In truth, part of me wants to be like, “Yo, El, why don’t you just chill the fuck out, smoke a blunt, take a deep breath, even if it’s not going to be okay, why don’t you just pretend that it will.” I’m sure by now the guy’s been told this one or two or 34,566 times. Yeah, the oeuvre’s a razor’s-edge from being gimmicky. At this point, it seems like there’s no piece of smooth sheet metal that El-P couldn’t twist into a fun-house of apocalyptic contortion. No sunny personality he couldn’t glare into dyspepsia. No bright day he couldn’t murk. It’s a lot to handle, but ultimately, it’s none of my fucking business. Artists should be allowed to be artists and regardless of whether you love or hate the guy, it’s tough to deny that his paranoid, neo-Bomb Squad wall of noise is as sonically innovative as anyone in hip-hop, 2008. *
Currently, barnstorming the country with Dizzee Rascal, Kidz in the Hall and Busdriver on the Stuff White People Like Tour 2008, the Def Jux chieftain has been peddling the next installment of his limited edition 500-only Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixx 2. The record sounds how you’d think it would sound. Think My Life in the Bush of Ghosts but done by someone convinced the Nazis could kick down the door at any moment. Maybe less original than the canonized Eno/Byrne collaboration, but no less awesome, and either way I’ll take this over a dude freestyling over the beat to “Xxplosive” anyday. (though Crooked I, pretty much killed Week 30).
Split between instrumentals, remixed tracks and original raps from El Producto, “Mike Douglas” stands out as my favorite of the bunch, with its savage uppercut at white music journalists who apparently play apologist for crack rap. (Who knew?) I’m not going to play the transcribe game, but it’s either this or Elzhi’s “Motown 25” for my pick for this month’s imaginary Hip Hop Quotable. If you aren’t a fan, I don’t see something called Theweareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixx 2 convincing you to join the Def Jux fan club**, but if you are, it will inevitably be vital for the next time you decide to have your next Blade Runner party. I call Edward James Olmos.
*Other correct answers can include Madlib, Black Milk and maybe one or two other producers I’m forgetting at the moment. Answering Timbaland results in a 10-year purgatory where you are forced to listen to Madonna’s Hard Candy ad infinitum.
**Def Jux fan club includes free Mr. Lif hair grooming kit and a chance to Win a Date with Rob Sonic
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