in Review

El-P – Cancer For Cure

If you’ve paid any attention at all to the kinds of new music we usually review on this website, you can tell that we’re not terribly well-versed in modern hip-hop.  I personally can’t really say that I’m opposed to what’s going on in hip-hop nowadays, it’s just usually not the kind of thing that resonates with my very white taste in music.  So I was surprised when I stumbled upon the latest album by alternative hip-hop producer/rapper El-P, but of course I was a little disappointed when I learned that El-P is a white guy.  But regardless of that, this album basically sums up what I feel like hip-hop should sound like in 2012: entrenched in old school sounds while still being legitimately forward-thinking.

It seems that it’s just been recently that I’ve found that what for me sets apart most “good hip-hop” from your average Top 40 bullshit is the production.  And I can unflinchingly say that the production on Cancer For Cure is second to none.  El-P’s songs are made up of these incredibly dense electronic soundscapes that are merged with bonecrushing beats that makes for a sound that I would almost describe as Sci-Fi hip-hop.  Even the lyrics often have this tinge of distopian paranioa that’s interspersed with El-P’s distinctly aggressive rhymes.  And it’s pretty amazing to hear what a commanding presence El-P has on the mic in addition to being one of hip-hop’s most highly regarded producers.

My only problem with the album is also one of it’s greatest assets, and that’s the fact that the songs are so unrelentingly hard-hitting and amped up.  It’s not a terribly long album at 49 minutes, but I find myself feeling a bit worn out by the last few songs.  That might just be a case of me not being accustomed to listening to an album’s worth of hip-hop, but either way, Cancer For Cure is about as badass as anything that I’ve heard all year and has been a nice reassurance that modern hip-hop isn’t necessarily as impenetrable as I usually treat it.

Favorite Tracks: “The Full Retard”, “Drones Over Bklyn”, “True Story”

  1. “The Full Retard”? I guess I have to check it out.

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