El-P (born Jaime Meline and originally known as El Producto) is a heavyweight producer-turned-rapper with over two decades working in the music industry. Growing up as the son of the jazz pianist Harry Keyes, young El-P was inspired to pursue a career in music of his own. That passion was congealed even more so after being expelled from several schools in New York City for having an issue with authority. The Brooklyn-born artist first got his start with Company Flow, a duo he formed alongside Mr. Len and later Bigg Jus, going on to secure a label deal with Rawkus Records and releasing their full-length debut Funcrusher Plus in 1997. Following a series of headaches at the label, El-P broke away to form his own imprint Definitive Jux, securing critically acclaimed releases such as Aesop Rock‘s Labor Days and Cannibal Ox‘s The Cold Vein (which El-P also produced), allowing the label to Rise to prominence. Balancing his career as both the head of the independent label and as a solo artist proved to work in El-P’s favor, with his work ethic mixed with his hunger for creating music helping to sculpt his reputation as an innovative creator and businessman. As a producer, El-P is revered for his futuristic tendencies, drawing from his love for lo-fi sounds and his jazz influences alike. As a lyrical force, the rapper often questions the status quo and explores themes of existentialism, politics, paranoia, the nature of reality, and other topics commonly found in science fiction. With his latest venture Run the Jewels—supergroup formed along with Killer Mike in 2013—elevating his career to newfound levels of success, El-P is regarded as one of hip-hop’s most vibrant and brilliant contributors.

He has received critical acclaim for producing Killer Mike's recent album, Rap Music, and his latest solo album, Cancer 4 Cure has been praised by indie music blogs, with a lot of love for his latest single The Full Retard. I recently had a change to talk to El-P and learn more about him.
Why is it [inaudible 00:00:33] that 2012 is the time for El-P to really start getting the buzz going?
El-P: I'm assuming it's because the world's going to end.
Brian: Is that what it is? 2012, yeah.
El-P: If not that, then, I like to think that it's just that I've been putting in a lot of work for a long time and people are just digging what I'm doing. That's the uncynical perspective. The cynical perspective is that, right as I start to get rich, we're all going to die.
Brian: In this day and age, [inaudible 00:01:03] people look at white rappers [inaudible 00:01:04] or is it [inaudible 00:01:05] stigma about it being [inaudible 00:01:06] joke?
El-P: Just because I'm white, doesn't necessarily mean I'm an expert on white rap politics. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn. I always just do my thing. I never pretended to be anything I wasn't, and I think that's the only policy that really anyone in rap should hold themselves to and that's it. Corny is corny, and that's kind of how I look at it.
Brian: A lot of people praise your work for being more cerebral. It's not rapping about cars and bitches. You think mainstream hip-hop has [inaudible 00:01:44]?
El-P: Look man, people write what they know about or what they're interested in or whatever they're drawn towards. I just always knew that for me, I wanted a certain thing out of music, and what I wanted to bring to it, and if you do that, I think that if you just concentrate on your own voice, then those questions go away a little bit.
I have an appreciation for all sorts of music. I think that being whole man is important and being a whole person, and I don't present myself or consider myself to be more cerebral or interesting than anyone else. I just think that I'm just being true to my own voice, and therefore it'll be a little big different than some of that stuff because, shit, I'm me.

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