Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
El-P, a premier beatsmith has since moved on to anchor the Harlem duo of Vast Aire and Vordul. Vast is an abstract poet with a slow, deliberate flow, Vordul paints beautiful pictures with his rhymes.
As commercial hip-hop has been on a steady decline for some
time due to an over-saturated market of so many wack rappers and a sickening
lack of creativity, enter the independent scene, which has been thriving since
'96. A lot of heads give a lot of the credit to El-P, whose former group, Company
Flow, were instrumental in spearheading the indy movement. El-Producto, a premier beatsmith in
music today has since moved on to anchor the Harlem duo of Vast Aire and Vordul.
While Vast is more of an abstract
poet with a slow, deliberate flow, Vordul
paints beautiful pictures with his rhymes in a refreshingly unconventional
Both emcees can definitely hold their own on the mic and both add another level
of depth to each track, but it is El-P's
incredible beats that steal the show. The beats are lumbering and down-tempo
but are rich with layers of sounds that will captivate your mind. The Cold Vein can very much be
considered an experimental album due to it's lack of a blueprint and that is
perhaps the best part about it. If Vein,
Pigeon and Iron Galaxy don't make you hit the repeat button then this album is
probably not for you. Other tracks that I felt myself slipping away to are A B-Boy's Alpha, Ridiculoid and Stress Rap.
Nothing on this album can even be considered the worst song, nor is there a
downside to The Cold Vein.
Certainly not to be overlooked are the contributions of both emcees,
particularly Vast Aire. His voice
and delivery make him stand out regardless, but that aside he drops some of the
best lines I've ever heard. For example, You
were a still born baby/Mother didn't want you, but you were still born/Boy
meets world, of course his pops is gone/What you figga?/That chalky outline on
the ground is a father figure?/So he steps to the next stencil, that's a
hustler/Infested with money and diamond clusters. Or just check the poetics
from the opus The F Word; she was in a love triangle/but it wasn't
like my feelings weren't there to make it a square/penny's for her
thoughts/she's my very own American Beauty, red petals when we talk...the f
While El-P has said that this is his
best work ever (I agree) I wholeheartedly think that his better days are still
ahead of him. This album left me with a feeling that I haven't felt since the
first time that I heard Dr. Octagon.
While it is difficult to label this a classic album because it usually takes a
few years to figure it out (with a few exceptions), it will be much easier to
look at this album 2 years down the road and truly grasp just how dope it is.
This is the album of 2001 and should define El-P's Def Jux movement.