To simply say that El-P is serious about his music would be an understatement. Upon first listen to “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead,” its readily apparent that this record is a magnum opus 4 years in the making – represents a culmination of profound musical, personal, and political experiences reaching their tumultuous climax. This record is about the struggle faced by those living in a rapidly changing society, El himself calling this his post-traumatic stress album where he attempts to capture the political by representing the internal. Evoking vocals and production aesthetics so viscerally indicative of the current era, El-P has outdone himself yet again, effectively mastering his brand of cutting-edge head-nodders and pushing forward a genre that has long held him as an undisputed kingpin. “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” embodies everything that is El-P: a groundbreaking artist, virtuosic producer, profound lyricist, label founder, A&R maverick and underground icon reacting to the malignant societal changes occurring today a very serious matter indeed. This record is an urgent document, a collective representation of a critical individual crossing their personal Rubicon, assessing the dismal reality inherent, and deciding to forge on despite the cost. With appearances by Trent Reznor, The Mars Volta, Cat Power, Aesop Rock, Cage, Matt Sweeney, Tame One, and others, this is an album poised to extend a genre into a new realm of artistic expression.
NYC-native El-P has been a major force in independent music for more than a decade. Setting off his career at age 17 with the release of the first Company Flow 12-inch “Juvenile Techniques” been blazing trails ever since, introducing some of the most cutting-edge and important hip-hop music of this era. As founder, producer and main MC of indie heroes Company Flow, El-P quickly made a name for himself with fearlessly visionary production, profound lyricism and an uncompromising ethic. The group’s seminal 1997 debut album Funcrusher Plus, was an underground smash (150,000+ units sold), celebrated by fans and journalists worldwide, earning the “classic” status now widely accorded it, and a major factor in the rise of indie hip-hop. In the process, it put the now legendary Rawkus Records on the music map, a label El-P would soon choose to depart from, shocking nearly everyone around him. But the man had a plan.
Launching Definitive Jux in 2000, El-P finally had the vehicle to carry his vision forward. He’s spent the past 6 years building what is now the pre-eminent indie hip hop label in the business, having given rise to some of genre’s brightest lights, including Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Rjd2 and Cannibal Ox. His own debut album, the tour de force Fantastic Damage, was released in 2002 to a maelstrom of worldwide critical-acclaim, going on to become one of the years best-selling indie hip hop albums. Since then, El Producto has had his hands full, producing, co-producing, executive producing and A&R’ing several projects including Mr. Lif’s “Mo’ Mega,” the Def Jux debut of underground hero Cage, Murs, C-Rayz Walz, and The Perceptionists. In 2004, El-P produced the lauded alt-jazz album High Water (Thirsty Ear) with free jazz lions Matthew Shipp, William Parker and Daniel Carter; scored the acclaimed feature film Bomb the System (Palm Pictures) and compiled assorted remixes, b-sides and special tracks for his own Collecting the Kid full length. Most recently he’s remixed tracks for Beck, Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta, TV on the Radio, Charlie Parker, Head Automatica, Blackalicious, Hot Hot Heat and Syd Matters, plus traded verses with Ghostface Killah on his own soon-to-be classic remix of Prefuse 73’s “Hideyaface.” He also appeared on Handsome Boy Modeling School’s White People album, alongside Chino of the Deftones, and will soon be remixing a song for the new Cat Power album. The list of artists and musicians who count themselves as El-P fans is a long and luminous one, including the likes of Radiohead, The Beastie Boys, Elvis Costello, RZA, The Black Keys, Chuck D., Yo La Tengo, Autechre, DJ Shadow, ?uest Love, Primal Scream and many more. El-P’s music is regularly licensed for feature films, video games and television, and he is producing music for both the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim TV. He will be touring the world in 2007 in support of his new album.
Critical praise for El-P’s last release; Fantastic Damage: “El-P is his own man: an urban-futurist producer and hard-spitting MC with an engorged heart and a high-speed chip on his shoulder. Count me in. grade= A” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“This serious minded M.C. does damage- he comes out swinging wildly, but Fantastic Damage has plenty of knock out force. El-P is a trailblazer in the hip-hop underground. Fantastic Damage, the rapper’s new solo album, on his own Definitive Jux label, rolls over contemporary pop and rap like a bulldozer.” - ROLLING STONE
“A genius full-length record, Fantastic Damage.” – VICE