Album Review | El-P – Cancer 4 Cure

This album was released on May 22nd in the year of our lord 2012. This is the final solo album from El-P. I’m hoping he releases another solo album in the future, even though I love what he’s been doing with Run the Jewels. I’ve never heard this album, but I think I’m gonna love it. It received critical acclaim when it was released 7 years ago. I really don’t have much to say about it before listening. I’m just really looking forward to it. Every song is self produced.

1. Request Denied

The production on this track is fucking phenomenal. It sounds kind of electronic and futuristic. I like how he lets the beat breathe for a while before he actually starts rapping. His verse doesn’t start until the final third of the song. His verse is really great. I feel like his flow has improved a lot. There’s only one verse on this track, but it’s dope. I don’t really have much to say about this track. It’s got a very simplistic structure. I don’t have any issues with it at all. I think it’s dope af.

2. The Full Retard

This song was the lead single from the album. I really like the Camu Tao sample he flipped for the hook. The production on this track is fucking incredible too. It’s even better than that of the opening track. The first verse from El-P is really dope. I like how aggressive his delivery is. That last line about gerbilling was great. The second verse was dope too, but the way the beat switches up for the final verse is fucking awesome. He killed that shit too. This song is even better than the previous track. I don’t have any gripes. This shit is dope af.

3. Works Every Time featuring Paul Banks

Man, the production on this album is fucking immaculate so far. This beat is absolutely phenomenal. El-P’s flow on this track isn’t that impressive, but they lyrics are dope. He’s rapping from the perspective of someone who’s fiending for drugs in order to escape from reality. I can definitely relate. I really love the hook.

It’s like a fresh start to a new world
And I already want to go home

It’s kind of depressing and fucked up. It reminds me of how I felt during my first year of college when I was super depressed and would skip class to just smoke weed all day. The second verse is pretty good. I like the song. It’s definitely my least favorite track so far, but I still think it’s really good. It just didn’t blow me away like the other tracks have. It’s dope though. I fuck with this.

4. Drones Over Bklyn

The previous track transitions into this one pretty nicely. Once again, the production is top notch. The first verse on this track is great. I love El-P’s flow during these lines…

Pardon me son I’m zoned out, cloned out
No doubt home is, blowed out
Sold out without extra man bonus

The hook is nothing special, but it gets the job done. A couplet in the second verse reminds me of that infamous line where he said he’d rather be mouth fucked by nazis unconscious than sign to Rawkus.

I’d sooner wash my dick in acid than ask what you think
I’ll fuck myself with a stun gun before gassing your team

I love that shit. The second verse is great. The way the instrumental transforms during the final quarter of the song is really awesome too. This is another fantastic song. I don’t have any issues with it. It’s dope af.

5. Oh Hail No featuring Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire & Danny Brown

This is one of the most intriguing songs on the tracklist for obvious reasons. I’m personally more excited about the Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire feature than the Danny Brown one, but I’m sure they both have great contributions to this track. It’s starting now. As I’ve stated with every song on this album so far, the futuristic, electronic production is absolutely glorious. The first verse from El-P is cool, but a lot of the lines went over my head. I have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about with some of these lines…

Originator decay, caterwaul brand, Dawn Treader rising
Hollow man bop, gliding
Shuffle through the tides of slime smiling
Could be the high or just mind control dying

Holy… fucking mother… of… fuck… Jesus Christ. Sweet lord in heaven. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire absolutely obliterated that second verse. Gotdamn. His flow was absolutely beautiful. This is so fucking awesome. His verse was far less esoteric lyrically, so I got everything he was trying to say. He slaughtered this shit. I love the way the production switches up for Danny’s verse. He fucking killed it too. Honestly, El-P actually had my least favorite verse. eXquire had my favorite verse, and Danny was somewhere in between the two. They all did a great job though. This is definitely my favorite track so far. This shit is dope af.

