the Smut Peddlers. Learned my lesson good, I did.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:33 AM on July 11, 2008

A set El-P played on WFMU's Coffee Break [mp3], enjoyable for a bewitching synthcraft Paul McCartney misogyny anthem...
posted by kid ichorous at 12:43 AM on July 11, 2008

Poisenville is my favorite song on that album. The way he approached collaborating with Cat Power in that song is brilliant. He talks about it in this interview.

And to that end, you’ve got a pretty eclectic mix of guests on the album but the one thing I was really pleased about, because I have to admit I was pretty worried to start with…

As was everyone!

Was it going to be a The Mars Volta song with El-P rapping over it, was it going to be a Cat Power song. So, obviously it was important to you to keep your sound whilst being able to bring these people in.

I just look at this shit like a sample or bringing a session musician in y’know? I don’t look at it like “hey, here’s my big rap-rock collab”, that’s bullshit to me. The fact of the matter is that if you’re a hip hop producer, you own so many records and you’re sampling all these different genres and putting them together. It’s all the same thing to me, I think people make a mistake of switching their shit up as soon as they get to collaborate with someone outside of their genre, I’ve been collaborating with people outside of my genre since I first started, they just didn’t know about it. And then some of them, when they did, sued me. I just think its an extension of the whole idea of what hip hop cats do best, which is pick apart and pull apart all the things we like from different genres and put them together to make something new that’s ours and use all the parts that sound dope to us.

I mean, 90% of your favourite hip hop records are from rock albums, breaks, little breaks or jazz records or funk records. Little moments that you got stuck in your head and once I got the chance to work with some of the cats in other ways that I’d like outside the genre, it seemed like a natural thing to bring them. It’s not like I made a list like “I’m going to go and get Trent, I’m going to get Cat Power”, I knew these people and was working with them in different capacities and I just tried to make it work, instead of making it forced.

I knew that the second everyone looked at the list of collaborators, it was going to be like “Oh fuck, here he goes, he’s trying to make his crossover” and I think that I made a concerted effort that it didn’t come out like that.

posted by joedan at 12:46 AM on July 11, 2008

On a related white-guy-rap note, has anybody here heard the new Atmosphere? "You" is the most honest song about working in a bar I've ever heard. I tried to write something similar a long time ago during a shift, but man, he just NAILED it.
posted by lattiboy at 1:13 AM on July 11, 2008

Since you have to make an account with the Def Jux site even to download a single free file, I'll spare them an influx of fake accounts and re-host the lyric book here. 1MB PDF.

I think Flyentology is one of the weaker cuts overall on "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" -- that album has some real hidden gems, so even if the singles don't sell you, maybe dig a little deeper. And I love his downright audacious repurposing of Drivin' Down the Block (the "chaotic police state jam" link from the post).

Good post, even if the copy-pasting blocks of lyrics wholesale feels a little livejournal-y to me. Thanks for the links.

Customers who enjoyed this FPP may also like:
- Evil Nine - Crooked [flash music video]
- Prolyphic and Reanimator - The Ugly Truth [full album stream]
posted by churl at 2:16 AM on July 11, 2008

Thanks for this. I really liked Deep Space 9mm.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:26 AM on July 11, 2008

Heh, I was rocking out to El-P on my ride in this morning.
posted by sciurus at 6:05 AM on July 11, 2008

Holy shit, as I typed that comment El-P came on my iTunes.
posted by sciurus at 6:06 AM on July 11, 2008

You can't go wrong with El-P. I'd go so far as to say "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" is the best hip-hop album of the last couple years (which doesn't say a lot, sadly). There are so many unforgettable songs on I'll Sleep, but I'd have to say the opener ("Tasmanian Pain Coaster") and the closer ("Poisonville Kids") are huge huge huge standouts. Of course, "Dear Sirs" and "Habeus Corpses" ("I fell in love on a prison ship...") are strong contenders. Speaking of lyrics, listen to "Dear Sirs", the poetry will wash over you.
posted by Edgewise at 6:19 AM on July 11, 2008

I was disproportionately happy with my recent opportunity to make a random El-P reference, and inexplicably disappointed that no one noticed.
posted by googly at 6:57 AM on July 11, 2008

I've been on an El-P kick lately. Nice to have some stuff to add to my collection.
posted by lunit at 8:17 AM on July 11, 2008

(As an aside, lattiboy, Atmosphere rapper Slug isn't white... or were you referring to his fanbase?)
posted by nicepersonality at 9:09 AM on July 11, 2008

The lyrical style reminds me a lot of Aesop Rock, in a good way. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:25 AM on July 11, 2008

I have to say I prefer labelmate Aesop Rock. "None Shall Pass" is the best hip-hop album in -- well, it's awesome.
posted by Shepherd at 9:29 AM on July 11, 2008

Aesop Rock - No Regrets

Songs like the above, and the El-P stuff posted here remind me that hip-hop is capable of so much awesomeness.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:13 AM on July 11, 2008

El-P is great. DIdn't see his free mix-up, thanks much for the link. Whenever I listen to an El-P album, there are 5-6 awesome tracks, and 8 more that I don't get. But I still really like the guy.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 10:53 AM on July 11, 2008

googly, I noticed... and was searching around for your post to crosspost here!

I'd heard El Producto mentioned on some Evil Dee mixes, but your post was the one to get me listening... tuned mass damper, yes.
posted by anthill at 11:11 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

"The Overly Dramatic Truth" live, "Up All Night" live.
posted by delmoi at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2008

Actually he legally couldn't use Def Jux after Russell Simmons noticed him and called his lawyers on him. He started used the longer version Definitive Jux(taposition). As you listen to his music, try to see how many are Blade Runner inspired. Beyond that you can catch some anime (see:Vampire Hunter D, Akira, etc.) inspired tunes.

For all who is not aware, this is where quality Hip-Hop music resides. IMnotsoHumbleO.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2008

(As an aside, lattiboy, Atmosphere rapper Slug isn't white... or were you referring to his fanbase?)

(nitpick warning)
Well, according to your source, he's simultaneously white, black, and native American. Unless we operate under antiquated (yet strangely persistent) "one drop of black blood" definitions, there's no reason why these categories have to be exclusive.

On the other hand, he could assert that he's not white simply because he doesn't identify as such; but, if race were something we were allowed to abjure in that way, most people would be filling out their college applications very differently.
(end nitpick)
posted by kid ichorous at 4:26 PM on July 11, 2008

Also, since we're tangentially on Company Flow, it's Big Brother's Bigger Brother (Bigg Jus, YT)
posted by kid ichorous at 4:36 PM on July 11, 2008

What a timely post. I've been rocking Funcrusher Plus in my car this past week.
posted by phaedon at 10:36 AM on July 13, 2008

What a lame site. I am not giving them my street address to download a song, no matter how awesome it is.
posted by airways at 1:39 PM on July 25, 2008

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