Fantastic Damage
Record label: Definitive Jux
Format: 3xLP/CD
Release date: May 2002

What is there to say about El Producto that hasn't already been said? A crazy, genius innovator, one of the pioneers of the new independent movement, El-P has been playing by his own rules since Company Flow. His first solo release is no different. The album title is apt as this is the harshest sonic assault you'll ever hear on one rap full-length. Trust me, that's a good thing. Per his signature style, El-P fuses the old rap aesthetics with 2020 megatron B-boy noise and synthesized madness. This album could have been released as an instrumental (I'm sure it will be later on). The beats are so varied, so layered and so….weird, you almost forget there are emcees rocking to the heavy percussion and raw sound.

From an insane young man sticking up his middle finger at the record industry and the world at large on Funcrusher Plus to a more mature man speaking out against abuse ("Stepfather Factory," "Constellation Funk"), society ("Dead Disnee"), and taking issue with a certain record label ("Signed to Rawkus? / I'd rather be mouth fucked by nazis unconscious"), El-P matches his eclectic sound with dead-on lyrics that are still slightly left of center. DJ Abilities handles the cuts, and Def Jux affiliates Camu Tao, Rob Sonic, Vast Aire, Aesop Rock, and Mr. Lif accompany throughout along with Cage, Ill Bill, and Steven Seagal (that's not a misprint). "Truancy," his personal account of growing up, along with "Tune Mass Damper" are amongst the best cuts. This album is solid throughout, with "Dead Disnee" being the one track I personally wasn't feeling (that chorus….scares the hell out of me). The great thing about El-P is he truly has his own style. No one and nothing sounds like him. At the same time, he's not different for the sake of being different. Fantastic Damage is a must.

{mikal lee (hired gun)}

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