It came to my attention that I might not have put my quickie post on El-P the other day in proper historical context. So to wrap up a heavy week of hip-hop, I’ve got a little more.
El-P (short for El-Producto), who’s running the hot Definitive Jux label, first came on the scene in about the mid-90s with his group Company Flow, which included Bigg Jus and Mr. Len. The group pushed 30,000 copies of the original Funcrusher EP on its own, leading to a record deal with Rawkus. Co. Flow’s uncompromising style — “independent as f*ck” was their mantra — gave rise to the label Rawkus, which later went on to deals with Mos Def and Talib Kweli.
But Co. Flow’s Funcrusher Plus (released in 1997) was the foundation. It was harsh, confrontational and defiant — not for the faint of heart. El’s dark production underpinned the cerebral, in-your-face lyrics.
Rawkus’ desire to head for the mainstream led to a falling out with Co. Flow. El sums it up nicely on Deep Space 9mm on on his solo album Fantastic Damage:
“Signed by Rawkus? / I’d rather be mouthfu*ked by Nazis unconscious.”
Nevertheless, Funcrusher Plus is an underground necessity.
Company Flow: Collude/Intrude (feat. J-Treds)
Company Flow: Vital Nerve (feat. BMS)
Company Flow: Blind
Latyrx feat. El-P: Looking Over a City