El-P, Fantastic Damage

Jess Harvell

By Jess Harvell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
El-P takes mid-period hip hop beats and covers them with slime.

After virtually inventing everything good and bad about indie hip-hop in the mid-'90s with his crew Company Flow, El-P went solo and founded the Def Jux label in 2001. Like his production work on the incredible 2001 debut from Cannibal Ox, his 2002 solo album Fantastic Damage takes beats from the mid-period hip-hop he grew up on and covers them with slime, mottles them with rust and builds a clanking steam-punk music more menacing than funky. As for the words, it's hard to say El has "flow," though his untamed gusts of verbiage are impressive. Just pretend you're listening to Henry Rollins reading sci-fi novels and you'll be fine.