Run The Jewels 2 is the best early Christmas present I have ever received. While partying at the BroHaus last night I was put on to this devastating album. Killer Mike and El-P have done it again, yeap. Here they offer examples of crushing beats, über cranial lyrics, and the most unexpected and interesting guest spots of right now. And what do we pay for it? Run The Jewels 2 is absolutely free (if you want it to be). I would say more, but just listen…
Archive for El-P
Top 10 Albums (no particular order)
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, m.a.a.d. City
“Swimming Pools (Drank)”
Kendrick Lamar has the Outkast factor. I can listen to his songs, intently focusing on the lyrics while getting lost in the scenes he vividly describes, or I can zone out, not pay attention to what he’s saying and dance to the beat while singing along with the incredibly infectious hooks. GKMC feels like 3 Stacks and Big Boi rolling through Compton with Caine and O-Dog from Menace II Society.
Standout Tracks: Money Trees, Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, The Art of Peer Pressure, Swimming Pools (Drank), The Recipe Continue reading
The Fineline as a venue was nothing short of amazing for an intimate hip-hop show, with a very ‘live’ crowd and even more amped performers. Impressively done, I say. Go see these acts.
I heard about El-P at the fineline about a month ago and right away I knew I needed tickets. The Fineline is, in looks, similar inside to First Ave, but a mite smaller. The best part, I got to see some really great performers for $17.50, however drinks were not cheap. The show was Amazing, here’s how it went…
Despot: Was a highlight act of the night, and was the opener? Surprise, this guy was on point. Despot came on in great fashion. His message was upbeat and he came on as very comedic, and crowd oriented. He even managed to incorporate some aerobic into his set, getting the crowd involved with some Despot (Simon) Says action. The pace of the show was set early on, and only built from Despot. Despot’s DJ resembled MF Doom in appearance and did a very good job of keeping the beats solid and crisp. I had heard of Despot by name, but I had not heard any of his music, not surprisingly because he has yet to release an album, which I now highly anticipate. Expressing that he might release an album soon, or possibly never, jokingly. Let’s hope he does. Despot came across as energetic, lyrically mastered, and was really cool to chat with after the show. He also sold some pretty “genius” merch, which he designed and touted on stage. This guy has charisma and a lyricists appeal.
The crowd at this time was great, but intensified nearing the main stage for the main acts. I found a spot left of center, right where the artists walked on. This was a great spot. I highly recommend this location at a show. Constant high-fives from your favorite artists. I was not too crowded out, only a little by some other individuals in search of my awesome spot, a few beautiful women in fine attire, and some hip-hop heads talking hip-hop. Go figure. I was there to enjoy the show, and did so effortlessly.
At this time an act came on of which I had never heard before (Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire) and brought the energy up a notch. Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire came out, one wearing a ski-mask and the other dressed like a G, looking hard and sounding hard. There beats were banging’. I think at one time someone’s hat got snatched, thrown on stage and adorned by Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire himself. The crowd got even more amped and the performers fed off this accordingly. By the time Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire got off I was completely and utterly ready to see El-P. I was ecstatic, and moderately buzzed from some beers. Killer Mike was up next.
This is right before Killer Mike gets on stage-I think I see El-P standing to my left, right next to Aaron and the crowd is going nuts. Again, I am close enough to one of my favorite artists to realize how incredible the Minneapolis music scene is. There is a lot of closeness in the hip-hop world up here. Grateful for the many supporters and artists in the locale. Maybe, if you get the chance, come up and take in the surroundings as much as you can. Even if you miss something you will still get an eyeful. This city is extensively invested and immersed in the local music scene. Its a cycle of good acts.
Killer Mike is huge and on top of his game. His message was positive and his music was produced amazingly (his new album mostly by El-P), his lyrics were well put together and made me want to party. The crowd got super rowdy for his set. Believe in your dreams and anything can happen, were the main ideas of his send off. I was inspired. Killer Mike killed the set and really got everyone warmed up for El-P.
Finally, El-P, what can I say? I am a huge fan, I love his music, he is a production virtuoso and his lyrics make me wish I could write music of such a caliber. I at the very least envy his delivery, with confidence and conviction, and approach to mind expanding ideas. Dude tells it how it is. This is the first El-P show I have been to and I was not disappointed. He gave 110% and kept the crowd happy.
