July 26, 2018

Company Flow "Funcrusher Plus" (CMJ, 1997)

Every couple of years a record comes along that has the potential to shake up the rap world, or at least make it reconsider its direction. Whether said record actually accomplishes this goal is, of course, a matter of how much exposure it receives. With that in mind, let's hope that the whole world gets a chance to hear the debut album from New York City's proud underground sons, Company Flow. Comprised of El-P (who produces most of the material here), Bigg Jus and their DJ Mr. Len, this trio takes 1997's bloated, materialistic rap aesthetic and stomps on it until it's left with rap's DNA: beats and lyrical skills. Using the rawest and hardest drums imaginable with lots of claustrophobic background static, these rappers mow down track after track with their slashing wit, mind-bending metaphors, headstrong sense of purpose and cutthroat flows, constantly challenging other rappers (especially major-label ones), as well as the notion of hip-hop as a way of life. Going out on a limb like this is risky, but Co-Flow has arrived, and it looks like the group plans on staying for a while. This is hands-down the most important rap release of 1997 thus far. - CMJ New Music Monthly (September, 1997). Unfortunately, Funcrusher Plus isn't available on any of the streaming sites, so just dig into the archives for other related content instead. Damn you, Rawkus.