Let’s say that the previous albums in El-P’s Megamixxx series were like a kick in the head, but the tracklist was disjointed and the cuts seemed haphazardly arranged. “Here you have some songs that I had in my trunk, to keep you from getting too hungry.” No problem. The thing is that El Producto isn’t the classic artist treated like a god who turns bourgeois just because—there’s a reason why the guy has lasted 20 years in the rap game with his respect levels intact, without ever having given in to the industry or to fashions. This is why in this “Weareallgointoburninhell megamixxx 3” you can see a clear evolution as far as the album concept goes. The stakes have been raised. This former Company Flow soldier has managed to elevate the testing of his new instrumental adventures, giving them a start, a knot, and an ending, both as a whole, and within the different pieces that make up this M-16 loaded with mass destruction napalm and funk. You can see a greater elaboration of the film’s script, an effort to lay out the pieces in a plot line that draws the listener into it, and a dramatic progression in each and every one of the songs.
I’ve already read in various places that the album that we’re discussing (and yes, this time we can consider it an album, not a collection of outtakes) owes a great deal to J.Dilla’s “Donuts.” Anyway, no one should think that El-P has decided to imitate the futuristic jazz-funk patching of the master from Detroit. The founder of the failed Def Jux record label has stated that the inspiration is due more to the idea of producing cuts that get to the point, without filler, without minutes of rubbish: to not bore listeners, as many instrumental albums do. Dilla’s musical influence, as far as I can see, is minimal— it’s enough for El-P to breathe life into his particular world of hip hop anxiety to get the engines roaring; musically he and he alone is his only master.
There is no place here for anyone seeking subtlety, cosmic landscapes, or avant-garde hip-folk. We are looking at a shadowy painting full of flies and viscous insects, a torture mask that doesn’t let you breathe and perforates your eyeballs with rusty nails: distortions that test the limits of our audio equipment’s basses, fat rhythms with the taste of putrid electro, angry melodies taken from a gory movie, lo-fi keyboards that seem to be composed for a black mass with Vangelis and Jan Hammer on the sacrificial altar. In this time of electronic mutation for instrumental hip hop, now that the digital sophistication of Los Angeles seems to set the pace of the marathon, it is nice to find such an overwhelmingly orthodox collection of beats, one that is so in your face, so direct, so baroque, so noisy, and so gothic.
El-P once more resorts to progressive rock to toughen up the calluses on his sound and to give the concoction a retro grease that makes his universe something unique. The satanic riff of “I Got this” and the Black Sabbath-style guitars of “Secret Police Man’s Ball” hit you savagely and make your headphones crackle until they bleed. And he clings to the apocalyptic component of diabolical heavy metal to give it the extra dose of bad vibes that his more toxic, most rabidly funky cuts require. I’m talking about the remix of “Driving down the Block” by Kidz In The Hall—for me it’s the best instrumental bass of 2010. I’m also talking about “Whores: The Movie”, with its electronic effects, the riff, the sirens, wow! And “Time Won’t Tell”, a work of hardcore craftsmanship that could perfectly well be among the best songs of The Glitch Mob, if the LA trio had signed up Darth Maul as a beatmaker. El-P plays more and more with synthesisers and enriches his own particular hell with keyboards that cause diarrhoea. His ability as a one-man orchestra even allows him to devour the dubstep style manual and reinvent the genre of the terrifying “Honda Redux”, or to make Squarepusher and the like wet themselves with the salad of lycanthrope drum’n’bass of “Drunk with a Loaded Pistol”. Jaime Meline is the Devil’s son, there’s no more doubt about it, and he has given us the fanfare of the Apocalypse. That’s it, the time that this exciting album lasts is exactly the time that humanity has left to live. Take my hand and don’t look down: what El-P shows us is scary stuff. Óscar Broc
El-P - Whoress: The MovieEl-P - I Got This (EL-P Remix) Redux [Instrumnetal]