El-P is solid on his game, doing what he loves and it shows. His attitude was business and party, he was a crowd pleaser from word one on the mic. Slug came on stage brandishing a stuffed animal (Killum*) from the Full Retard video, which was pretty sweet. Before he did his set he came on stage numerous times and pumped up the crowd, most of the time carrying a bottle of Grey Goose. A preview of what was to come, you might say. The crowd was out of control when El-Producto jumped on stage. He claimed he was doing Cancer4 Cure in its entirety from front to back, and he made it happen. By the time he did songs from Fantastic Damage I was completely sated. The show was great, if you didn’t get a ticket and you are an El-P fan you missed a very impressive show.
After the show at Pizza Luce, we noticed we left our credit cards at the bar and had to go back and pick them up. We got inside and pretty much were able to chat with all of the acts, I even got into a one on one conversation with Tony Bones about hip-hop in Minneapolis, about Prof and other musically inclined people from South (MPLS). Got to see El-P again, running around with the stuffed animal (Killum*), saw him run down the street towards downtown and then we left.
Hands down this was one of my favorite shows. For price and venue, it couldn’t have been better. The crowd (full of a lot of local celebs) was great and all of the artists put on a top tier show with little to zero snags throughout. Check them out if you can. If I could have had one more thing I would have asked that Slug do a song with El-P, but the show was excellent sans. I approve of the Fineline for any show, this was some great stuff. If you get the chance to catch these acts, do so, you will not regret it. Tell your friends.
Photos by Terry Scott
*Thanks Aaron for the correction on the name. (“El-P(‘s) stuffed animal is the Killum, not a muppet bro.”)
Something with El-P on production? Yes, I am down. Killer Mike, Bun B, T.I. & amp; Trouble, have gotten together with one of my favorite producers/rapper of the underground hip-hop scene (El-P) to create some music for the masses. It is truly an interesting day when mainstream artists can collaborate with an underground king-pin such as El-p. This has been done by artists before, but not to this extent in this music setting. I am a fan of heavy beats, catchy samples, and nice word flow, and this song has it all, minus the fluff and hype.
“Hell Yeah” by dead prez is a prime example of collaborations of a different variety of stars from different sub-sets from different music styles. I enjoyed that song when I first heard it; I was sort of surprised by the talent on the track. It is amazing seeing artists reach out to different genres and music classes to create good music. When the mainstream is lacking in talent, it is no surprise that they turn to true artists who still remain underground. The underground scene has an abundance of creativity and a lack of ego, for the most part. When artists like this come together they either come together, or they don’t come together. This collaboration, and variety of artists fits nicely.
El-P is off the hook with his samples, and his jumpy anxious style beats. It may not be traditional, but it is in your face and effective.
This song is the first song released off of Killer Mike and El-P’s R.A.P. music album. They did an album together, Holy Shit! No surprise something interesting from El-p, no surprise a classic formula for good music was utilized to create this raw sound. One can appreciate the classic bumping hip-hop sound, this beat makes you want to get on your feet. I feel like I am listening to N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton again for the first time, when considering the beats and cuts within this track I am reminded of how hip-hop started and what it first sounded like.
When El-p is on production you can expect something different banging and original, as a classically trained jazz musician he is super solid on his sound. When you add the grit-grimy sound of the Southern flow, and the mainstream aspect of Killer Mike, Bun B, T.I. you get something extremely out of the ordinary, but also groundbreaking in the respective mainstream. Hearing this makes me wonder what the album will sound like. I am excited to hear more.
If 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. El-p’s sound is easily recognizable, and his collaborations are extensive. He is a Beat Vet in my eyes.
All these serious cats together, its enough to make a hip-hop head smile. It is a good day when it sounds smooth like butter and the lines that were are only a blur. I can appreciate a champion putting out solid music to bob our heads to, but a motley crew of sorts and I am pumped.
To better and more diverse collaborations all around. Cheers!
Tim’s Side Note: As Terry said, El-P and Killer Mike are going to be doing a full-length LP together, and I’ve known this for a while, but I had no idea what the outcome would sound like; this just might be my favorite track so far this year. The beat reminds me of a mixture that El-P arrived at from using a formula that combines Fantastic Damage & I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. I can not wait for this album to hit shelves.
My favorite line and an instant Hip-Hop quotable from Bun B: “When you step out on the Ave, make sure they wanna see ya/cuz being Trill is an onomatopoeia.”
