El-P with Killer Mike in Vancouver (Live) [Photos/Review]
Vancouver, BC – A dark and rainy night might not be most people’s choice for a July 2nd evening, but it did make for a fitting background to the El-P show Monday night at Fortune Sound Club. Known for spitting paranoid, end of the world rhymes, a live show featuring El Producto wouldn’t have gone over the same with a bright and sunny backdrop.
Starting the show off early were openers Despot and Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire. Despot, a rapper from Queens best known for his appearances on Das Racist songs, put on a stellar show showcasing some tight flows and great between-song banter.
Not having much awareness about Despot before this show his performance definitely inspired me to get to know more.
Mr Muthfuckin eXquire came with a relatively short but energetic set. He has quite the stage presence and came across as trashy and loveable at the same time. The highlight of his set was the inclusion of his hit “Huzzah” which garnered the greatest crowd response. Judging by the nodding of ball caps during these two acts’ sets, the era of Def Jux may be over in name but definitely not in spirit.
Coming up as a co-headliner of sorts was Killer Mike. Having just dropped R.A.P. Music (which was produced entirely by EL-P) he brought a energetic set of southern Crunk and Trap beats rounded out with hardcore political flows. Mike’s political edge was best presented with the track “Reagan” which breaks down the Reagan era’s impact on America and had the Canadian crowd enthusiastically holding up their middle fingers in unison chanting “Fuck Reagan.”
The only downfall in Mike’s energetic set was the fact he seemed to be running out of breath on a lot of the songs and relying on backing vocals to fill in some of the gaps in his flow, but this didn’t seem to matter to the hardcore fans who chanted along enthusiastically to tracks like “I never scared.” The mostly-male fanbase was also treated to a early appearance by EL-P who hit the stage to drop his verse for the track “Butan.e” Despite a few problems with flow and breath control Mike proved to bea force on the mic and definitely someone who could hold his own as a headliner.
When it came time for the headlining set, El-P didn’t skimp on production value – he has taken the paranoid sound of “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” to even greater heights with tracks like “The Full Retard” (on which he was joined on stage by the squirrel puppet from the music video) and “Drones Over Brooklyn.” Playing a set of material culled mostly form his new album Cancer for a Cure as well as the odd sprinkling of tracks from previous works, El-P kept the sound deafening and blistering from start to finish.
Joining El on stage were two musicians adding keyboard riffs and guitar solos to the already dense sound of his sinister production. The addition of the live element added just the right ingredients to keep the music fresh and to give fans familiar with El-Ps work something to keep them on their toes. Killer Mike returned partway into the set to join El-P as a hype man, concreting the incredible chemistry these two have as musical partners.
El Producto proved on this night that just as back in the day he continues to be just as bright of a light in the underground of hip-hop as he ever was. I hope he doesn’t stop bringing that “Fantastic Damage.”
Written by Yung Dad for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands