Album Review | El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead

This album was released on March 20th in the year of our lord 2007. I’m going into this project completely blind. There was a five year time gap between this project and Fantastic Damage, so I’m not expecting it to sound anything like that project. I’m pretty excited to see where he went with this album. I really liked that High Water instrumental album that he dropped in 2004. I doubt this’ll be anything like that though. Anyway, every song is self produced.

1. Tasmanian Pain Coaster featuring Omar Rodríguez-López & Cedric Bixler-Zavala

This beat is pretty cool. It has that signature electronic sound that El-P’s most known for. The first verse was sufficient. It shouldn’t blow anyone away, but it works. The musical passage between the hook and the second verse is really nice. This production’s really cool. The way the second verse kinda echoes in is awesome. He killed that verse too. This shit is really dope. It’s a pretty hard hitting opener to the album. I fuck with this shit.

2. Smithereens (Stop Cryin’)

The production on this track is fucking awesome. The hook’s kinda rough, but it’s not that bad I guess. It’s just kind of annoying. The way he stops every four bars to repeat that “crying” refrain is annoying as hell. The actual rapping is really good though. That line he had about God being dusted out of his mind was cool. The music video was kinda cool too. I feel like I’d like this a lot more if it weren’t for that hook. The beat’s great though, and he rapped his ass off. This shit is dope.

3. Up All Night

The production on this album is really noisy so far. It’s probably pretty off-putting to a lot of people. I kinda like it though. This beat in particular isn’t that impressive, but it’s definitely not bad. I really don’t have much to say about this track. I enjoyed it about as much as the previous song. The verses are cool, and the hook’s not bad. Nothing about it really stands out that much. I like how aggressive it is. It’s a dope song. I fuck with it.

4. EMG

The previous track transitions into this one really smoothly. This is one of the most accessible beats I’ve heard from El-P. It’s dope. The title stands for “Everything Must Go.” The first verse was really good. The sounds that come in between the second recital of the hook and the second verse sound like a fucking robot dinosaur having an orgasm. The second verse is great. This is better than the previous couple tracks in my opinion. It’s really dope.

5. Drive

The way the previous track segued into this one was pretty smooth. This beat is awesome. The way El-P’s rapping about cars and driving is really cool. This song definitely has the best hook on the album so far too. The way the beat evolved during the final verse was really amazing. This is definitely a standout track. I know I didn’t really say much about it, but that’s because I don’t really have any gripes with it. It’s dope af.

6. Dear Sirs

This is the shortest song on the album. It’s only about a minute and a half long, but it’s really cool. The production is noisy and abrasive, and the entire track is just one verse in which El-P declares that he will never fight in the War on Terror. He lists a shit ton of fantastical hypothetical situations that are apparently more likely. It’s a dope song. Not one of my favorites, but I enjoyed it.

7. Run the Numbers featuring Aesop Rock

I really like this aggressive production. Same goes for El’s flow on the first verse. The second verse from Aesop Rock was pretty good too. The way El-P incorporated that sample from the Kill Bill movie was awesome. The hook is cool, and the third verse from El-P was nice. The outro is pretty nice too. This is another really good song. It’s not one of my favorites, but there’s not really anything that I didn’t like about it. This is dope.

8. Habeas Corpses (Draconian Love) featuring Cage

I’m not as familiar with Cage as I’d like to be. I really like his verse on Maniac by Kid Cudi though. The beat on this track sounds like a bunch of planes flying overhead. I like the way the verses are structured on this track, especially after the second recital of the hook. The production is super abrasive. This is a really morbid song. The dystopian lyrics are kind of nightmarish. The back and forth rapping between Cage & El-P is awesome. This reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984. It’s really dope. I fuck with this.

9. The Overly Dramatic Truth

This is definitely one of the best songs on the album so far. The production is less harsh than a lot of the other tracks. It’s actually kind of melodic. I really like El-P’s flow on this track too. He’s rapping about a relationship with a girl that didn’t end up working out. The hook is pretty great. There’s really nothing I dislike about this track. I think this song is phenomenal. This shit is dope af.

10. Flyentology featuring Trent Reznor

I think I used to like a few songs by Nine Inch Nails when I was going through my goth phase. I’m not really into Rock music anymore, but I like to think I’m pretty open minded. I’m not really feelin’ Trent’s vocals at the beginning of this track. It’s not like they’re totally unbearable though. They’re definitely tolerable. Well… Actually, the more I listen to it the less I like it. The first verse from El-P is cool. Ugh… Yeah… I’m gonna be honest… This shit isn’t for me. I just don’t really care for the way this song is structured, and that hook is really bad to me. I wouldn’t call this wack, but I don’t think I’d call it good either. This is mediocrity.

11. No Kings

This beat is really fuckin’ dope. El-P’s fuckin’ rappin’ his ass off on this first verse. I love the chants of “Go!” in the background. This shit is fucking awesome. The hook is an uncredited feature from Tame One of Artifacts. This is definitely gonna be another contender for my favorite track. It’s got a pretty traditional structure. I have no gripes with this track. This shit is dope af.

12. The League of Extraordinary Nobodies

This track obviously gets its title from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The way he has the live studio audience sound effects in this song is really cool. The production is dope. The verses are rapped from the perspective of someone doing cocaine. It’s an entertaining song. It’s pretty short though. It’s not as great as the previous track, but it’s still good. This shit is dope.

13. Poisenville Kids No Wins / Reprise (This Must Be Our Time) featuring Cat Power

This is the longest track on the entire album. The production on this track is electronic with some slight jazz influence. It’s not too different from the rest of the beats on the album. El-P’s rapping his ass off on this track. He killed the verses. The vocals from Cat Power towards the end of the song aren’t that impressive, but they work. They’re sufficient. The final two minutes of this track are just an instrumental outro. It’s completely different from the first one. I think I like it more than the first one to be honest. It’s really dope. This is a good song. I don’t really have any gripes. It’s dope.

This album is kinda great. The abrasive production isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed this project a lot. I don’t think it blew anyone away when they heard it like FanDam did. It’s a really good album though. I don’t know why this project isn’t on Apple Music. I had to download it from SoundCloud. I kinda don’t even know what to say about it. It’s not really that different from FanDam. I’m just ready to hear his 2012 album. I’ve heard really great things about it. This shit is dope though. I fuck with this album.

Favorite Song: The Overly Dramatic Truth
Least Favorite Song: Flyentology




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