Album Review | El-P – Fantastic Damage

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This album was released on May 14th in 2002. This was El-P’s first solo album. It’s considered a classic album by pretty much everyone who’s familiar with it. I’m not really sure what this project is gonna be like. I haven’t heard any songs from it. I’m really hoping that it’s not just a Company Flow album without Bigg Jus. I don’t really wanna hear that. I’d rather hear something new. Actually, I’m sure it won’t sound like Funcrusher Plus. This album came out 5 years after that one. I’m expecting this to be great. The album cover is awesome. Every song is self produced.

Track 1: Fantastic Damage

Alright, here we go. I’m excited. It’s starting now. Wow. Lmao. This beat… It’s fucking crazy. This is awesome. The production is really hard hitting and glitchy. My God. El-P just fucking spazzed on this shit. Lmao. Good lord. That was bananas. That was fucking awesome. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Squeegee Man Shooting

This production is fucking BONKERS. The first verse was awesome. El’s goin’ in about his childhood and how he got into rapping. He told a story of a squeegee man who got shot by a police officer. The hook’s not bad. Man… The way he ended that second verse was crazy. “Dad played jazz when he drank; it’s no accident / Hands on the piano, and make my foot tap to it / Different path, same love, dad; thanks for passing it.” This shit is dope af. 5/5

Track 3: Deep Space 9mm

This beat is fucking crazy. Jesus. The proDUCtion. It’s amazing. This is the best beat on the whole album so far. El-P’s rappin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off right now. “Sign to Rawkus? I’d rather be mouth fucked by Nazis unconscious.” Wow. He fucking ripped this shit apart. He just went the fuck off for the whole song. This is another fantastic song. The beat is insane, and El-P killed this shit. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 4: Tuned Mass Damper

Ohhh yesssss. This beat sounds like it came straight from the Cold Vein sessions. It’s dope af. The first verse was crazy. The Kool G Rap sample that he flipped for the hook is awesome. Jesus Christ. This song is fucking insanity. The beat is chaotic and El-P is just rapping like a madman. It’s like he can’t stop spittin’ bars. He’s rapping like he’ll die if he stops. I’ve never heard an MC sound so hungry. He fuckin’ snapped on this shit. 5/5

Track 5: Dead Disnee

Good lord. It’s like every beat on this album is better than the previous one. El-P is a fucking genius. Everything this man does is just unbelievable. “Get ingested without prejudice / Daddy’s revenge on Oedipus / Standing on a precipice holding hands with Gepetto the lecherous / Manipulator of oak; the sick joke / Liars want to be real and conceal the nose growth.” He murdered the first verse. The way he’s referencing all these different Disney films is so fucking dope. “Look a little closer; the jails are not empty / The rabbit hole, made for the meek and re-entry / You’re on the wrong side of the looking glass now, Paw, face it / My brainiac drums make computers lose patience.” This song is fuckin’ crazy. I definitely fuck with this. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 6: Delorean Feat. Aesop Rock & Ill Bill

Okay, this is gonna be awesome. Aesop’s goin’ in already. He’s trading bars with El-P on the hook. This is amazing. The beat is fucking crazy too. Aesop Rock killed that first verse. “Gavels for the guilty, rattlesnake bait for the snitches / Cackles for the silky, shallow lake wades for the midgets / Badges for the piggies that’ll make hate seem less vicious / Shackles for the filthy, battle break plates for your interests.” Woah… The beat switched up after his verse ended. There are some scratches from DJ Abilities now. Umm… Huh… Ill Bill’s goin’ in now. His verse kinda… Uh… It kinda sucks. What the hell is he doing? It sounds like he’s freestyling. You’d think that he’d be better than this even if he was freestyling tho. He clearly wasn’t trying. Okay, that was weird. The original beat just came back on and now El-P’s goin’ in. Damn. He fucking killed that shit. “These faggots hit like teddy bears thrown against wooden doors / By a misunderstood teenage girl in a moment of self-importance.” I can’t give a pass to that F bomb. That was a dope line tho. He fucking murdered this shit. Man… I really enjoyed this song, but that weird break with DJ Abilities & Ill Bill really sucked all the momentum out of the track. I mean, it didn’t completely ruin the song, but it definitely would’ve been better without it. I still fuck with this shit tho. This is dope. 4/5

Track 7: Truancy

This beat is weird as fuck. I like it tho. It’s definitely not one of my favorites, but I fuck with it. El’s goin’ in about skipping school. “Went with truancy and the bad apple, and it slowly formed my spirit / So when I couldn’t fit the scholastic structure of my peers I didn’t fear it / And it was air brush on the pants leg, and name cut in the back of the head / And cipher in the subway without money in my pocket then.” Jesus fucking Christ. The way this guy raps is absolutely insane. “Recognize this is the new truth; we refuse to suckle the empires ruse / Original box-cutter walker who talk to rebuild a new living proof / See me as a banshee; as the illest motherfucker since Oedipus / Monkey number one million with a typewriter, flipping tempest debts.” What the fuck? How the fuck does he rap like that? Seriously, how do you get your brain to work like that? How do you come up with this kinda shit? This guy is fucking nuts. This shit is crazy. I really fuck with this song. I’m not crazy about the production tho. This is dope, but I wish it was a little more entertaining sonically. That hook at the end of the song was awesome tho. I really liked the way the beat switched up during the outro. This is dope. 4/5

