SOUNDSPOT: IT'S EL-P, NOT LP!
For those that don't recongnize the face, you are looking at a inedependent hiphop revolutionary! His name is Jaime Meline, but the headz know him as EL-P a.k.a Mr. CoFlow. Some credit him for being the real pioneer of the indie hiphop movement. That means without EL-P, artists like Mos Def, P. Monch and Talib Kweli would probably still be unknowns? Why? Because EL-P was the first official hiphop artist signed to Rawkus, which is considered the first New York indie hiphop label making major moves. EL-P had already made a name for himself selling his 1995 EP classic "Funcrusher" under his alias Company Flow. He sold approximately 30,000 records on his own without any help from anyone. After getting his distribution deal through the Rawkus label, EL-P music definitely changed the game. His unorthodoxed approach to making his music was unheard of at that time, so it changed the outlook of indie hiphop music forever. I must say that the Company Flow "Funcrusher EP" joint is a definite hiphop classic. During this time EL-P met Mr. Len at his 18th birthday party, and hired him on the spot to spin records for him. Eventually, EL-P and Mr. Len joined forces adding the Company Flow name. Soon after that EL-P met Bigg Jus, who was an aspiring emcee and he eventually joined the group as well. EL-P & Bigg Jus worked at the Tower Records music store by day, and they created music at night.
Then in 1997 the "Funcrusher Plus" album was released under the Priority Label, and then it was re-issued again in 2002 under the Rawkus Label. The Funcrusher Plus project included several tracks from the original EP and new material that included Bigg Jus. This classic album still rates high on my best hiphop albums of all times list. A must have for true hiphop heads!
Rawkus was first label to put EL-P in the limelight, but all great ventures must come to an end. Long story short, Rawkus ran into some financial problems in their later years, so EL-P broke wide and started his own label he called Definitive Jux a.k.a Def Jux. After severing ties with Mr. Len and Jus, he dropped the Company Flow moniker, and started rolling with the name EL-P. Def Jux has some interesting characters on the label. Many of them are just as diverse as EL-P, when it comes to their subject matter and beat choices. The Def Jux artists seem to enjoy going left while everyone else is deliberately going right. Being a potential hiphop trendsetter is challenging work that takes creative thinking, which rarely gets recognized for its groundbreaking outcome. A few of my favorite artists on the Def Jux label are Mr. Lif, Cannibal Ox and Aesop Rock. The Def Jux crew members have been causing much havoc on the underground hiphop scene for years now. Many of them have branched off into their own cult fan followings, but they'll never forget the man that started it all. It's a shame though that even after all of his revolutionary contributions to the hiphop world, he is still not a household name to many rap fans?
For those hiphop fans that have missed out on EL-P's music and the Def Jux movement, it's never too late get on the bandwagon.
Checkout the Def Jux website, and get more familiar with EL-P and the rest of the Jukies.
Company Flow albums here!