A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to call up rapper/producer, Jaime Meline (aka: EL-P) on the phone and speak to him from his home in Brooklyn. I was conducting an interview with EL-Producto for a print magazine and, as our conversation exceeded both the allotted time slot set aside for the interview and the maximum word count for the article, a few things became increasingly apparent. EL is a perfectionist and takes pride in every minute aspect of his work. Not only is this true as far as his own albums are concerned–they have consistently taken 5 years to be released, from one to the next–or the work that he produces for others, but there’s also a great attention to detail when it comes to his live tours and every other aspect in everything else that he’s involved with. These weren’t huge revelations; his dedication is always strikingly evident in the final product, but the passion in his voice and within every single detail of every answer was undeniable. In regards to his work ethic and throughout much of his subject matter, Meline is a very serious character. He doesn’t take his work or the necessary focus that it takes to create it lightly. However, EL is also comically cynical at times and always manages to buffer any abrasiveness with tongue-in-cheek winks and nods to his audience, letting everyone know that, while he clearly observes and relays plenty of material that could be considered tragic, conspiratorial, and/or anxiety-inducing, there’s an absurd humor to these extremes that is never lost on the Definitive Jux label founder. His first official video from his recent full-length, Cancer For Cure, displays this tongue-in-cheek view of chaos and tragedy as poignantly as anything that we’ve seen from him up until this point and, featuring a sample from the late-Camu Tao‘s “When You’re Going Down,” it also works to display another defining characteristic of Meline: his undying dedication and appreciation for the artists/friends around him.
Over the years, Producto has shown that, even when it comes to his music videos, he expects the end result to be top notch. Back in the 90s, his old crew, Company Flow released a video for the track “End to End Burners” that featured graffiti script turning 3-dimensional and traveling throughout the subway tunnels of New York City. His debut solo effort, Fantastic Damage (2002), launched a terrific video for “Deep Space 9mm” that saw Producto constantly held at radioactive-gun point by various characters as he went through his daily routine, along with as an expertly animated sci-fi robot horror story for the track “Stepfather Factory“. 2007‘s highly visceral I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead spawned both a Guantanamo Bay-themed video for “Smithereens,” involving Meline being subjected to various tortures and another crazy animated video for the song “Flyentology” (featuring Trent Reznor). For the lead up to the release of Cancer For Cure, short trailers have appeared that feature such content as a slow-mo romantic embrace resulting in a man being tazed in the dick and another one with a pill-popping, hamburger chomping, dope-slamming, moon-rock-humping, astronaut bugging out in space. Now, with the single “The Full Retard” comes the first official full-length video and it’s fucking ridiculous.
For those of you who are only aware of director Peter Jackson from his work on the the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the films that followed, it’s important to let you know that he produced one of the most over-the-top gory films of all time with “Dead Alive” (aka: “Braindead” outside of North America) in 1992, before he was making family friendly films. Even more importantly, he released a Muppet Show parody called Meet the Feebles 3 years earlier, where-in puppets were addicted to heroin, contracted life threatening STDs, and were involved in a graphic mass homicide with an automatic weapon. This video for “The Full Retard” isn’t dissimilar, showcasing a joyride with EL-P and a battered looking squirrel-like character, it contains prostitution, gun-play, and plenty of narcotics scattered and spilling all over the dashboard. Also, look out for cameos by El-Producto cohorts like Killer Mike. If this is up your alley, you should probably toss Meet the Feebles into your Netflix cue immiediately, before you forget about it.