def jux presents one half-hour of the best underground hip-hop since rawkus left the minors. unfortunately, it's likely to be the last tracks to be released by company flow because they split-up in late 2000. at the same time, cannibal ox proves that they are ready to pick up where the pioneering company flow left off. of course, with el-p (company flow) producing all of the cannibal ox tracks, you know that it will have the same gritty, urban, chaotic sound that company flow was renown for. as most underground heads will say though, it's the lyricism that truly shines on this release. besides having a sick flow, vast aire and shamar of cannibal ox absolutely kill their two tracks, especially "iron galaxy" which has a spaced-out beat and ill lyrics about living/growing-up in new york.
"you were a still born baby/ mother didn't want you, but you were still born/ boy meets world, of course his pops is gone/ what you figure?/ that chalky outline on the ground is a father figure?/ so he steps to the next stencil/ that's a hustler infested with money and diamond cluster/ let's talk in layman terms/ rotten apples and big worms/ early birds and poachers/ new york is evil at it's core/ so those who have more then them, prepare to be victims." - iron galaxy, cannibal ox
el-p flexes his lyrical prowess on this release as well, showing that his unique machine-gun flow can handily carry a track without former partner mr. len. on "simple", el-p sends the rest of the industry packing stating, "running around downtown brooklyn getting chased by the big kids/ now as a man, i don't run much/ still have the same clique/ there are very few people i meet in this world that can measure up with..."
as a lyricist, aesop rock rocks "kill em all" over a simple beat, bass, and scratch track. this track is a great contrast to the heavily produced el-p tracks, with aesop showing that he is also a talented emcee. RJD2 has an instrumental track that is a rocking interlude between the gritty company flow and cannibal ox beats. the guitar, horns, and flute loops sound great between the other hard-hitting vocal tracks.
all-in-all, watch out for def jux. these cats are helping to re-invent hip-hop for the new millennium. kudos to company flow for getting the label together and bringing out incredible talent like cannibal ox, mr. lif, aesop rock, and RJD2.