It’s been a little while since we’ve heard much from El-P, not since the incredible full-length “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” shortly after his record label, Def Jux, which changed the landscape of subterraneous hip hop, went on an indefinite hiatus. This has proved to only be the calm before the storm as 2012 sees the release of his newest record, “Cancer 4 Cure,” the entirely El-P produced album “R.A.P. Music” from Killer Mike, and a handful of reunion shows with his old group Company Flow.
So was this all just an elaborate plan to wet our appetite before hitting us with two massive albums at once? “No, it really wasn’t” says El-P, who’s reportedly muddy after a long walk. “It really took me by surprise, I thought that my album would come out much later. But it just sort of happened that way, the label was like ‘let’s put it out’.”
Said label is Fat Possum Records, which originally focused on Mississippi blues artists, but recently has been expanding past such artists. When asked what it’s like not being his own boss anymore, El-P sounds almost relieved.
“Honestly, truth be told, (it’s) fucking great. It’s really cool to be able to just do what I do. Not (to) worry about all the other bullshit that comes with putting a record out, that isn’t that fun to do. It’s been good man, I’ve been enjoying it.”
A new collaborative partner and friend was found in Killer Mike, but that wasn’t always the plan either. “I didn’t think I was going to do the whole record I thought I was just going to do some of it, ‘cause I was working on my record you know. We had such a good time and the music was coming out so good after one week of working together that they asked me to do the full album again, and I was like, I’m tentative but they kept asking me and I was like, ‘Fuck it. Let’s do it.’”
Regarding old friends, he does hint that there is the potential for a bit of new Company Flow, or at least that they’ll try. “We will probably sit down and try to do some music, but if we don’t feel like the magic is there, no one will hear it. But if it’s there then yeah, fuck it.”
Although El-P admits that he is not the type of person to listen to his own records every once in a while, he will check back to see where his mind was during a past album.
“It changes things, it interesting because when you have enough distance from it you can kind of listen with a fresh pair of ears…As people we kind of shift, we shed our psychological skin every…however many years, and we’re born again kind of. It’s interesting to have almost a psychological Rorschach test with records, in the form of albums. You wouldn’t be able to identify anything really except kind of having flashbacks, it’s a cool thing to do I just don’t do it much.”
By Jarret SitterBC, British Columbia