El-P – “Tuned Mass Damper”

I’ve been listening to Def Jux ever since I first started getting into hip-hop, and as such, their roster contains some of my favorite rappers (label founder El-P, Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox, etc…..as well as the instrumental work of RJD2’s first two albums). Lately I’ve had a major resurgence, and I’ve especially been spending a lot of time with El-P’s incredible 2002 album Fantastic Damage. His only proper studio album since then is 2007’s I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, and interesting and sometimes-thrilling album that engages in some surprising experiments (a feature from Trent Reznor makes strange sense, but…The Mars Volta? Cat Power?) but doesn’t quite live up to the glory of Damage.

As you may know, he recently put Def Jux on indefinite hiatus, and while this is tragic, maybe it means he’ll have the time to make some music and send it our way soon. Dude has what I’d almost call an iconoclastic approach to beatmaking and rapping, mining the same strain of intense, gritty sounds and abstract, verbose, oft-political lyrics for most of his career. But I still haven’t gotten tired of it–his insane “Death Mix” of Justin Bieber’s “Baby” landed in my 100 Best Songs of the Year.

“Tuned Mass Damper” is a great example of his style if you’re not familiar with it–an aggressive beat that still manages to be catchy and melodic, and a barrage of shouted rhymes. It’s one of the Damage cuts that I’ve played the most incessantly lately.

El-P – “Tuned Mass Damper”


~ by toren on January 12, 2011.

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