October 19, 2007
Music Hall of Williamsburg
The worst kept secret in the NYC’s indie hip-hop world last week was that iconic ’90s underground rap group Company Flow would be reuniting on Friday (Octover 19). The group—originally comprised of rapper/producers El-P and Bigg Jus and DJ Mr. Len—broke up in 2000 after leaving Rawkus Records, the seminal underground hip-hop label who released their only album, Funcrusher Plus, in 1997. While El-P went on to find independent success as a solo artist and for his new label Definitive Jux, the other members have been largely missing in action since the breakup.
While Friday’s CMJ showcase at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg was all about the Def Jux roster, fans sat through El-P’s solo set with an air of anticipation. “I wouldn’t go anywhere if I were you,” he said after performing his last song. Next, El-P emerged with Bigg Jus (now sporting long dreads) in tow. “We’re going to try to do this,” he said as the opening notes of “Bad Touch Example” thumped from the speaker.
When the set began, it became clear that this was only a partial reunion—DJ Mr. Len was nowhere to be found. Nonetheless, the duo ran through a number of the crew’s popular cuts, including “The Fire In Which You Burn,” “Population Control” and “8 Steps To Perfection.” Their rapid fire flows and sinister beats were still rugged like Rwanda, but the crowd seemed less familiar with most of the tracks when compared to the reaction El-P’s earlier solo set received. It was most telling that the Company Flow song that received the biggest crowd response was “Vital Nerve,” a track that features vocals from only El-P. The partial reunion was somewhat anti-climactic, but it could in fact be a good rehearsal for the group’s rumored plans to record new material and re-release Funcrusher Plus next year.