In truth, part of me wants to be like, “Yo, El, why don't you just chill out, smoke a blunt, take a deep breath, even if it's not going to be okay, why don't you just pretend that it will.” I'm sure by now the guy's been told this one or two or 34,566 times. Yeah, the oeuvre might be a razor's-edge from being gimmicky and yeah, at this point, it seems like there's no piece of smooth sleek vinyl that El-P couldn't apocalyptically contort, no sunny personality he couldn't turn dyspeptic. It's a lot to listen to regularly, but ultimately, it's none of my fucking business. Artists should be artists and regardless of whether you love or hate the guy, it's difficult to deny that his paranoid, neo-Bomb Squad wall of sound is as innovative as anyone in hip-hop, 2008. *
Currently, barnstorming the country with Dizzee Rascal, Kidz in the Hall and Busdriver on the Stuff White People Like Tour 2008, the Def Jux chieftain has been peddling the next installment of his limited edition 500-only Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixx 2. The record sounds how you'd think it would sound. Think My Life in the Bush of Ghosts but done by someone convinced the Nazis could kick down the door at any moment. Maybe less original than the canonized Eno/Byrne collaboration, but no less awesome and either way, I'll take this over a dude freestyling over the beat to “Xxplosive” anyday. (though Crooked I, pretty much killed Week 30).
Split between instrumentals, remixed tracks and original raps from El Producto, “Mike Douglas” stands out as my favorite of the bunch, with its savage uppercut at white music journalists who apparently play apologist for crack rap. (Who knew?) I'm not going to play the transcribe game, but it's either this or Elzhi's “Motown 25” for my pick this for the month's imaginary Hip Hop Quotable. If you aren't a fan, I don't see something called Theweareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixx 2 convincing you to join the Def Jux fan club**, but if you are, it will inevitably be vital for the next time you decide to have your next Blade Runner party. I call Edward James Olmos.
*Correct answers can also include Madlib, Black Milk and one or two others I'm probably forgetting. Answering Timbaland results in 10-year purgatory where you are forced to listen to Madonna's Hard Candy ad infinitum.
**Admission to the Def Jux fan club includes free Mr. Lif-inspired wigs and a chance to Win a Date with Rob Sonic.
Stream tracks at El-P's Myspace