EP Review | Cannibal Ox – Gotham

This EP was released on April 16th in 2013. I originally thought that the only projects that Cannibal Ox had ever released were The Cold Vein & Blade Of The Ronin, but I discovered this one a few hours ago. As is the case with Blade Of The Ronin, El-P is completely absent. I think El-P & Can Ox had a falling out. El-P said at one point that he’d never produce another song for them. So yeah. This was their first project in 12 years, so they might sound a little different. I don’t think it’ll be as incredible as the first album, but I’m sure it’s still above average. They couldn’t have fallen off that much. It’s not like El-P’s production is the only thing that made The Cold Vein dope. I think this EP is completely produced by Bill Cosmiq. It’s pretty goddamn short, so this thankfully won’t take too long. I guess this was supposed to be kind of a teaser for the full album. There’s technically a “Deluxe LP Edition” of this project, but I wasn’t sure whether or not I should check it out. It seemed like more of a compilation than a standard album. I guess if you guys really want me to I can review that version in the future. Anyway, I’m expecting this to be dope.

Track 1: Gotham (Ox City)

I just took a quick peak at the tracklist for Blade Of The Ronin, and this song is actually on that album. In fact the only song on this EP that ISN’T on Blade Of The Ronin is the next track. I probably shouldn’t comment on that until I actually review Blade Of The Ronin. Whatever. This song is starting now. This intro from Vast Aire is a bit too dramatic for me. It sounds kinda corny. That’s just a nitpick tho. This beat from Bill Cosmiq is actually pretty dope. I don’t really mind El-P not being here that much. I think Bill did a good job with this beat. Hopefully the next couple are just as good. The first verse from Vordul wasn’t bad. Vast Aire’s verse was cool. There were a shit load of comic book references. That was kinda weird. This is already really different from The Cold Vein. It seems like they’ve completely ditched the gritty lyricism of the first album. I don’t really mind dorky references to super heroes and shit. It just seems kinda weird. It’s dope. It’s just not what I was expecting. Maybe I would’ve seen this coming if I was more familiar with the solo work from Vordul Mega & Vast Aire. Maybe they started rhyming about shit like this on their own albums. Whatever. It’s not really what I wanted to be honest, but it’s still pretty good. I fuck with this. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 2: Gases In Hell (Inhale)

…Was it really necessary to put “inhale” in parentheses? I always find it annoying when rappers say something clever, and then they immediately explain it to the listeners because they don’t think we’re smart enough to figure it out on our own. Whatever. That’s obviously not something that’d affect the song’s rating. It’s just another nitpick. Alright, it’s starting now. The hook from Vast Aire’s nothing special, but it serves its purpose I guess. The beat’s not bad. Same goes for the first verse… I don’t know. He’s not really… I mean, his verse was cool, but… He’s just not really killin’ it like he was on The Cold Vein… None of the lines on the first verse really stood out to me… It just feels like something’s missing. This hook lasts way too long for me. Oh shit. He’s on the second verse too. It was… Um… “I’m wavy boy / Look at me from a distance, and I start wavin’ boy / No need for alarm / I played the flute in bandcamp that’s how I met your moms.” What the hell is he doing? It’s almost like he didn’t really have anything to say on this song. He’s just not killin’ it like he did on the first album… What the fuck? He’s on the third verse? This is a solo track? …WHY? Can Ox fans were waiting for TWELVE years! I can’t imagine waiting 12 years for a Cannibal Ox EP with only 3 songs, and one of them turns out to be a solo track. This third verse isn’t even very good. “Let’s go; presto / Everything with a button, I press those / Everything with a string, I pluck those / I smile at a bitch; she jump out her clothes.” What the fuck? What… WHAT? Why am I getting struggle bars from fucking Vast Aire? Jesus… This is a far cry from the aggressive flows and intricate metaphors on The Cold Vein. It just sounds like Vast Aire’s rambling about a bunch of random shit. I’d be fine with that if he was at least saying it in an interesting way. This is boring tho. I’m sorry, but this track just really bummed me the fuck out. I was not expecting to feel like this listening to this EP. This is wack to me… 2/5

Track 3: Psalm 82

What if this was a solo Vordul Mega track? That’d be annoying as hell. Anyway, this beat is pretty dope. I’m really thirsty right now. The hook from Vast Aire was nothing special, but it definitely wasn’t bad. Vordul’s on the first verse. I… I don’t really know what to think of his verse. His delivery was really underwhelming. The lyrics weren’t really bad, but it’s kinda hard to focus on them when the presentation is so boring. Vast Aire’s verse was cool I guess. There were a few cool lines in there. This song just… I don’t know. I got tired of the beat by the time the first verse was over. I don’t think this is a bad song. It’s just really underwhelming. I’m not really feelin’ this one. I definitely think it’s decent tho. It’s alright. 3/5

Final Thoughts:

Well, that was disappointing as hell. It sounded like they completely lost all the hunger they originally had. It’s not like they completely fell off. You can still tell that they’re talented MCs. It’s just a huge step backwards from The Cold Vein in my opinion. It doesn’t even have anything to do with El-P’s absence. I thought the production was fine. Vast Aire & Vordul Mega just weren’t rippin’ the verses like they did on their debut LP. It didn’t feel like they were trying to outdo each other. It didn’t feel like they were eager to spit their verses. Honestly… It kinda just felt like they were rapping because their fans wanted another Can Ox project. I don’t mean to sound so negative, but I’m really disappointed right now. I think I remember the reception being pretty good when Blade Of The Ronin came out tho. I’m sure that’ll be better than this. I don’t even think this is a bad EP. I just feel like they can do better. It’s an okay project.

Favorite Song: Gotham

Least Favorite Song: Gases In Hell




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