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This Little Underground

Photo: Bao Le-Huu, License: N/A

Bao Le-Huu

Marquee man El-P, however, burst onto the scene like an airstrike with crushingly colossal bomb-beats that sound like early Chemical Brothers on a murder rampage. Beautifully dark and relatably psychotic, his uncompromising, apocalyptic sound is one of the most thrillingly intense in rap today. Outside of fiercely left-field artists like Dälek or Meat Beat Manifesto, few rap practitioners are capable of or even dare enter such lurid obsession. Especially brilliant about his work is how three-dimensional and fully immersive it is. And because his production vision and ability come through like a locomotive, the music could easily stand on its own.

Remember what I said about how lame typical rap shows are? Well, El-P's shows are remarkable for how musical and live they are. He came this time with a couple live players on keys, percussion and guitar. And he had a second backup MC with whom he executed vocal exchanges with actual craft and aptitude. Wait, that must mean, yes, it can be done if you put some effort into your live performance. Ah, revelation.

Together, the whole crew managed to render the full richness of El-P's dark, dank and seriously dope world. His deep sense of atmosphere and power is simply a marvel to be face-to-face with. The best, most complete rap artist alive right now? Quite fucking possibly.

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