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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

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.