El-P has reissued his full solo catalog via Fat Possum Records. Today, rapper/producer and co-founder of Run The Jewels has released I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, via streaming services. The album features collaborations with friends and peers Trent Reznor, Mars Volta, Cat Power and more, in addition to musical contributions from James McNew (Yo La Tengo), guitarist Matt Sweeney, and the late Ikey Owens.
Long before the arrival of Run The Jewels, El-P was a well known independent hip-hop as both a rapper and producer, beginning with his founding of the pioneering group Company Flow, who first rose to prominence in the underground of NYC’s 90s golden era and then as the first major release from the legendary Rawkus Records.
EL-P on I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead
“This record means a lot to me. really, it’s a collection of short stories written from multiple perspectives… different characters living in the same confused, askew city of ‘Poisenville.’ no one is right in these stories and no one has the moral high ground but everyone is trying to keep themselves from suffocating under the weight of their own reality and faults. a guy on a train asks a question he doesn’t really want answered… a concentration camp guard flirts with morality and ultimately chooses obedience… an older, pessimistic man thinks he’s doing the right thing by ending his relationship with a younger, optimistic woman but cant help but self aggrandize…a young man responds angrily to a draft letter… a lost soul is trying to find connections in a party scene only to realize he’s more alone than ever… an atheist makes an emergency plea to god on a plane that he knows he hasn’t earned… a man sits on a brooklyn stoop at dawn fully realizing his own bullshit self justifications and rejects them… it’s littered with darkness and doubt but ultimately it’s about redemption. it’s about the decision not to succumb to the darkest ideas we have about what we are. i’ll sleep when you’re dead began as what i imagined the city of ‘Poisenville’ was saying to its inhabitants as a retort to being called a ‘city that never sleeps,’ but it ends with the discovery of something bigger than the maze of inner turmoil these characters feel: a resolve to fight for life, even if it’s someone else’s.”
I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead
1. Tasmanian Pain Coaster (featuring Omar Rodríguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala)
2. Smithereens (Stop Cryin)
3. Up All Night
6. Dear Sirs
7. Run the Numbers (featuring Aesop Rock)
8. Habeas Corpses (Draconian Love) (featuring Cage)
9. The Overly Dramatic Truth
9. Flyentology (featuring Trent Reznor)
10. No Kings
11. The League of Extraordinary Nobodies
12. Poisenville Kids No Wins / Reprise (This Must Be Our Time) (featuring Cat Power)