Friday, January 25, 2008

Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein

I'm by no means an expert on hip-hop and even though I've been into it since I was a kid, it's never been the prevailing genre of my interest. I'm trying to stick to more under the radar albums and rarities on this blog, but listening to this record on the way to work the other day inspired me to post it. I hold The Cold Vein up in the same regard I hold Enter the 36 Chambers, '93 'til Infinity, The Low End Theory and other cornerstone hip-hop records in my life. I felt it was an instant classic when it dropped in 2001 and while many other records from that period have aged VERY poorly, this one is as relevant as ever.

Taking a cue from experimental rap pioneers Company Flow, Cannibal Ox crafted (with the help of Flow's El-P) one of the true gems from the late 90's/early '00's much-hyped "indie hip-hop" movement fueled by labels like Def Jux, Anticon and Stones Throw. The Cold Vein starts out with a muffled sample from the film "The Big Chill" and busts straight into "Iron Galaxy," a 5 minute track with NO choruses, just verse after verse of MC's Vast Aire and Vordual Mega hurriedly declaring their domination of modern hip-hop. The pace is set from there - 15 tracks of insane metaphors and fantastic verbiage about the earth, love, space, anxiety, New York City and of course, the rap game. I've always appreciated the honesty of the lyrical content on this record and while many dudes brag and boast about getting girls, Can Ox penned what is probably the greatest song about getting stuck in the 'friend zone,' aptly titled "The F-Word." Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but I haven't since related to a hip-hop record the way I do The Cold Vein and though it's a bummer the possibility of another Can Ox record is slim, sometimes things are just not in the cards. Regardless, you need this record.

Life's Ill.

Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cannibal Ox is incredibly good. They kind of faded away after the release of this album and people just forgot about them. What you said about 2000 - 2003 being the most important years you were a part of hardcore in the American Nightmare post, and I feel the same way but for all of music. The groups I was finding out during that time were just so fucking good, exciting, and fun. Everything seemed new. Lately, I have really been longing to go back to that time.