Wild Style Wednesday Review: El-P, Fantastic Damage

fantastic_damage_frontIt’s very easy for me to say that El-P has re-invented the wheel twice in the Hip-Hop game. The first time he did it was with Fantastic Damage (One of the best debuts ever?), and without a question he did it again on I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Don’t get me wrong, I love both albums as much as you possibly could, I just think Fantastic Damage has a slight edge on ISWYD. The dark, hard hitting, brain hemorrhaging beats on this album are some of the most crazy concoctions my ear drums have ever had the pleasure of discovering. To me it’s no wonder that people were waiting for I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead with such anticipation… they new it was going to be a classic because of Fantastic Damage.

Right from the jump on “Fantastic Damage” you can tell by the synthesizers and baritone blasting beats that this isn’t going to be a conventional album. El even takes a shot at Star Wars while he’s at it, “…This is the third installment of a prequel that was never written right/filmed with that classic Brooklyn magic, without Lucas Arts graphics/rendered cuddly comic relief creatures or terrible child actors/get off that jade elephant (you’re stoned) and remember everything backwards”. The beat on “Squeegee Man Shooting” still manages to mesmerize me every time I hear it, and El-P continues the trend of ripping his spaced-out soundscapes to shreds. He also gives credit to the legends that inspired him as well as his father, “In fact, studied the cadences of Kool Moe Dee and Rick/put my name into their rhymes and then practiced it/put my brain pattern on fly and I mastered it/Dad played jazz when he drank, it’s no accident/hands on the piano and make my foot tap to it/different path, same love, Dad, thanks for passing it”.

If you’ve ever seen the video for the track “Deep Space 9mm” you know that it’s a pretty dark and dismal song, not to mention El doesn’t hide any of his feelings towards Rawkus Records, “…Signed to Rawkus? I’d rather be mouth fucked by Nazis unconscious”. I remember seeing El-P live at the Triple Rock, and my favorite track that he performed was “Tuned Mass Damper”. There is something about the vocal samples that clash with the beat so well that it makes you feel like you are on some type of hallucinogenic drug. I love the track “Dr. Hellno And The Praying Mantus” so much, and I swear I’m damn near laughing out loud every time I listen to it. My favorite verse on “Dr. Hellno…” comes from Vast Aire though, because he spits so many Jimi Hendrix references it will leave you rewinding the track over and over. Vast Aire & El-P making music together is pretty much a god-send (See: Cannibal Ox) and it’s something I would love to see more often. El tells the unfortunate and harrowing story of millions of helpless children who have “robotic parents” on the track “Stepfather Factory”.

The standout track, to me, on this album is the cut “Accidents Don’t Happen” where El-P brings along Cage & Camu Tao. All 3 of these emcees leave every bar decimated like an alcoholic on Third Street in La Crosse, and the beat put forth by El-P is nothing short of exceptional. The sinister synthesizer chords might leave you thinking that you are going insane. The synth hits for the most part or low pitched, but El throws in some high pitched noises that are sure to fuck with your eardrums every time you hear it.

As I mentioned in a parenthesis before, this album is so good that it should be considered one of the best debut albums by anyone. There are a ton of cuts that I didn’t highlight because there are literally so many. Fantastic Damage is a front to back album without a doubt, you really don’t need to skip any tracks at all. I have a feeling that Fan Dam is going to be a timeless classic for many decades to come. It’s great to see guys like El-P shake up the genre of Hip-Hop with such utterly astonishing results.

10 Lazerface Warnings out of 10


2 Responses to “Wild Style Wednesday Review: El-P, Fantastic Damage

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  2. […] you dig El-p, or want to get into more of his music I would check out Fantastic Damage  and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead.  A similar style is reflected upon in this track. […]

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