I spoke to EL-P around this past SXSW for an upcoming piece spanning his career from Co Flow to his latest, Cancer For Cure, and R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike (which he entirely produced). His approach has always certainly been against the grain but his progress as a producer can’t be overstated. Huge leaps are obvious between Funcrusher, Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead–and of course Fan Dam, his first solo record. All have cold, eerie templates but the latter are significantly more layered with a focus on structure (and overall just more explosive). Here’s a portion where we revisit his first joint, “Juvenile Technique”, a lo-fi number which samples an always great Bob James tune. Take a listen and read the full story in the upcoming Wax Poetics Magazine.
“I Feel A Song (In My Heart)” by Bob James ft. Patti Austin [CTI, 1975]
“Juvenile Technique (clean)” by Company Flow [Libra, 1994]
“I remember this being the first time I broke through and made something that I felt was presentable [laughs]. I was young then. I come from an era where people still don’t get to hear the first ten years of your music. Where as now, everyone can hear the first song anyone makes. This was the first song out of about fifty tracks that I thought finally sounded cool [laughs]. (Big) Juss wasn’t even in Co Flow yet and entered the picture later. We became friends when he ended up living in my apartment. He was working on his own shit so we said ‘lets just work on a project together’ and that’s kind of how the group started. This is Co Flow at the beginning when it was still just me and (Mr.) Len. This is us just trying to be different; just kids rapping our asses off and seeing what happens.” – EL-P