6. Tougher Colder Killer featuring Killer Mike & Despot

Along with the previous track, this is one of the more intriguing songs in the tracklist. This track has yet another amazing beat. El-P’s flow on the first verse is fantastic. He’s rapping from the perspective of a soldier who is remorseful for killing. He was really moved by something his victim said to him right before dying. This is a really cool track. I really like the weird vocal effect El-P uses for the hook. Good fucking God. The production on this track is pure insanity. The way it switches up for the second verse is amazing. I love the way they all start trading verses at this point in the song. I couldn’t have asked for two better features for this track because Mike & Despot killed this shit. This is another amazing song that I have zero issues with. This shit is dope af.

7. True Story

This track has more stellar production. I’m about halfway through the song right now. I’m enjoying it sonically, but I have pretty much no idea what the hell El-P is talking about.

Hope in the throws, cope or choke on a hose
Pokers roast in the coals, misanthropic and cold

The second verse was cool. There’s not really a hook or bridge or anything like that. This is definitely the most underwhelming song on the album so far, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It just doesn’t impress me as much as most of the other songs. There’s not a lot going on. I’d probably be more impressed if I actually understood the lyrics. I think it’s enjoyable though. I fuck with it.

8. The Jig Is Up

The production on this track is really great. I think this is a really relatable idea for a song. El-P’s seriously questioning why his significant other likes being with him. The first verse is really dope. The hook is really simplistic, but the way the beat evolves is awesome. The second verse is really good too. I don’t really have much to say about this track. There’s not really that much going on with it. I think it’s a really good song though. I don’t really have any issues with it. It’s not as amazing as most of the other songs, but I like it. This is dope to me.

9. Sign Here

The transition from the previous track into this one is super seamless. I love the production on this song. Man… The lyrics on the first verse of this song are kind of disturbing… It’s like he’s rapping about some super weird, kinky, 50 Shades of Grey type shit. I guess it could be a metaphor for getting fucked by the government. It’s probably not that deep though. Damn… That second verse is so fucked up… The way he flips the meaning of the word “yes” is ingenious honestly. This song is fucking wild. It’s the shortest track on the album, but it doesn’t feel incomplete. I really like this track. It’s dope af.

10. For My Upstairs Neighbor (Mum’s the Word)

I love the electronic production on this track. Wow. I just listened to this entire song… This shit is fucking incredible. It reminds me of Stepfather Factory in a way. Basically, the first verse is El-P telling some cops who are trying to interrogate him to fuck off. They’re asking him about a murder that occurred, and he’s not snitching. In the second verse he raps about how the murderer is a woman who was being abused by her significant other who she ended up killing. The entire song is about how El-P won’t tell anybody what she did because he believes it was justified. I love the production, and I even liked the sung hook from El-P. I think this is one of the best songs on the album. This shit is dope af.

11. Stay Down featuring Nick Diamonds

Goddamn. The dark production on this track is fucking glorious. El-P’s flow on the first verse is fantastic too. He killed that shit. The hook from Nick Diamonds sounds really great too. The second verse from El-P is phenomenal. It’s even better than the first verse. This is another one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. I love the production, and El-P’s flow on this track is outstanding. I guess I don’t actually have much to say about this song. I just think it’s really amazing. This shit is dope af.

12. $4 Vic / Nothing But You + Me (FTL)

Man, the production on this track is absolutely stellar. The first verse is pretty dope. The hook is fantastic. I love the weird background vocals. The way the beat evolves throughout this track is amazing. Especially after the first recital of the hook. The second verse is incredible. This song is fucking crazy. I love both parts of this song. The production is marvelous. This is a hell of an outro. I have no issues with this song at all. I think it’s amazing.

This album is incredible. There’s not a single average song on this project. Almost every song blew me away. I think this is El-P’s best album. I don’t even know what to say about it. I think it’s damn near perfect. I don’t have any gripes with it at all. This is definitely one of the best albums that came out in 2012. It’s amazing. I live for this shit. This album is dope af.

Favorite Song: For My Upstairs Neighbor (Mum’s the Word)
Least Favorite Song: True Story


Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album.

Grade: A

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