Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Cannibal Ox, "The F-Word" (2001)
There is nothing else on Earth that sounds like Can Ox; the comparisons to Wu Tang circa 36 Chambers are warranted, but primarily on the level of vividness and intensity. The Cold Vein remains their only record, though there are periodically rumors of Vast Aire and Vordul Megallah reuniting, and it's as strong a hip-hop album as has been made since the days of Biggie and the Nas that ate souls and stole skeletons: El-P's production is a psychedelic mélange of transmogrified and distorted samples equal parts RZA, Stockhausen, and washed-out superhero-flick soundtrack, and both Vast and Vordul chronicle the occluded and the underground with precision, wit, and an abhorrence of the too-clever hippie bullshit of yr average backpacker MC (Common?). "The F-Word" functions as Vast's feature on The Cold Vein: all three verses are his, and the strength of both his flow and his compositional eye is plain in the way that his depiction of an incipient romance begins as an idle fantasy and becomes something hallucinatory and obsessive.