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Live Review: EL-P

8 February 2013 | 3:03 pm | Ava Nirui

El-P barely came up for air as he uninterruptedly spat his cold rhymes, igniting the crowd’s engrossment and passion towards the show.

Reminiscent of a harsher reproduction of Elzhi's flawless flow combined with the intensely lush electronic beats of EDiT, El-P's penetrating live presence resonated with the Oxford Art Factory crowd, his immersion in the live show being successfully simulated in the audience. With a unique instrumental set up, featuring two very fervent DJs fully equipped with multiple synths, electric guitars, bongo drums and a cymbal, their theatrical live presence complimented El-P and his sidekick hype man's explosive relentless energy. Diving into the dense group chants of 'Pump this shit!', El-P rhymed every phrase of The Full Retard with insistent conviction, retaining an effortless panache as if he was freestyling every word. Representing a wide span of his back catalogue dating as far back as 2002, the producer/MC constantly verbally communicated with the audience, asking one member to come onstage and smoke cigarettes in front of the crowd in order to prove his 'Serious addiction' before diving into the old skool vibrations of Everything Must Go. Moving on to perform a combination of older and newer tracks including Oh Hail No, True Story and Sign Here, El-P barely came up for air as he uninterruptedly spat his cold rhymes, igniting the crowd's engrossment and passion towards the show.

With artists such as El-P who put on (as noted by the artist himself at the opening of his set) a “real hip hop show”, the dedication to the craft is palpable through an enigmatic thirst for creativity and urge to both please and entertain. And although the formidable internet has spawned a new wave of mediocre hype rappers whose talents are only as dense as their vocabularies, the hip hop underground still subsists and unmistakably continues to breed new artists who although simultaneously dabbling in the mainstream, manage to stay grounded.