Maybe the best comment on 1998 underground hip-hop classic Funcrusher Plus comes after Company Flow’s Bigg Juss spouts a stream of seemingly random letters and numbers in “Population Control.” If you don’t understand, Juss explains, “this isn’t for you, so fuck you.” Full of “quit your label” sermonizing, muddy minimalist beats, and nearly non-stop, polysyllabic verbiage, hip-hop collective Co Flow’s only real album is proudly anticommercial and inaccessible. Every scrawny toehead claiming to be a lyrical assassin in language culled from OED’s dusty pages owes something to CF mastermind El-P, and he condenses a lifetime’s worth of metaphors and battle rhymes into 70 minutes here, so expect to spend some time with this. The remastered edition might clear up a few enunciation issues, but the production work remains as raw as ever. Main producer El-P builds instrumentals from just enough stripped-down RZA harps and ambient synth blips to provide the illusion of song structure; the beat’s main purpose is to stay the hell out of the way once the lyrics start. It’s scientifically impossible to dance to this shit, but if you like your hip-hop dense and cerebral, Funcrusher is required listening.
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