Track 8: The Nang, The Front, The Bush & The Shit

Okay, I think this song is about to blow my balls clean off. I just listened to the intro and it already sounds fucking awesome. Oh shit. Lmao. Yes. This is fucking crazy. He’s telling a story about how he got finessed into joining the army. The recruiter is trying to persuade him by telling him that he’ll get money and respect. This beat is dope af. The hook isn’t bad. Oh shit. The beat just switched up. Holy FUCK. This shit is bananas. Jesus fuck. El-P is fuckin’ spazzing on this second verse. Good lord. He fucking annihilated that shit. Jesus. This song is fucked up. That shit got really dark. It was fucking incredible tho. God. It’s gonna be so hard to choose a favorite song. This shit is absolutely dope af. 5/5

Track 9: Accidents Don’t Happen Feat. Cage & Camu Tao

I’m not familiar with Camu Tao at all. I’ve heard of him tho. The only time I’ve ever heard Cage rap was on Maniac by Kid Cudi—great song by the way. Okay, this track is starting now. This beat is fucking insane. Jesus. Lmao. The production on this album is absolute madness. El-P’s flow on this first verse is dope. “City life is practice; casket truancy / That’s the rule of you and me; brash unmasked lunacy / Friends used to laugh fast, grasped little truth from me / Now they check their bags with a staff claspin’ Uzis.” I don’t even know what to say about El-P’s verses. It’s just fucking crazy. Like, I can’t believe an actual human being came up with this shit. “Trust is a commodity crushed by Pol Pottery / Your cookie cutter laws contain flaws in philosophy / Toppling down a flight of Escher, Bach steps: delight / ‘Cause the man who raped my sister won’t sleep right tonight.” How does one man think of all this complexed shit? AND he made all the beats too. That’s fucking insane. His verse was dope af. Cage is goin’ in now. His flow was really dope. This is some weird shit. This is like, conspiracy theory shit. They’re rapping about fuckin’ illuminati and new world order shit. There are vocal samples from the film adaptation of 1984. Camu Tao’s goin’ in now. His verse was cool. So, they’re all really paranoid about the government having total control over everything. I don’t know how seriously this track is meant to be taken. I enjoyed it tho. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 10: Stepfather Factory

This beat is dope af. I’m really not sure how I feel about this hook tho. I mean, in terms of the production. During the hook this loud ass, discordant guitar riff comes in and it just sounds like there’s way too much going on. It’s cacophonous. The beat’s great once the hook ends tho. Woah… This song is insane. I mean, the concept. Not just the production and the lyrics. The overall idea is just so wild. It’s so creative. There’s no other song out there like this. Basically, he’s rapping from the perspective of a salesman who’s trying to promote androids that function as stepfathers. The hook is actually growing on me too. It just takes some getting used to. Okay… This is my favorite song on the album so far. This is fucking amazing. This beat is genius. This whole song is genius. I don’t wanna spoil too much… “Before you start, there’s a few details that you must learn / Technical specs about your unit to make things run smooth / In an effort to find an energy source our company’s learned / The cheapest way to keep his battery running is with booze.” You can probably guess the direction this song takes from that quote. It’s a creative way of giving a critical opinion of abusive stepfathers. The outro is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard in a song. I won’t spoil it. It’s fucking awesome tho. It’s really dark. Especially if you read the “ACCEPTED COMMENT” in the genius annotation for it. This song is fucking brilliant. 5/5

Track 11: T.O.J.

This beat is dope. Oh fucking shit. Jesus… This song is way too relatable… I’m not even supposed to be talking about this shit… Um……… Okay, I guess I’m just gonna have to be kinda vague here… At the moment, this feels like the most relatable song I’ve ever heard. Oh man… This second half is too much. “Before I could become a grown man I had to lose my mind.” Fuck, man… Lmao. I really can’t explain more than this because I don’t wanna get myself in trouble. All you need to know is that this shit resonates with me way more than it should. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 12: Dr. Hellno & The Praying Mantus Feat. Vast Aire

