Cancer 4 Cure
Cancer 4 Cure, El-P’s first solo release in half a decade, is brought to us on Fat Possum Records. The Brooklyn emcee is well known for his influence and involvement in the alternative hip hop genre. Probably best known as part of the 90’s rap group Company Flow, EL-P along with Bigg Jus and Mr. Len released the widely recognised hip-hop classic Funcrusher Plus. Since Company Flow, EL-P has pursued his solo career.
The rapping throughout the 12-track ensemble that is C4C is delivered in the aggressively sharp and powerful style that fans of Company Flow have grown to love. EL-P’s style is ever creative, like no other you have heard before. El-P’s style has always required mandated a hefty dose of active listening and interpretation; this release is no different. When it comes to a release from El Producto, words can only describe so much. Cancer 4 Cure possesses vividly descriptive, hyper-realist lyrics throughout. A world of fear and paranoia is portrayed by the various personas EL-P adopts. The flow is a continuous change of pace. In a word, the album is a continuance — it follows suit for what Def Jux fanboys/girls have come to expect from the label’s ringleader, and continues on the quest to press new boundaries musically.
Production, which is handled by EL-P himself, possess a personally unique feel. Every track shares the sinister overtones of grimy New York living, while each beat manages to interpret that feeling into something that’s wholly unique. Whether it be the monotonously-hypnotizing sound of “Sign Here” or the heavier, steady-rocking of “For my Upstairs Neighbor (Mums the Word)” there is always a distance between rapping and beats. The two often move independently, rarely do they directly parallel each other. However, this sets the tone of the album. It gives a peculiar, almost twisted sound, heavy with emotion.
Both the rapping and production is certainly not for every fan of hip hop music. EL-P’s dark, avant-garde style is an acquired taste. However, if not enjoyed, it can be appreciated by those lovers of the music that have a wide palette of listening prior to hearing C4C. For sheer creativity and precision, C4C is a success. It is creatively vivid and possesses stong beats that spark emotion. EL-P has accomplished another engulfing album through all its aspects.
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