Download: Killer Mike, “Big Beast” (Feat. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble) (Prod. By El-P)
It’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. Continue reading
If you haven’t been paying attention to the beef-radar lately, Vast Aire released a diss track towards Cage and the rest of Def Jux. All of this rivalry going on has to do with the unfortunate passing of Camu Tao. Cage outed Vast very harshly about how his relations really stood with Camu, and this track apparently was Vast’s response. It really saddens me to see all this bullshit beef going on in the Hip-Hop community, it’s really the last thing that we need right now.
On a related side note, I got an e-mail on my Blackberry last night about El-P’s newest blog post on MySpace. It is pretty much all about Vast and the whole Camu situation, and if you have a moment to spare I would highly recommend you check it out here.
Download: Vast Aire, “Battle of the Planets” (Feat. Genisis)
Spotted @ 2DopeBoyz
As you can see by the picture I look like I am in a great mood. That’s because I was outstandingly over-joyed all day on Saturday in Shakopee, MN at Soundset 2009. I really couldn’t have asked for much more the entire day. My camera died roughly an hour and a half into the show (thanks to Erik for the pictures as well as other people on Flickr) and I ended up looking like a lobster from sunburn, but it was all worth it to be at this show. Even though this show was on the first weekend of summer, I can guarantee that this show will be the highlight of my entire summer.
The first show of the day I went to was I Self Devine who I was not super familiar with, but knew some of his background. I have to admit that I was very impressed by his performance and I can’t wait until his new album drops on RSE later this year. He had a lot of energy on stage, which in my opinion is absolutely key when it comes to an all day Hip-Hop festival.
Blueprint was next, and boy was I in for one hell of a surprise. I am probably one of the biggest Soul Position fans there is, and when I found out Rjd2 wasn’t coming I was a little disappointed. Let me tell you that Rj not being there made no difference whatsoever. Blueprint went on stage at Soundset and completely ripped the microphone to shreds going through tracks like “1988” & “Tramp”. My favorite part of his set, though, was when he busted out “Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Rock-N-Roll” from the Soul Position album Things Go Better With RJ & Al. After seeing Blueprint at Soundset, I look forward to seeing Print no matter who he performs with.
The next show I saw was Abstract Rude (who brought along Aceyalone & Myka 9) who I’ve been trying to get into lately. He put on a pretty good show, and when Aceyalone & Myka 9 hit the stage the energy really started to rise. These 3 guys together are a great group and it shows they are all highly influenced by each other when they are together.
Before this show, I had been waiting about 4 years to see Eyedea & Abilities. I missed them at last year’s Soundset and hand’t been able to make it to Minneapolis for a show when there was another opportunity. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to this show. The dynamic between these two is absolutely amazing and seeing them play classic cuts like “Star Destroyer”, “E&A Day”, as well as cuts off of the upcoming album By The Throat was nothing short of fantastic. It was also great seeing Eyedea give the stage to DJ Abilities so that he could display his amazing techniques on the wheels of steel.
Immortal Technique is another guy that I was really looking forward to seeing live. I had heard so many good things from people that had seen him. I would have to say that Immortal Technique probably emitted the most energy out of anybody on stage the entire day of Soundset. Hearing Tech spit songs like “Point Of No Return”, “Industrial Revolution”, “Obnoxious” & other classics was incredible, not to mention that his speeches to the crowd made me (and probably others) feel like fucking some shit up. I feel like chances are, everytime this guy performs, everyone in the crowd walks away moved by his highly emotional & energetic performances. Immortal Technique is someone that everyone should see once in their life.
With the bar already set very high, the show kept moving. Hometown hero P.O.S. was next to perform on the mic and he put on a great show with local DJ Plain Ole Bill (who if I do say so myself, is a great DJ). He performed some of the great cuts off of his new album Never Better such as “Let It Rattle”, “Goodbye”, “Savion Glover” & “Optimist”. He also performed one of my favorite tracks off of Audition, “P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life” while telling the crowd to sing as loud as they could for his mother. The highlight of Stef’s set however (as Erik mentioned in his post) was “Low Light Low Life” when he brought out Dessa & Sims of Doomtree to bring their verses to life onstage.
Since I missed most of Sage Francis due to the fact that my face was already hotter than the sun from sunburn, El-P (with TMQ & Mr. Dibbs) was the next show that I was able to catch. I’ve seen El-P once before already and I knew that he was going to put on a great show for the crowd, but I had no idea it would be this good. He started out his set with my favorite track “Tasmanian Pain Coaster” off of his most recent album I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, which may have been the loudest performance of the day. He then continued through more of his catalogue: “Smithereens”, “Overly Dramatic Truth”, “Deep Space 9mm” & etc. At the end of his set he reminded us all of Camu Tao, who had passed away one year previously due to a fight with lung cancer. All I can say is Camu would have loved to have been there. The most amazing part, however, was when Mr. Dibbs took over on the turntables with his baby head routine that I had seen once previously. Dibbs stole the show with his turntable antics.