Man, this album just got really dark, heavy and fucking emotional. It’s awesome tho. Maybe this track’ll be a little more lighthearted. It features Vast Aire, who was still in his prime at the time this track was recorded, so I’m sure I’ll love this song. It’s starting now. Vast Aire’s goin’ in now. He’s on the hook. Okay, yeah this is a much more lighthearted song. The subject matter isn’t really for me… “I could suck a cookie out a pussy when it’s soaking.” Um… Yeah… Nah… Jesus Christ. El-P’s verse is absolutely disgusting. “Star spangled mangler fuckbot / Add a money shot / Hit her in the shitter; I’m in it with K-Y liquid & double kitchen gloves.” What the fuck… “I’m wearin’ a dookie rope & some oven mitts / Suck clits like Vast Aire Vs. mother reminder / And that’s my B-boy alpha numeric vagina diner amalgam / Chick screamed so loud I could hear it on my last album.” Jesus fuck. It should come as no surprise that I’m not feelin’ this shit. Why the fuck would I wanna hear about this kinda stuff? “Get on your stomach & I’ll plug you in all your entrances & one exit.” I feel like I’m being violated just by listening to this shit. “I drank her bath water in a shot glass / Then ran my tongue up the crack of her ass ’til our future children hatched.” This dude is fucking disgusting. This is the kinda shit that makes me wish I didn’t have genitalia. Like, this seriously reverses my sex drive and makes me never wanna see another person ever again. I never wanna take off my clothes. I’m so uncomfortable right now. This might be worse than Tech N9ne when he raps about sex. This is the aural equivalent of Two Girls, One Cup. Vast Aire’s going in again now. What the hell? He’s not rapping about sex anymore. That verse was really dope. Why couldn’t the whole song be like that? Jesus. This song is fucking absurd. I can’t fuck with this shit. This is wack af to me. 1/5

Track 13: Lazerface’s Warning

This beat is nice. El’s flow on this shit is really dope. The lyrics are really confusing. I’m not sure what this song is actually about. It kinda sounds like he’s just rapping about… Well, I don’t know lol. I think I might have an idea, and it’s pretty generic for a Hip Hop song, but I’m not completely sure. Okay, this last verse is about something COMPLETELY different. Now he’s rapping about how mainstream attitudes in the media sexualize women and promote rape culture. Maybe he was rapping about that before and it just went over my head. I don’t know. I enjoyed the song tho. Especially the last verse, since I could actually understand what the fuck he was talking about. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 14: Innocent Leader

This is just an instrumental interlude. It’s cool. There isn’t a lot of replay value for me personally, but I enjoyed it. I’m not gonna rate it since it’s just an instrumental.

Track 15: Constellation Funk

This beat is dope. The first verse was awesome. “This is for the single maternal figures beaten to the floor / And crawled back for the children and stood up for more / And watched those same kids as adults / Got bullshit vinyl kites call their women whores.” The hook is nice. The second verse is even better than the first. “I know activists that pour their heart out to an audience that’s completely fucking complacent / God forbid we catch you back stage being human / Public image limited to the purity of your movement.” He just dissed the fuck out of Sole. “I know white rappers who claim they’re more artistic & advanced than the inner city tune is / Now you’re fucked up and can’t move units / ‘Cause you know nothing of the culture that created Hip Hop music.” This second verse is crazy. Fuck. There are so many lines I wanna quote. Okay, this’ll be the last thing I quote for this track. “Now I’m grown & I still can’t protect my sister / But I know she has her mother’s strength within her / And maybe I can tap that strength & flirt with greatness / Expose these alcoholic stepfathers and rapists.” This shit is dope af. 5/5

Track 16: Blood Feat. Mr. Lif & C-Rayz Walz

Okay, THIS is gonna be fucking awesome. I loved C-Rayz Walz’s verse on The Cold Vein, and I’ve heard great things about Mr. Lif too. Oh. Ha. C-Rayz Walz is just on the hook. Whatever. This beat is cool. El’s tellin’ a story about an interaction he had with his mother when he was a child. I’m not sure if this actually happened or if it was just a dream he had. The hook kinda sucks. The first verse was dope. Woah… Mr. Lif’s verse was awesome. I mean, I have no idea what the fuck most of it meant, but he sounded good and the lyrics are very eloquent and poetic. “I saw a dream float slow through the soluble hemoglobin / Where our love resembles loathing & the beast wears human clothing / And the thought of hope itself consists of suicidal fabric / I slip beyond myself into the realms of bad magic.” The verses from Mr. Lif & El-P were fantastic, but I wasn’t crazy about the hook or the beat. I still fuck with this song tho. This is dope. 4/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is really dope. The production is weird as FUCK. Like, sometimes it’s so experimental and strange that it just sounds like a bizarre cacophony. It takes some getting used to, but it always grew on me after a few seconds. The lyricism is fucking unbelievable. Like, I don’t understand how it’s possible for someone to be able to write this kinda stuff. I really use the word “amazing” too often in my reviews. The way he writes seriously is amazing tho. This isn’t an accessible album. The production can be very hard to get into, but it compliments most of the lyrical content really well. This album is fucking great.

Favorite Song: Stepfather Factory

Least Favorite Song: Dr. Hellno & The Praying Mantus

Verdict:

88%

80-89

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One comment

  1. This album is a 10/10 to me, to be honest. There isn’t a single song I dislike on here, and some songs I freakin’ love. This, his next album “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead”, and Run the Jewels solidified El-P as one of my favorite rappers.

    Favorite Track: either the Nang or Delorean (the Ill Bill part doesn’t bother me at all)

    Least Fav: T.O.J. It’s just the least-memorable to me.

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