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Collecting the Kid

EL-P

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Album Review

Gathering El-P's whims and whatnots, Collecting the Kid is a surprisingly purposeful full-length that hangs together despite its pedigree. Instrumentals that were rejected by rappers, raw tracks that haven't found a home, and bits of El-P's soundtrack to the Bomb the System film are the three main sources for these moody sounds, but only the revolving door of more guests than usual hints these cinematic tones are orphans. Maybe it's the arc of the album, which starts with a building tidal wave of sound and ends on a sleepy track from Central Services — El-P's group with Camu Tao from S.A. Smash. More likely, it's the fact El-P is starting to balance his instrumental albums, where the music wanders, with his rap albums, where things are more to the point. "Telemundo" is the two-worlds-in-one track with the help of film dialogue and a changing song structure that resembles a suite. The throbbing bass on "Constellation" verifies the producer's Can influence while the man himself gives props to Art of Noise in the liner notes. These insights into the man's taste outside of rap are interesting, and you could call this El-P's least hip-hop album if it weren't for the jazz-based High Water. Of course, Matthew Shipp curated that album and this is El-P on his own, just doodling. That he's in no hurry to grab the mic again is a disappointment for some, but the lyric-filled "Jukie Skate Rock" should satisfy with Camu Tao and Big Wiz throwing it back to a time the dancefloor was filled with Buffalo Gals. The soundtrack work and hanging with the jazzers has left an impression on the producer. His work here is more concerned with feel and groove and less worried about being on point and revolutionary. He won't change the world by drifting off into the atmospheric ether this often, but if this is a sketchy blueprint for what Fantastic Damage's true follow-up will sound like, watch out.

Biography

Born: 02 March 1975 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

El-P, aka El Producto, is one of hip-hop's most obstinate and adventurous pioneers, combining a lo-fi old-school aesthetic with a progressive rock musician's inclination to push boundaries. He has never succumbed to the demands of corporate rap, instead choosing to pursue his own decidedly non-commercial direction. In the mid-'90s, he developed a strong reputation with the groundbreaking trio Company Flow, a band whose achievements include El-P-produced LP Funcrusher Plus on Rawkus Records, a label...
Full bio
Collecting the Kid, EL-P
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