El-P

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El-P
El-P performing in April 2015
El-P performing in April 2015
Background information
Birth nameJaime Meline
Also known as
  • El Producto
  • Lazerface
Born (1975-03-02) March 2, 1975 (age 48)
New York City, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
DiscographyEl-P discography
Years active1992–present
Labels
Member ofRun the Jewels
Formerly of

Jaime Meline (born March 2, 1975), better known by the stage name El-P (shortened from his previous stage name El Producto), is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. Starting his career as a member of Company Flow, he has been a driving force in alternative hip hop since the mid-1990s, producing for rappers including Aesop Rock, Cage, and Mr. Lif. He was a member of The Weathermen and is the co-founder, owner, and CEO of the Definitive Jux record label.

After releasing four solo studio albums that were critically acclaimed—Fantastic Damage (2002), High Water (2004), I'll Sleep When You're Dead (2007), and Cancer 4 Cure (2012)—El-P began experiencing mainstream success in 2013 when he formed the hip hop duo Run the Jewels with fellow rapper Killer Mike. They have released four studio albums for free, all of which have received widespread acclaim: Run the Jewels (2013), Run the Jewels 2 (2014), Run the Jewels 3 (2016), and RTJ4 (2020).

Early life[edit]

El-P was born Jaime Meline in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on March 2, 1975, the son of Nan Dillon[4] and jazz pianist Harry Meline (who performed under the stage name Harry Keyes).[5] He is of Cajun, Irish, and Lithuanian descent.[4][6] Although his mother was raised Catholic and his father was raised Jewish, they did not emphasize either faith to him during his childhood and he later joked that he "got none of it except a circumcision at birth".[4]

El-P's parents divorced when he was seven years old, and he later wrote the song "Last Good Sleep" about once hearing his mother being assaulted by his drunken stepfather in the next room and not realizing what had happened until the next day.[4] His mother responded to the beating by immediately ending the relationship, reporting El-P's stepfather to the police, and changing their home's locks; however, El-P had recurring nightmares about the incident for many years, and once chased a stranger he misidentified as his ex-stepfather through the New York subway.[4]

El-P was expelled from two high schools for various issues, including his refusal to stop wearing his baseball cap backwards.[4] He later got his GED.[4] He went to musical engineering school at the Center for the Media Arts in Manhattan.[7] After graduating, he enrolled at Hunter College, but dropped out because most of his courses did not relate to the career he wanted.[4]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Getting involved with the hip hop culture of New York City at an early age, El-P met Mr. Len when he hired Len as the DJ for his 17th birthday party. The two became friends and formed Company Flow in 1992. They released their first single, "Juvenile Technique", in 1993.[8] Bigg Jus joined the group and in 1995 the trio released their debut EP, Funcrusher.[14] It sold well for an independently released record, with more than 30,000 copies sold despite only being available on vinyl.[8] 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 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 rose to prominence.[citation needed]

El-P on stage in 2007

Company Flow dissolved amicably in 2001 and the following year El-P released his debut solo album Fantastic Damage, to 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 hip hop and jazz critics, 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 as a solo artist to date, peaking at No. 78 on the U.S. Billboard 200. In an interview about I'll Sleep When You're Dead, he identifies himself as an atheist.[15]

In October 2009, El-P announced that he was working on his third studio album, titled Cancer 4 Cure.[16] El-P 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, titled "Drones Over BKLYN". On February 22, 2012, El-P announced on his Facebook page that Cancer 4 Cure was complete. The album was released to music retailers on May 22.[17]

Run the Jewels[edit]

Run the Jewels, a collaboration of El-P with Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike, was formed in 2013. The two rappers were introduced to each other by Adult Swim executive Jason DeMarco in 2011.[18] The meeting led to several collaborations, including Killer Mike being featured on the song "Tougher Colder Killer" from Cancer 4 Cure while El-P produced the entirety of Killer Mike's sixth album R.A.P. Music. When R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure were released within weeks of each other, a joint tour was planned. The success of the tour eventually led to the formation of Run the Jewels.[19] The duo released their self-titled debut album on June 26, 2013.[20] They released Run the Jewels 2 on October 28, 2014.[21] Run the Jewels 3 was released on December 24, 2016,[22] three weeks prior to the previously announced release date of January 13, 2017.[23] A fourth album, RTJ4 was released on June 3, 2020. All of their albums to date have been released for free.[24]

Production and featured appearances[edit]

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.[25][26] 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 Zack de la Rocha's solo album (which never materialized). He has provided remixes for the likes of Beans (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, Lorde, and Yasushilde, among others. El-P provided the soundtrack for the graffiti film Bomb the System.[27][28]

Film scoring[edit]

El-P was the principal composer for the 2005 film Bomb the System; he was one of the candidates to score a trailer for 2017's Blade Runner 2049, but his score was "rejected or ignored".[29] He created the score for the 2020 biopic Capone.[30]

Style[edit]

El-P's rapping style is characterized by dense, aggressive, and verbose attacks that include heavy use of metaphors, sci-fi fantasy themes, pop culture references, and associative wordplay. His lyrics often feature themes found in the works of sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, such as paranoia and questions about the nature of reality.[31] Reviewing his 2002 album Fantastic Damage, critic Steve Huey described El-P 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".[32]

El-P's 2004 album High Water was a radical departure, pitting his beats and production against a jazz band under the direction of pianist Matthew Shipp, a fan of El-P's music. In a 2003 interview with Shipp for Bomb magazine, El-P stated, "First and foremost, I wanted to [make a different album] 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."[33]

