Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein

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El-P, a premier beatsmith has since moved on to anchor the Harlem duo of Vast Aire and Vordul. Vast is an abstract poet with a slow, deliberate flow, Vordul paints beautiful pictures with his rhymes.

As commercial hip-hop has been on a steady decline for some time due to an over-saturated market of so many wack rappers and a sickening
lack of creativity, enter the independent scene, which has been thriving since '96. A lot of heads give a lot of the credit to El-P, whose former group, Company
Flow
, were instrumental in spearheading the indy movement. El-Producto, a premier beatsmith in music today has since moved on to anchor the Harlem duo of Vast Aire and Vordul. While Vast is more of an abstract poet with a slow, deliberate flow, Vordul paints beautiful pictures with his rhymes in a refreshingly unconventional manor.

Both emcees can definitely hold their own on the mic and both add another level of depth to each track, but it is El-P's incredible beats that steal the show. The beats are lumbering and down-tempo but are rich with layers of sounds that will captivate your mind. The Cold Vein can very much be considered an experimental album due to it's lack of a blueprint and that is perhaps the best part about it. If VeinPigeon and Iron Galaxy don't make you hit the repeat button then this album is probably not for you. Other tracks that I felt myself slipping away to are A B-Boy's Alpha, Ridiculoid and Stress Rap.
Nothing on this album can even be considered the worst song, nor is there a downside to The Cold Vein.

Certainly not to be overlooked are the contributions of both emcees, particularly Vast Aire. His voice and delivery make him stand out regardless, but that aside he drops some of the best lines I've ever heard. For example, You were a still born baby/Mother didn't want you, but you were still born/Boy
meets world, of course his pops is gone/What you figga?/That chalky outline on the ground is a father figure?/So he steps to the next stencil, that's a
hustler/Infested with money and diamond clusters.
Or just check the poetics from the opus The F Word; she was in a love triangle/but it wasn't
like my feelings weren't there to make it a square/penny's for her thoughts/she's my very own American Beauty, red petals when we talk...the f
word.

While El-P has said that this is his best work ever (I agree) I wholeheartedly think that his better days are still ahead of him. This album left me with a feeling that I haven't felt since thevfirst time that I heard Dr. Octagon. While it is difficult to label this a classic album because it usually takes a few years to figure it out (with a few exceptions), it will be much easier to look at this album 2 years down the road and truly grasp just how dope it is. This is the album of 2001 and should define El-P's Def Jux movement.

7 Comments

  • Blaine

    Classic album, I can't say what hasn't already been said. Vordul and Vast paint pictures like no other, and El-P's production is top notch. Cop this ASAP!

  • Torey Purga Spindler

    El-P + Vast Aire should make a sequel to this album.. They were the standouts, no question.

  • David.

    Five stars, well deserved. We'll never get an album like this again.

  • Cogna

    A good, new, innovative album? Yes, definitely. A modern day classic? No. The production was very good, but it occasionally completely overshadowed the rappers. Though the rappers are by no means wack, because the production was top notch and the beats were so heavy it's hard to focus on the rappers non-descript flows.

    • Anonymous

      Whatever nigga I been listening to this album for a decade now and I still love it as much as when it dropped, if that dont make it a classic then a classic doesn't exist I guess

  • Jae Havoc

    A classic. El-P's production keeps the atmosphere thick and the rhymes are dense enough to keep the replay value high, while other albums are too easy to penetrate. And on the real, anybody that could give this album shit for, idk, being too smart, probably shouldn't even be using a computer, I mean, really? If you want some dumbed down bullshit that you can understand, you might want to start with watching Twilight or some shit.