After El-P came Freeway & Jake One. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from these guys, but I didn’t know it would be this good. Freeway went through some tracks from the Rocafella days as well as tracks he was featured on from Jake One’s White Van Music. They also decided to bust out some new material from their upcoming Rhymesayer’s release The Stimulus Package. Let me tell you right now, The Stimulus Package is an album you are not going to want to sleep on people. These two have some really fucking good chemistry.
We actually left this set a little bit early so we could catch Southern favorites, CunninLynguists. We got over to the Fifth Element Stage to catch Cunnin’, and immediately I get a message from Erik saying “DOOM is a no show”. I started laughing hysterically and blazed what seemed like my third or fourth joint of the day because I knew I was about to see one of the best shows of the entire day. I was right in every aspect because Kno, Natti & Deacon fucking tore up the Fifth Element stage. All three of them have so much energy with the stage, and at the same time they are so interactive with the crowd. They went through a diverse set from their catalog: “Old School”, “KKKY”, “The South” and more. I can tell you that I honestly didn’t want the show to end at all. I look forward to seeing these guys many times in the future.
After the CunninLynguists set, we were actually able to catch about half of the Brother Ali/BK One set because they got pushed up. I’ve seen Brother Ali a few times and I know that he puts on an amazing show. I was able to catch the tracks “Good Lord” & “Forest Whitiker” and Ali was on top form with these tracks. Ali is one of those guys that just has a persona about him, his aura just emanates off of the stage and everyone absorbs it. He really puts on a great show no matter when you see him.
While I was watching Brother Ali, I got a tweet from Rhymesayers that DOOM was in the house. I was a bit apprehensive at first because of all of the bullshit that this guy has pulled in the past. It literally took (the first) DOOM what seemed like 30 minutes to take the stage. I was literally getting pissed, but then I heard the “Benzie Box” beat and my head started to nod immediately. After the first track there was some typical bullshit going down on stage, making it look like DOOM had to leave the show. Just when you though it was over… the real DOOM took the stage and went through a decent amount of his catalog. “Gazillion Ear” in my opinion was definitely the highlight for me, nothing like hearing DOOM over a Dilla beat, especially live. I have to say though, I agree with my man Aaron & the homie Blueprint… DOOM’s show kinda blows, I’d rather hear him on an album. I understand that DOOM has a certain nostalgia about him and that’s what a lot of people love about him, I just don’t buy into it. PLEASE do not take this as me dissing DOOM, he makes incredible music, he’s just an average performer.
The Pharcyde was something that I was definitely looking forward to a great deal. They were insanely pivotal to the West Coast scene and they re-united for this show. I’m not up on their catalog as much as I should be, but they rocked the shit out of the main stage. I would say they were definitely one of the top acts of the day. It seemed like everyone in the crowd was feeling them. They started things off with the classic “Runnin'” and continued down the line with classics one every song they performed. They even broke down into the classic Slum Village track “Raise It Up” in memory of their late friend J Dilla. As mentioned in the top picture of my post, I went absolutely nuts because I fucking love Jay Dee.
It seemed like the day was about over, but no Soundset would be complete without hometown favorites Slug & Ant. These two were arguably the crowds favorite, and I would put money on over half of the people being there just to see them. They went through your pretty typical array of Atmosphere songs, “Godlovesugly”, “Shoulda Known”, “Trying To Find a Balance”, “Sunshine” & etc. They finished with the fan-favorite-karaoke-jam “Always Coming Back Home To You” with the vast majority of the crowd singing along with Slug. These two really know how to put on a show for a hometown crowd with no disappointment what so ever.
Soundset 2009 is one of the best musical experiences I have ever had. It was everything I could have asked for and more. Rhymesayers Entertainment knows how to throw one hell of a Hip-Hop festival, and I can guarantee you I will be on tickets right away for the next Soundset. Make sure you watch out the rest of this year, Rhymesayers has some big things coming up and I know you won’t want to miss them. I know you are probably sick of me rambling on about this show so I will end the post now, hopefully you enjoyed reading about my experience half as much I enjoyed writing about it.