Showing posts with label cannibal ox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cannibal ox. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

video review: 'blade of the ronin' by cannibal ox

I don't know if it was fair to hope that this would be as great as The Cold Vein, but it could have been better than this.

Next up, I'm going to do someone that I'm shocked nobody hasn't covered yet. No, it's not Madonna - I have no intentions of covering her desperate attempts to keep with the timese, it's just getting sad at this point. Instead... well, stay tuned!

album review: 'blade of the ronin' by cannibal ox

So here's one of the joys of discovering a great artist, at least for me: I now have an easy excuse to go through their entire back catalog and listen to anything they might have done in the past. Which, sure, it adds to my backlog but often times it's more than worth it as I often get the chance to pick up albums that I would never have otherwise heard if I had just stuck to the mainstream.

So when I heard the collaboration between Killer Mike and El-P with Run The Jewels back in 2013, not being as familiar with either artist as I wanted to be, I tore through their back catalogs with gusto. With Killer Mike it was easier - I already knew a bunch of his stuff through familiarity with Dungeon Family so finally listening to those solo albums was a welcome treat, especially PL3DGE and R.A.P. Music. But El-P was different - he might have had a slightly smaller back catalog of albums, but a record like Cancer 4 Cure demanded multiple in-depth listens to decode and fully take in. El-P was not a rapper who made simple music, in his bars or his productions, and that meant to really appreciate it, it simply took more time.

And as such, it took me a while to finally branch out and start digging into the artists for whom El-P had producer credits, and while I was already familiar with Cage and The Weathermen and really enjoyed what I heard from Company Flow, one release that really caught my ear was The Cold Vein by New York hip-hop duo Cannibal Ox, entirely produced by El-P. And for good reason, it's a killer underground hip-hop record that's damn close to a classic featuring some stellar production and both MCs Vordul and Vast Aire dropping bar after bar of hard-edged and insightful wordplay. It's not precisely an easy album to take in - it's pretty icy and bleak, especially when you dig into the subject matter - but it's definitely worth it.

And thus it's always been a little surprising that Cannibal Ox didn't follow up The Cold Vein immediately. Instead the duo split and dropped a few solo albums apiece and parted ways with El-P, but it wouldn't be until 2013 where they would drop a new EP with new material, songs that would eventually end up on their newest album, Blade Of The Ronin. And look, I had mixed expectations going into this - sure, they might not have El-P's beats, but it's not like they would have become worse wordsmiths, so the album was probably pretty damn good, right?