El-P - Fantastic Damage

We truly hope time will prove us wrong. But for the time being, the major piece by the man who originated hip-hop as we view it, the man without whom this webzine would probably not even exist, has nothing fantastic, and the damage has been (probably too much) controlled.

El-P - Fantastic Damage

Def Jux :: 2002 :: buy this record

What happened ?

Did we expect so much from this album that whatever the result, we would have been disappointed ? Did we grant too much trust to El-P’s unreasonable promises, when, badly teasing us, he affirmed having kept his wildest instrumentals for his solo album ? Is it this steady, exhausting, wearing musical steamroller, that at the end of the day is nothing but vain ? Is it this desperate attempt to re-endeavour and brush the cobwebs away from the explosive sound of the Bomb Squad, ten years later, using rock guitars ("Stepfather Factory") and insane beats we deplore ? Is it this use of high-sounding ammunition that is finally not as modern, creative or inspired as we would have wanted it ?

Is it the author whose brainwave is finished, and now he can deliver nothing but a mix of Funcrusher Plus (for the raw finery, and the re-assertion of "independent as fuck" party), Little Johnny From The Hospital (for the distorted sound) and The Cold Vein (for the grandiloquence and the flight of instrumentals) ? Is it due to the well-proven discoveries of these albums that recur along this Fantastic Damage, which now sound like an all-purpose recipe ? Is it El-P’s inability to overstep and renew his masterpieces ?

Is it El-P’s exhausting omnipresence as an emcee, even if he has never mastered his rapping skills as well as his talent for production ? The instrumental-only parts of the album are much better than those with rap, aren’t they ? And even there, isn’t it rather thanks to DJ Abilities’ turntables performances than to El-P’s own work ? Moreover, wouldn’t you say that Aesop Rock does easily outshine his mate on "Delorean" ?

Is it this faithfulness to outdated rap devices ? Is it this stubbornness to root his life down in hip-hop (‘Squeegee Man’) and describe the traumatisms that ensue ("Stepfather Factory", "Constellation Funk") sounding like a angry young rapping man ? Is El-P already caricaturing his own work, as most cult artists end up doing ? Is it his admitted pledge of allegiance of a circumspect futuristic b-boy in front of the abstract way some others took ? Is he now the hip-hop Dr. Frankenstein, as the creatures he helped shape and unleash when he was a member of Co-Flow are now out of control ?

Whatever the causes or the reasons maybe, no matter if they were expressed in the questions rightfully or wrongfully asked above, we are disappointed by Fantastic Damage. Don’t be mistaken, this is not a bad album. It is quite agreeable, sometimes interesting, and even if you can get slightly bored, there’s nothing ruling the album out altogether. But we obviously won’t put it next to Funcrusher Plus, Little Johnny and The Cold Vein at the top scale of the pantheon of hip-hop.

We truly hope time will prove us wrong. But for the time being, the major piece by the man who originated hip-hop as we view it, the man without whom this webzine would probably not even exist, has nothing fantastic, and the damage has been (probably too much) controlled.

Translated by Gnusball

Rate this entry

0/5

  • Note: 0
  • Votes: 0
  • Higher: 0
  • Lower: 0

You may also like

  • MACH-HOMMY - Pray For Haiti MACH-HOMMY - Pray For Haiti
  • DEVIN THE DUDE - Soulful Distance DEVIN THE DUDE - Soulful Distance
  • GANGSTA BOO & LA CHAT - Witch GANGSTA BOO & LA CHAT - Witch
  • SAMEER AHMAD - Apaches SAMEER AHMAD - Apaches
  • POLO G - Die a Legend POLO G - Die a Legend
  • AZJAH - Princess Diaries AZJAH - Princess Diaries
  • BILLY WOODS & KENNY SEGAL - Hiding Places BILLY WOODS & KENNY SEGAL - Hiding Places
  • LIL DEBBIE - Debbie, avr. 2020 LIL DEBBIE - Debbie

Add a comment

Comments can be formatted using a simple wiki syntax.