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CANCER FOR CURE
LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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2012 album from the independent Rap icon. Cancer for Cure marks his first full length rap album since 2007's critically acclaimed I'll Sleep When Your Dead. The album takes another huge leap forward from the production work of his 2010 instrumental album. Weareallgoingtoburninhellmeggamixxx with a bombastic collision of synths, bottomless bass tones, live instrumentation, ear-worming melody, and tightly coiled drum patterns, setting the standard for hip hop production higher than ever. The obvious diversion from the previous album is the presence of El-P's ever-developing vocal style, continuing to raise the bar on his already highly verbose flow that swiftly and muscularly navigates a rapid fire explosion of syllabic conundrums and quick-witted elocutions full of heart, purpose, style, and grit. Rounded out by feature appearances by a host of high profile guests including Killer Mike, Danny Brown, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, Paul Banks, and more this will easily be one of the year's most talked about albums.
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+ As expected, he's only gotten better as a producer; so polished and creative. From a career perspective, he's now officially in the "All-Time Greatest Producers" conversation. Quality headphones are mandatory to catch all the little details and make for a fascinating listen.
+ Conversely, a few tracks are straight thumpers that'll destroy anything on FM dials. He will probably win a lot of new fans with the singles, especially the absolutely ripping "The Full Retard".
+ Lyrically he's refined everything about his delivery and sounds better than ever. Content-wise, some songs are pretty straightforward (easy to decipher and enjoy casually) while others are characteristically dense and demand dozens of listens to comprehend. A good balance: more accessible than ever, but also classic El.
- He's still no melody-maker. Aside from a couple of tracks, his dark and often chromatic synth lines aren't really gonna make you nod your head...though the beats probably will. This is 90% mood/street poet music, not sing-along party tunes (once again this is par for the course with him, but I was hoping he'd break his mold a bit more).
- The choruses/hooks are pretty weak for the most part, probably the most disappointing part of the album. El handles most of those vocals himself, which wouldn't have been so bad if he could write and/or sing melodies. At best, they're un-interesting. At worst, cringe-worthy. See "The Jig Is Up" or "For My Upstairs Neighbor"...
- The guest spots are underwhelming. Or to clarify, the guest verses on "Tougher Colder Killer" and "Oh Hail No" are great, particularly Killer Mike and Danny Brown, but the indie rocker spots on "Works Every Time" and "Stay Down" are disposable (without the liner notes, you wouldn't think that "Works Every Time" even has a guest at all). El's dense writing and monotone delivery can wear you down over an album, so it would've helped to have a couple more spots where both he and the listener could take a breather.
All that being said, it should be noted by prospective listeners that El-P and artists like him are on a whole 'nother level of substance compared to what's currently more popular (in my completely correct opinion). If you think of MTV or Billboard chart-toppers when you think of hip-hop, this isn't your scene. But to those who enjoy truly talented producers and thoughtful audio authors: Welcome home, baby.
Most recent customer reviews
Solid record & strong signature beats.
EL spits like you expect from him, course with deep flow, dope rhyme patterns, and biting social...Read more