Hip hop heads have a big month coming up. May marks a double-dose of El-P, after the underground rapper/producer settled into his new home at Fat Possum Records. A collaborative LP with Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music, is set to drop May 15 followed just one week later by El-P’s third full-length album, Cancer for Cure, on May 22.
El-P has been a key figure in alternative hip hop for more than a decade, and based on the most recently released single, “The Full Retard”… his highly-anticipated releases will not disappoint.
Are you offended by the title “The Full Retard”? Well, El-P isn’t apologizing to anyone:
Did I give a shit? Of course not. I don’t care. It’s a fucking joke, a pop culture reference. Even the context of that reference itself isn’t making fun of retarded people — it’s people condescending to retarded people. I mean, honestly. Blow me.
The 37-year-old who “tends to dip his foot into self-destructive behavior,” looks at the world as a state of imperfection… which isn’t necessarily problematic. He explains his outlook on society and music with the same pragmatic tone… matter-of-fact abruptness laced with sage wisdom. El-P is one of those artists that never seems to stagnate, and the evolution of his sound goes in all of the right directions.
El-P told Pitchfork that the inspiration for the album was a tragic one, but it has transformed into an upbeat message about the will to live.
“This is a fight record. Like, ‘Goddamn it. Enough is fuckin’ enough.’”
El-P was originally El Producto and started a record label, Definitive Jux, that busted out albums from poignant lyricists like Mr. Lif, but the label dissolved in 2010. El-P says he his excitement and focus are currently invested in making music and that he doesn’t plan to do anything with the Def Jux brand at the moment.
Though he’s been regarded as a front-runner in the underground hip hop world, he says the focus should be on individuals making good records and not a ‘scene’ that’s easier to dismiss.
“Because as soon as it’s called a scene, then there’s some guy who wants to be the first person to say that he’s over it.”