El-P albums

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2002

Fantastic Damage (4 / 5)

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2007

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (4.5 / 5)

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2012

Cancer for Cure (4.5 / 5)

            Some people forget that before Run the Jewels, El-P had a huge underground career. He started Company Flow in the late 90’s, he produced many artists on his DefJux record label including Aesop Rock and Cannibal Ox, and he has had several solo albums including this one. Cancer 4 Cure could be seen as a precursor to RTJ as it even has Killer Mike a guest a couple of times, most notably on “Tougher, Colder, Killer”. The album as a whole feels very cold and calculated, like rap that comes at you from Antarctica. There are many times that El-P’s raps come flying at you like nothing else he has done before: “The Jig is Up” features a plethora of self hate and loathing; “Works Every Time” and “Drones Over Brooklyn” could almost be an arena rock anthems; “True Story” and “Stay Down” could have been killer singles in El-P wasn’t so independently minded. However it is that independent mindset that fuels the albums manifesto; the hard hitting truth could only come from someone who has been there and done it all. And to think, he was on the verge of re-inventing himself yet again the next year. 

Best Tracks: Stay Down, Drones Over Brooklyn, Sign Here, The Jig Is Up

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