El-P Had the Underground on Smash

Just yesterday we were having a heated debate over here about producers and it got me reminiscing about my high school days, all the way back in the late 90s. Growing up in BK during that time period, if you were a hip-hop head, chances were you were fucking with Company Flow. You couldn’t go to Beat Street (R.I.P.) or Fat Beats without seeing their vinyl all over the walls. They undeniably had the underground (when that classification still existed) on smash, along with their fellow Rawkus label mates.

At the time El-P was one of my personal favorite producers. I might not have understood half of the shit he was spitting (and that’s being generous), but the beats… the beats were fucking retarded. You didn’t hear those sounds anywhere else. It was if someone was creating the soundtrack for this post-apocalyptic wasteland, in a fallout shelter at the end of the world somewhere, while the rest of the earth was still crumbling. Granted it was an acquired taste, but it was funky nonetheless.

Now that got me thinking that a lot of these young cats from the new generation probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Who the hell is this dude El-P, right? Well, while I haven’t really been feeling his work so much since he branched out into his whole Def Jux thing – which, to me, seems very isolated and separate from hip-hop as a whole — I think it’s important for y’all know to know that this kind of weird, different stuff is out there. So I’ve put together a little playlist of some of my favorite joints so you can get familiar. For those of you that do know, sit back and enjoy I know it’s been a minute. Like Rob the Music Ed says, file this under 100% certified bangers.

- Company Flow – “Simian Drugs” Featuring Ill Bill

- Company Flow – “Fire In Which You Burn” Featruring Breezly Brewin’ & J-Treds

- Company Flow – “Bee Aware”

- Cannibal Ox – “Pigeon” Instrumental

I have to say after revisiting El’s work it got me thinking about some of these newer producers. Tell me Jeezy wouldn’t sound amazing over a vintage EL Producto beat? (Shawty Redd definitely has a similar taste in synthesizers). Tell me Chuck Inglish’ of The Cool Kids’s style ain’t in the same vein?

What do y’all think? You feeling El? For you old school Co-Flow/ El-P fans, what’s some of your favorite joints? –Jesse Gissen

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  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    El-P [and Company Flow] is one of the most underrated of all time. I know he embraced the underground and he was embraced back, but it would’ve been nice to see him really get some spotlight.

  • The Southern Comfort

    I saw an El-P album instore the other day (this is in the uk!) and went home and bumped cage’s hell’s winter straight away. as you say, not to everyone’s taste and not exactly cheerful but he’s a craftsman and genuinely musical. Def Jux has a great roster, even Dizzee Rascal is on them in the states. great post man.

  • Rob the Music Ed

    yup Funcrusher Plus is a CLASSIC fuck what you heard.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Man I thought this was about Large Professor!

    Company was cool.

  • Gloveson

    That Bee Aware beat was used by Ja Rule for Bout My Business, only realised when i heard it there

  • The Hate

    “Growing up in BK during that time period, if you were a hip-hop head, chances were you were fucking with Company Flow.”


    “Growing up in BK during that time period, if you were a WHITE hip-hop head, chances were you were fucking with Company Flow.”

    • NotTheOne002


      White Boy Rap = Shit that sounds way out there, but if you don’t get it, you ain’t a true hip-hop head. Like they are better than those that don’t like that white boy rap.

      The Streets, Aesop Rock, Eyedea & Abilities, Sage Francis, etc.

  • Avenger XL

    Go find El-p and the Kids in the hall remix riding down the block. That ish is psycho. Every beat on that Can Ox Album was mad ill and I even dig his newer work I’ll sleep when your dead. But Fantastic Damage was too noise driven for me not enough melodies. I also Digged the Jimmy Choo remix he did for chester french.

  • http://myspace.com/atlatino404 El Tico Loco

    Wow that took me back. I actually liked Fantastic Damage it was noisy but it stood out to me same with the Can Ox joints. You need to post more blogs like this you know like some J zone (especially the instrumentals), or some Demigodz shit.

    • Lowedwn

      co-sign…especially on the Demigodz shit, Ryu, Apathy & Celph-Titled go hard and Cheapshot & Vin Skully are definitely in the same vein as the man El-P.

  • Monty B.

    “Patriotism” is my favorite by Company Flow.

    Not bad for a Ginger Kid!

  • http://www.plasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

    - that shit he produced off of del’s “both sides of the brain”, “offspring”. that beat is so crazy.
    - “dead disnee”
    - “flyentology”
    - can ox- “iron galaxy”

  • John Cauner

    Blind, Tradegy Of War In III Parts, 8 Steps(Lost Mix), Info Kill, Population Control, Vital Nerve, Eight Steps To Perfection, End To End Burners, Krazy Kings Too, Patriotism, DPA(as seen on T.V.), Simian D AKA Feeling Ignorant(ft. Ill Bill), Simple-Company Flow. Nightwork ft. & produced by El-P-Cyclops 4000(Sir Menelik). Weight, Mucho Stereo-Indelible’s(Co-Flow, J Treds, Juggaknots) produced by El-P. Looking Over A City ft. & produced by El-P-Latyrx. Offspring ft. and produced by El-P-Del the Funkee Homosapien. Iron Galaxy, Straight Off the D.I.C., The F Word, Life’s Ill, Metal Gear-Cannibal Ox produced by El-P. I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead(Album)-El-P.


    the “Bee Aware” song that beat i heard that before. awwwwww i remember the occult hymm ep that came out about the time the dangerdoom album. i think that is the beat to the sofa king remix

  • El Tico Loco

    Guess the backpackers have been sorted out. Good shit though keep educating. I like it when cats these see a little shine outside of late night college radio.

  • Freshman_Woes

    El has only gotten better. Check “Fantastic Damage” or “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead”!

    • RonTucker

      YES!!! I don’t know what the hell this guy’s talking about with the def jux is separate from hip hop shit. They’re separate because you fucks like this mag don’t give them any shine. And when you finally do, you post the old shit smh. Well thanks for trying.

      El-P – No Kings

  • Quan

    .. seeing El-P’s name on XXL period is a big suprise. . I knew they still had SOME good music in there! ..

  • Moving Sideways

    Late 90s El-p’s sound was, “More dusty than digital” then he started fucking with too much of the electronic gizmos and his sound got too noisy for everyday listening. I’ll check with his releases every time because he does push envelopes.

  • blaktwan

    the Cold Vein= best new millenium rap album!