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Baker's Dozen

13 Steps To Perfection: El-P's Favourite Albums
Kyle Ellison , October 17th, 2012 12:16

The rapper, producer and Definitive Jux head honcho rifles through his racks and picks out his top 13 records

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Read through El-P’s Baker’s Dozen selections and you’re likely to ascertain several things. Even if you had no prior knowledge of his now twenty-year rap career, his list speaks volumes about time and location, as well as the sonic details that have informed his distinctive, hard-hitting productions. All but three of his 13 chosen records were released in the 80s, while seven of them can be traced back to his origins in New York. In these respects you could say El was lucky; growing up in Brooklyn in the mid- to late-80s he caught the evolution of hip hop first hand, while living in a neighbourhood that was diverse and vibrant enough to bring the city’s other innovations into his peripheral vision.

El-P admits hating the process of listing records, but for the most part based his choices around records that felt formative for him. As he discusses them, what shines through is his childhood wonder at discovering unfamiliar sounds and figuring out where they came from. But again, living in Brooklyn, El was never far away from the answers.

“A lot of these records came from just being and living in the neighbourhood,” he says. “You’d hear this kind of music coming from cars and from boomboxes y’know? Because I come from that era of the advent of boomboxes, obviously I was very young, but I remember people walking around the streets with these giant boomboxes, some of them with turntables in them.”

Of course, rap music is close to El’s heart and is never too far from this list, but there is also a solid strand of synth music and the eerie film scores that fascinated him as a child. By now, El-P has proven himself as a visionary producer in his own right, but read on for a glimpse at the records which shaped him.

Click on the image of El below to start scrolling through his choices.


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Oct 17, 2012 8:25pm

Yo! excellent diverse list!

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Oct 17, 2012 8:41pm

cheers for two prince records

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Lucia Lanigan
Oct 17, 2012 9:16pm

‘Beats to the Rhyme’ – Wu Tang four years early!

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Oct 18, 2012 1:15am

LOL not that diverse but ok he's a rapper

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Mitch 3K
Oct 18, 2012 7:33am

In reply to :

I saw 5 different genres of music on the list, it's diverse enough quit being negative. Most Rock artists will list almost all rock albums, most rappers will list mostly rap albums, etc etc.... This list was diverse

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Oct 18, 2012 8:17am

Purple Rain? The greatest movie in the world? Really?

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Oct 18, 2012 9:12am

Tougher Than Leather the movie is right here...

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Oct 18, 2012 10:49am

At last, some respect for Prince 'Parade'. Such a great album. Songs like Mountains, New Position and the obvious like Girls & Boys, Kiss. Sometimes It Snows In April has to be one of my fav Prince songs.

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Oct 18, 2012 1:36pm

In reply to Mitch 3K:

LOL ok for the poor white boy rapper its a diverse list, except its really not

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Oct 18, 2012 3:21pm

In reply to :

i'm sure it's an interesting point you're trying to make. I'll probably LOL about it later

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Oct 19, 2012 12:22am

What a great list. And what a total lack of attitude - he's just like "wow, these are records i love" with zero "i'm so smart and hip, check out these smart and hip selections".

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Erasmus Hell
Oct 19, 2012 6:19pm

Nice list-- tho' for the sake of EL-P's Brooklyn heritage I'll remind him that 'Alan Vega' of Suicide is actually fellow Brooklyn weirdo Boruch Alan Bermowitz... who graduated from Brooklyn College in ** 1960 **!!! Not sure what high school Alan went to... anyone know?

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Oct 20, 2012 1:05pm

In reply to Lucia Lanigan:

With all due respect, it sounds nothing like Wu Tang.

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Oct 21, 2012 5:45pm

In reply to :

The guy's a producer. His records collection is larger and more diverse than your mp3s procured from dubious source will ever be.

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Dec 7, 2012 12:22pm

Album of the yeaAlbuAlbum of the year!m of the year!r! Scottsdale Maid Service

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