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Prior to a new El-P LP drop in 2012, this Brooklyn hip-hop heavyweight hadn’t released a straight-up rap album since 2007’s I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Oh, he’s kept plenty busy, as the title of that disc suggests: producing for Das Racist, winding down operations at his influential Definitive Jux label, issuing the third volume of his instrumental Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx series. But fans of the exasperated growl El-P honed as a member of Company Flow had only scraps to dine on for five years. The famine ended last May with Cancer 4 Cure, an impressive new solo album on which El-P vents his long-bottled frustrations (with cops, politics, you name it) over harsh cyborg-funk beats that suggest he’s grown no more optimistic about the future.—Mikael Wood
El-P plays Coachella Saturday April 13 and Saturday April 20.
Portions of this article originally appeared in Time Out New York on May 17, 2012.
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