After a year-plus break, Company Flow (minus Bigg Jus) return to scene with El-P’s trademark aggro-electro steelo. Ill Bill joins El-P on the obtuse, fun crushin’ “Simian D aka Feeling Ignorant” while “Simple” is anything but as Co Flow gives your noggin a hard knock with the lyrics that lets the beat damage it further. No less provocative, though a tad more accessible is Cannibal Ox, led by Vast Aire and Vordul, who tap El-P for the beats but provide all the ill lyrical themselves.
If Cannibal Ox reminds people of Company Flow – the same, super-scientifical lyrical excursions, the same fuzzed out, electro-altered beats – it’s not a huge surprise. El-P produces the Ox pair of Vast and Vordul and they jump off from the Co Flow aesthetic with pleasing results. “Iron Galaxy” pumps one of the nicer El-P tracks I’ve heard in a while, a contrast between beatific organs and a dirty guitar riff that burns through. Vocally, the CO got some sh*t to say: “everyone knows the city’s ill/cats kill/still black man holds nine/gotta chill.” It’s a twisted, complex lyricism, seeded with metaphors and similes that take a while to grow to fruition but repeated rewinds help immensely. “Straight Off The D.I.C.” kicks a similar vibe – steady dropping drums anchoring a track that’s too weird to describe adequately – and, the Ox stomp in with a futuristic rhyme scheme that pops and locks like machinery. This isn’t exactly for the jiggy, iced out crowd and it might even be a little to the left of your back-to-the-roots underground heads but for those searching for that next level sh*t, this might be it. Oddly, El-P slides the Ox better beats than he does for Co Flow’s own joints on this double 12″, either way, it’s good to hear all these cats back in the mix.
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