An underground hip-hop masterpiece from the ’00s, The Cold Vein is the debut album from Harlem-based duo Cannibal Ox, produced by Company Flow’s El-P (later Run the Jewels). Released just four months before 9-11, the album was perfectly timed for a post-apocalyptic New York and has been described as sounding “as if it were the soundtrack for an unmade film, much as the work Eno made in the 1970s.” Abstract and futuristic, El-P’s production features familiar (Ramsey Lewis, Giorgio Moroder, Jaco Pastorius, Dexter Wansel, Philip Glass, Beaver & Krause), but totally tripped-out samples often stretched and pitched down to create an evocatively unsettling feeling. Not to mention, Vast Aire and Vordul Mega’s rhymes cut deep as well, with the characters and stories in their bars serving up autobiographical snapshots of the duo’s life in the New York ghettos. “Where I come from, it’s technically war every day. You could die getting a candy bar,” Vast Aire shares in the behind-the-scenes video.
Recommended – Full Listen
Tags: Cult Classic / Experimental / Industrial