El-P’s first album since deciding to rest Def Jux in early 2010 marks a break from his old style and marks a deep intrusion into new territory. Dark, heavy, and richly rendered, Cancer 4 Cure is both reinvention and inversion, futuristic synths and rave-lines chopped with lo-fi drum sounds and brain-chipping bass.
What grounds the record is a EL-P’s barely masked obsession with death. Dedicated to the Def Jux rapper Camu Tao, whose demise directly preceded its creation, the characters are forever warring with some imminent end, whether creative, romantic, or literal. Featuring guest spots from Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, Danny Brown, and a snarling Killer Mike, it’s the best kind of tribute El-P could make: a record that you can bump like they do in the future.
Song: The Full Retard - A swarming, cyber-jittery boom-bap bomb underneath El-P’s rapid-fire flow, cramming syllable after syllable into bursts of breath that seem almost humanly impossible.