Influenced by the Bomb Squad, El-P's dense layering of synths, sound effects and funky drums results in dark, futuristic beats (think more Blade Runner than Star Trek) that are claustrophobic and given a sense of urgency by the often up-tempo production. On Cancer For Cure, songs like "The Full Retard," "Drones over BKLYN" and "Tougher Colder Killer" might even have a chance to get played in the more progressive dance clubs. Elsewhere, El-P also gets more musical by bringing in Interpol's Paul Banks and Islands' Nick Diamonds for some singing assists on "Works Every Time" and "Stay Down," respectively. Instrumental freak-outs also abound, as on the funky first half of opening track "Request Denied," the psych-rock outro of the previously released "Drones Over BKLYN" and the organ solo towards the end of "Sign Here." His paranoid, dystopian lyrics are a perfect match for the music, whether it's the b-boy braggadocio of posse cuts "Oh Hail No," with Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire and Danny Brown, and "Tougher Colder Killer," with Killer Mike and Despot, or the unique telling of stories of everyday struggle such as the break up interrogation of "The Jig Is Up" or his return to the subject of domestic violence on murder fantasy "For My Upstairs Neighbor (Mums the Word)." But most impressive is how he's styling with a variety of flows, from the off-beat one that he came up on ("Works Every Time") to a tighter, faster version of that ("The Full Retard"), and from an almost spoken word delivery ("The Jig Is Up") to Southern double-time raps ("Stay Down"). Cancer For Cure is El-P's most accessible album yet, and with the right push it could be his breakthrough release.
Read an interview with El-P here. (Fat Possum)