By 1997, just when some feared that hip-hop was getting corrupted by its own success, "independent" and "alternative" had become buzz words. And no other claimed them louder than Company Flow. A product of New-York's underground, these self-produced and self-promoted rappers had created their own label, Official Recordings, and they targeted the music industry as the main enemy. And their slogan, a very definitive "independent as fuck", was everything but ambiguous.
The Cold Vein was the first important album released by Def Jux, and the first El-P, the label's founder, had entirely produced since Company Flow broke up. In addition, it had been heralded by two striking singles, "Iron Galaxy" and "Straight off the D.I.C.". Due to this, it had been expected with lots of hope and anxiety by the underground sphere. And it would not disappoint it. Actually, this record would be the very climax of the indie rap movement. By 2001, after lots of stirring in the shadows, this kind of hip-hop had finally reached a certain amount of visibility and interest, in the media. And music critics would love the first album of Cannibal Ox.
One thing is certain: after their mythical Funcrusher Plus, nothing could challenge the iconic status of Company Flow, in the hip-hop underground. Their next album, though, could have rattled it. Actually, just when the group was on its way to imposing its uncompromising kind of rap to a growing indie audience, it had chosen to come back with a more difficult album, even harsher and crazier than the previous one; and furthermore, it was purely instrumental. More loyal than ever to its motto, "independent as fuck", Co-Flow wasn't going the easy way.