Album: Fantastic Damage
Label: Def Jux
Rating: 1.5 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
El-P. The man, the myth, the legend. Or is he? Millions (and millions) of fans of Company Flow and the ‘old’ Rawkus Records would have you believe so. Or would that be hundreds (and hundreds) of fans of Company Flow and the ‘old’ Rawkus Records?
Oooo… MF is hating!
But wait, it’s not all hate. It can’t be denied that Co Flow changed independent music as we know it. It can’t be denied that El-P inspired a generation of MC’s to fit 34 non-rhyming words into one line in an effort to sound intelligent.
Am I still hating? Shit.
Ok, here’s a plus – El-P has assembled a nice roster of artists for his Def Jux label. Oops, Definite Jux label. I’ve even bought a few of their singles. And the Weathermen project looks dope, although to be honest, it seems like that’s more because of a couple of select members of the consortium.
But I digress.
El-P has left his baby. No longer in Company Flow, he’s decided to go the solo route, with this, his debut release on Def Jux, “Fantastic Damage”.
Now, usually I go into 7 page rants about albums, rating each song, giving a detailed breakdown. That shall not be the case with this LP.
There are exactly 3 tracks on this release worth listening to. That’s right. THREE. The rest is rubbish. Wanna know the lucky 3? ‘Squeegee Man Shooting’, ‘Dr. Hell No vs. The Praying Mantis’ and ‘Lazerface’. That’s it. All three have nice beats, distorted basslines, flows that are ON BEAT, and generally are supremely listenable. I’d even go so far as to say that an album full of stuff like those 3 tracks would be a 4 star release at least. So save your money, get these via whatever means you want, and bring Holy Water and a Cross with you whenever you pass “Fantastic Damage” in the record stores. Because the rest is absolutely crap. Nothing redeeming. Unless you think that pseudo-industrial beats and lyrics reminiscent of Cappadonna’s rejects are good hip hop. It all reeks of way too much thinking, way too much trying to be different, way too much trying to be smart. It’s not. It’s mechanical. And no matter how much one tries to sell it as being ‘innovative’, it’s nothing more than being abstract for the sake of being abstract. There’s no soul to the beats. Subjective? Yes.
And don’t even get me started on the lyrics and flow. At his best, El-P is barely bearable. At his worst? You’ll wish language wasn’t invented. There’s some sort of message in there… of that I’m sure. But why would anyone want to sit through the gibberish to decipher it?
Strongest recommendations to avoid.