From Company Flow to Cannibal Ox to his role as label honcho at Definitive Jux, El-P has had a hand in some of underground rap's more notable projects in the last 15 years. El Producto shows off his own musical plans, however, on his second solo release, I'll Sleep When You're Dead. A dark record with techno-symphonic swirling beats and rough-edged emceeing, the album is focused more on displaying and developing his immense abilities as a producer, intricately layering instruments and sounds, than on his rhymes. This ends up being a good thing for all involved, because the tracks on which the synths die down and the vocals are pushed to the forefront ("Drive," "The Overly Dramatic Truth") are among the weakest on the record. Instead, it's the ominous and churning production, inspired by the grime and industry of the big city, percussion-like hammers and churning trains, that illuminates El-P's most impressive skills. Even his songs with such non-rap artists as Trent Reznor and Cat Power which, under supervision of the less-talented, are often cheesy and disappointing maintain the level of quality and driving intensity that make El-P's work riveting, keeping him an influential force in hip hop for more than a decade.
Marisa Brown writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.