Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Grant Johnson at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
The gloves are always dangling just off of El-P's hands and wrists. He's never looking for a fight (well, we shouldn't say never), but his ire is always up, for overall behavior is always pushing to reach a new all-time low. Morals and niceties are thin and running. He pecks at the generalities of the way most people go about themselves and the way they treat others, not to mention what they think they're owed or deserve compared to others, and he likes to draw blood. He likes to point out the perverse logic that seems to flow through people's heads and hands as they obliviously consult their glowing smartphones and ignore those tangible bits of substance that would benefit them the most.
El-P's songs, especially those on his latest and most cutting album, "Cancer 4 Cure," are sharp examinations of living in a period of time - the present - where madness seems to be piled up and getting in through every opening. It's an infestation and the madness has run amok. The way El-P sees it, there's nothing else to do but to start a wildfire and just let everything burn down to its lifeless, charred state so that something new and hopefully better can replace it. It would be smarter to just jump ship and wade off the coast til it was cleared out, than to board up the windows and thing that the crazies are just going to peacefully go by, removing themselves from the scene and just march with their bugged out eyes and unhelpful heat right into the ocean on the other side.
He mocks any thoughts that it will get better anytime soon and crushes any thoughts that there are any safe havens out there to tuck away inside. It's every crazy man for himself. There are no fields of golden dandelions to frolic in. That's just idiocy. He wishes the worst for those who fan the flames and who planted the original seeds for these mindsets and these unproductive behaviors. He's seen, heard and felt too much that he'd like to exorcise from his head, rapping, "I've got memories to lose man/I am in a rush." He's surrounded by those he would call savages, those whose intentions are just to witness everything crumbling because they would claim that everyone will be better off if it does. To those people, he wishes "all the sores" their "little mouths can tuck inside."