El-P

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El-P
El-pflick.jpg
El-P live at Irving Plaza, February 10, 2007
Background information
Birth name Jaime Meline
Also known as El-Producto, Lazerface
Born (1975-03-02) March 2, 1975 (age 39)
Origin Brooklyn, New York City, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations rapper, record producer
Years active 1993–present
Labels Definitive Jux
Thirsty Ear
Fat Possum
Thrill Jockey
Rawkus Records
Fool's Gold
Associated acts Company Flow, Run the Jewels, The Weathermen, Cannibal Ox, Das Racist, Aesop Rock, Killer Mike, Despot, Mr. MFN eXquire
Website Definitive Jux
Definitive Jux – Bio

Jaime Meline (born March 2, 1975), better known by his stage name El-P (originally El Producto), is an American hip hop recording artist, record producer, rapper, and entrepreneur from Brooklyn, New York City. Originally a member of Company Flow, El-P has been a major driving force in alternative hip hop for over a decade, producing for several notable underground rappers.[1] He is the co-founder, owner and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Definitive Jux record label. El-P is also a member of The Weathermen and art collective Cardboard City. In 2013, he formed the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, with frequent collaborator Killer Mike.

Biography[edit]

The son of jazz pianist Harry Keyes[2](born Harry Meline), El-P became involved with the hip hop culture of New York City at an early age. After being expelled from several schools for problems with authority, Meline decided to pursue a career in music. At his 18th birthday party, he met Mr. Len, whom he had hired as a DJ for the night. The two quickly became friends and formed Company Flow in 1993. They released their first vinyl single, "Juvenile Techniques", in 1993. Bigg Jus later complemented the group and in 1996 the trio released its debut EP, Funcrusher. Subject to a major-label bidding war after the success of the EP, Company Flow waited until it could get a contract on its own terms. The group eventually signed with Rawkus Records, and released its debut full-length album, Funcrusher Plus (1997).

After an instrumental album titled Little Johnny From the Hospitul: Breaks & Instrumentals Vol.1 (1999), also on Rawkus, disagreements between El-P and the label led to Company Flow leaving Rawkus. El-P then decided to start his own record label, Definitive Jux (known informally as Def Jux, and extra-formally as Definitive Juxtapositions), and because of critically acclaimed albums such as Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein (produced by El-P) and Aesop Rock's Labor Days, the label quickly rose to prominence.

Company Flow dissolved amicably in 2001 and the following year El-P released his debut solo album Fantastic Damage, to wide critical acclaim. In 2004, El-P collaborated with the Blue Series Continuum for a jazz-fusion album titled High Water, which received favorable reviews from both the hip hop and jazz worlds, as well as from more mainstream critics independent of both scenes. 2005 saw the release of Collecting the Kid, an odds-and-ends assortment including work from High Water and Bomb the System, in addition to several songs of unknown provenance. El-P's second proper studio album, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, was released on March 20, 2007. It generally received very favorable reviews and became El-P's most commercially successful album to date, peaking at No. 78 on the U.S. Billboard 200.

In October 2009, El-P announced that he was working on his third studio album, tentatively titled Cancer for Cure.[3] El-P also was a part of a group called Central Services, which consisted of El-P, Camu Tao, and Allysin Baker. In the fall of 2010, the EP Forever Frozen in Television Time, was released exclusively on the Def Jux digital download service. In August 2011, it was announced that El-P signed with Fat Possum Records, which would release Cancer 4 Cure. Later that month, El-P released a single off the upcoming album, via the Adult Swim Singles program. The track is titled "Drones Over BKLYN." On February 22, 2012 El-P announced on his Facebook page that Cancer 4 Cure was officially complete. The album was later released to music retailers on May 22. Days prior to the release of El-P's third album, Killer Mike's sixth album R.A.P. Music, was released. The album was produced entirely by El-P and is his and Killer Mike's first body of work together.

El-P has contributed productions and guest rhymes to albums by Aesop Rock, Evil Nine, DJ Krush, Murs, Cage, Mr. Lif, Prefuse 73, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Mike Ladd, The High and Mighty, Jedi Mind Tricks, Aceyalone, Atmosphere, Techno Animal, and Das Racist. He collaborated with Alec Empire on the first Handsome Boy Modeling School album and with Cage and Chino Moreno on the second. He was selected, along with DJ Shadow, to work on Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha's solo album (which never materialized). He has provided remixes for the likes of Beans (rapper) (of Anti-Pop Consortium), Beck, Blackalicious, Head Automatica, Hot Hot Heat, Dizzee Rascal, Syd Matters, Nine Inch Nails, Push Button Objects, Rob Sonic, TV on the Radio, and Yasushilde, among others. El-P also provided the soundtrack for the graffiti film Bomb the System.[4][5]

Style[edit]

As a rapper, El-P's style can be characterized by his dense, aggressive, and verbose attacks, which include notable use of metaphor, science fiction and fantasy themes and references, and associative word play. Critic Steve Huey describes him as "one of the most technically gifted MCs of his time, spitting out near-impossible phrases and rhythmic variations that simply leave the listener's head spinning."[6]

El-P is a fan of science fiction, notably writer Philip K. Dick, and many of Dick's themes, such as paranoia and questions about the nature of reality, feature in El-P's work. References to George Orwell, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek spin-off Deep Space 9 sit comfortably alongside more traditional rap references, such as to the likes of LL Cool J and Boogie Down Productions.

As a producer, Meline is notable for his innovative mix of bleak futurism and low fidelity sounds. His dense, claustrophobic sounds are strongly influenced by Public Enemy's production team, The Bomb Squad, as well as other electronic artists like Art of Noise and Nine Inch Nails.

2004's High Water was a radical departure, pitting El-P's beats and production against a jazz band under the direction of pianist Matthew Shipp, a fan of El-P's music. In an interview with Shipp, Meline stated:

First and foremost, I wanted to do it because it scared the shit out of me ... And when I get offered the chance to be involved with something that scares me, I usually do it, because I'm trying to learn, I'm trying to understand music as much as I can, to become a better musician in general and work in different capacities.

El-P has done some work as a DJ. In November 2004, he spun alongside Peanut Butter Wolf at a small Chicago club named Sonotheque. Also, in the summer of 2005, at the Intonation Festival hosted by Pitchfork Media, El-P did a short DJ set alongside Yo La Tengo member James McNew, both denizens of the same apartment complex in Brooklyn. He also did an all instrumental set in 2010, at the Low End theory in Los Angeles.

Discography[edit]

Solo albums
Instrumental albums
  • El-P Presents Cannibal Oxtrumentals (2002)
  • FanDam Plus (2002)
  • High Water (2004)
  • Collecting the Kid (2004)
  • Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3 (2010)
Miscellaneous
With Killer Mike as Run the Jewels

References[edit]

External links[edit]