El-P/Various Collecting the Kid

Alright, kids. No more messing around because the Def Jux daddy has finally come home. With a few mediocre releases from the label making the rounds, it may take some noise from the mighty El-Producto to bring things back to the level of quality we expect from the abstract hip-hop label. Though this isn’t the follow-up to Fantastic Damage, there’s a chance a lot of these cuts will be new to fans, as Collecting the Kid is comprised of unreleased compositions and alternate mixes. This means that most of these joints are instrumentals and none contain El-P’s verbal assaults, but when you have the gift of giving life to incredibly beautiful melodies disguised in an aggressive manner then being limited to beats is more than welcome. After the ambient "Dream Theme” from El-P’s Bomb the System score, we get right into the robotic funk with "Jukie Skate Rock.” This brilliant jam will leave you smiling as you envision kids shaking their asses around the rink in their chunky skates while Big Whiz chants out anthems over the loud speaker. If there is to be a Definitive Jux theme song, we have a winner. Another champion is "Feel like a Ghost,” a Cannibal Ox beat that never saw the light of day because the duo decided to part ways, reminding us of what could have been another fantastic showcase of stellar production. Possibly the best moment of Collecting the Kid comes from Montreal’s Stephanie Vezina as she brings a human touch by lending her sweet vocals to a remix of Charlie Parker’s "Constellation.” There have not been many times where El-P has provided beats for a female voice, and with the lush results they produce on this track we should all hope it’s something he experiments with more. Collecting the Kid is a nice little teaser before a proper release of new material, and is a strong chunk of quality to bring Def Jux back to its deserving level as one of the world’s strongest record labels. (Definitive Jux)