Unlike West Coast rap, the East specialises in abrasive subversion: like the Bomb Squad and Wu Tang before him, El-P takes on hip-hop’s increasingly smoothed-out templates with sonic sandpaper, scratching strange shapes into its commercial veneer. The MC and producer made his name as a member of the ever-leftfield Company Flow and rose to prominence as a producer of hip-hop concrete for his own Definitive Jux label. As his dense, stylised production for indie-hop heroes such as Cannibal Ox and Mike Ladd suggests, he cuts an intellectual and impassioned figure, an unusual combination in a genre whose mainstream is made up of laid-back thugs and syrupy R&B balladeers. His second solo album, ‘I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead’, is more like a gothic novel than the hood-rat Danielle Steel romances served up by his contemporaries.
El-P, Jaime Meline