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The New York-based rapper Vast Aire first appeared on the East Coast's underground hip-hop scene as part of the Atoms Family collective in the late '90s, but he gained wider attention as one half of the duo Cannibal Ox alongside Vordul Megilah. In collaboration with producer El-P (also the head of their label, Definitive Jux Records), the quirky duo debuted with 2001's The Cold Vein. This album's mixture of hard beats, gritty street rhyming, and woozy, nearly psychedelic textures earned comparisons both to Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest, a tribute to the duo's ability to integrate opposing influences. Although Cannibal Ox never officially split up, Vast Aire soon turned his attention to his solo career beginning with a self-distributed mixtape entitled Dirty Magazine. His proper solo debut, 2004's Look Mom... No Hands, featured guest appearances by Megilah, Madlib, MF Doom, and Aesop Rock, among others. In contrast, Vast Aire's second solo album, 2005's The Best Damn Rap Show, gave co-credit to producer Mighty Mi but otherwise lacked the presence of guest stars. Its release was followed by the reappearance of Cannibal Ox with 2005's Return of the Ox, a live album recorded at the CMJ Music Marathon, and Deuces Wild saw Vast Aire returning to the solo game in 2008. Collaborating with rappers like Raekwon and Guilty Simpson, the rapper follwed up with Ox 2010: A Street Odyssey in 2011. ~ Stewart Mason