Personal life[edit]

El-P began dating comedian and musician Emily Panic in 2010, and they married in October 2018.[34][35] Panic was featured on Killer Mike's 2012 album R.A.P. Music, which El-P produced.[36]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harrison, Anthony Kwame (2009). Hip Hop Underground: The Integrity and Ethics of Racial Identification. Temple University Press. p. 84. ISBN 9781439900628.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Craig (September 25, 2013). "The 10 Best Rap Producers Right Now". Complex. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  3. ^ Faraone, Chris (July 3, 2012). "El-P Keeps Control of His Alt-Rap Flow". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h URB Magazine 2002 via DanielChamberlin.com Archived December 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Accessed December 2015.
  5. ^ "Harry Keyes '54". Abacus.bates.edu. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Hermes, Will (March 18, 2007). "Indie Rapper Reseizes the Brooklyn Moment". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Nardwuar vs. EL-P". Youtube. February 14, 2014. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Company Flow Biography". AllMusic. Goshen: Netaktion LLC.
  9. ^ Meline, Jaime (El‑P) (March 18, 2007). "Indie Rapper Reseizes the Brooklyn Moment: El‑P (Jaime Meline)". The New York Times (Interview). Interviewed by Hermes, Will. Archived from the original on June 5, 2015. It did, beginning with Company Flow...The group self-released the 'Funcrusher' EP in 1995, and before long El‑P quit his job in the Tower Records mail-order department 'because, y'know, I was a rap star.'{{cite interview}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (2016). "El‑P". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195313734. Archived from the original on February 1, 2023. Although the producer now says that the Funcrusher EP (1995) and its subsequent extension Funcrusher Plus became 'like monsters', Company Flow provided a potent counterpoint to mainstream hip-hop aesthetics.
  11. ^ Goldsmith, Melissa; Fonseca, Anthony, eds. (2018). "Company Flow". Hip Hop Around the World: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara/California: ABC-Clio. pp. 133–135. ISBN 978-0-313-35758-9. The trio's first EP, Funcrusher (1995) led to a deal with Rawkus Records and the release of the band's debut album
  12. ^ Shapiro, Peter (May 2002). "Invisible Jukebox: El‑P". The Wire. No. 219. London: The Wire Magazine Ltd. pp. 20–23. the two released a single, 'Juvenile Techniques', later that year under the name Company Flow. Recruiting rapper Bigg Jus, the new trio released the Funcrusher EP in 1995 on their newly formed label, Official Recordings.
  13. ^ Black Mamba Serums 2.0 (Media notes). London: Big Dada. 2004. BD071.
  14. ^ [9][10][11][12][13]
  15. ^ Diver, Mike (April 23, 2007). "El-P: "When I run out of magic pills, I'll lose my sh*t"". Drowned In Sound. Archived from the original on March 31, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  16. ^ el producto. "im going to stab you". Cancer4cure.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2015. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  17. ^ "Cancer4Cure". All Music.
  18. ^ Christopher R. Weingarten (October 24, 2014). "Run the Jewels: 2014's Brashest Rap Duo Comes Back From Oblivion". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  19. ^ Frannie Kelley (November 11, 2014). "Run The Jewels: 'I'm Taking This Life'". NPR – Microphone Check. Archived from the original on April 25, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  20. ^ Jake Paine (June 23, 2013). "Killer Mike & El-P "Run The Jewels" Release Date, Tracklist & Album Download". HipHopDX.com. Archived from the original on May 4, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  21. ^ Evan Minsker (September 2, 2014). "Killer Mike and El-P Detail Run the Jewels' RTJ2 Album, Announce Tour". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  22. ^ DiMeglio, Mary J. (December 26, 2016). "Run the Jewels' New Album, 'RTJ3,' Released Early: Listen". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  23. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (December 25, 2016). "Run the Jewels Release RTJ3: Listen". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on December 26, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  24. ^ "Album Review: Run the Jewels – RTJ4". July 11, 2020.
  25. ^ Petridis, Alexis (January 9, 2014). "Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels – review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  26. ^ Kieran McCarthy. "El-P Biography". Allmusic. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  27. ^ "El-P Biography at DefinitiveJux.net (old)". 2002. Archived from the original on April 9, 2007. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
  28. ^ "El-P Biography at DefinitiveJux.net (current)". 2007. Archived from the original on March 26, 2007. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
  29. ^ Hooton, Christopher (September 25, 2017). "Listen to El-P's 'rejected' Blade Runner 2049 score". The Independent. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  30. ^ Daly, Rhian (May 29, 2020). "El-P shares soundtrack for Tom Hardy movie 'Capone'". New Musical Express (NME). Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  31. ^ Chennault, Sam (August 1, 2002). "El-P". Pitchfork.com. Archived from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  32. ^ Steve Huey. "Fantastic Damage – El-P". Allmusic. Archived from the original on May 2, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  33. ^ "El-P by Matthew Shipp – Bomb Magazine". bombmagazine.org. October 2003. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  34. ^ Emily Panic [@aprettybigmouth] (April 20, 2020). "Happy 10 yr anniversary to my beautiful husband @therealelp. The funniest, smartest, most empathetic person I know..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ Bloom, Madison (October 17, 2018). "El-P and Emily Panic Are Married". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on October 18, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  36. ^ "R.A.P. Music - Killer Mike : Credits : AllMusic". Allmusic. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2012.

External links[edit]