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Thursday, September 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 51.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Paper
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El-P: Cancer4Cure
(Fat Possum)

Only in a broken world could El-P's self-contained, paranoid universe be as fun as it is. "You've been trained to withstand pain, and that's the only way my crazy is not killing you," the rapper-producer El-P tells a suspected spy on "The Jig Is Up," from his new solo album Cancer4Cure.

Amid the immaculately dark synth work and harsh beats, El-P's persona proves its emotional range. "For My Upstairs Neighbor" shows compassion, albeit in a warped, Taxi Driver sense: "If you kill him, I won't tell," he tells a neighbor whose husband beats her.

Mostly he revels in his New York, a city that's constantly slipping into darkly comic dystopia. He uses a piano sample to give "Drones Over Bklyn" a diseased, supremely funky feel, and the hook on "The Full Retard" urges you to "pump this shit, like they do in the future." Assuming there is a future - the record begins with a merciless track called "Request Denied."

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