When Vast Aire, Vordul Mega, and producer El-P created Cannibal Ox's seminal debut The Cold Vein, few could have foreseen the musical dexterity that would have been embodied on this now classic release. Upon it's release, Pitchfork exclaimed, The Cold Vein is going to be on everybody's year end list of the best underground hip-hop. Not only was this prediction correct, but The Cold Veinwould go on to be cemented as a classic album, earning spots on numerous top album lists of that year and even top album lists of the decade. With undeniable production and word play that Stylus Magazine declares shows the potential for hip-hop lyrics to work on many levels as the finest English poetry, it's no wonder that fans, new and old cannot get enough of The Cold Vein. After years of being out-of-print and pent-up demand, the group is giving the fans what they want by reissuing their magnum opus. For the first time ever, the album will be digitally remastered so listeners can experience the witty metaphors of Vast Aire and Vordul Mega over the instrumentation of El-P like never before. The album will also be released as double-disc, with a bonus instrumental version of the album.
Cannibal Ox's Vast Aire Kramer and Vordul Megala Shamar have struck a cold vein in hip-hop and come up with digital gold. Digging for dignity in an iron galaxy, to raise human tragedy beyond the small black print of the crime pages, these rap Vikings write rhymes in the blood of the slain, spit-sacred thought in the service of salvation. With production by Company Flow
's El-P (who also appears on the group's ghetto-vaudeville theme tune "Ox out the Cage" and the industry-sniping "Ridiculoid"), the backdrop to their rap reality-myth is a drone-heavy matrix of gritty, atomised funk and reconstructed beats. Alaska and Cryptic of Atoms Family (the larger group to whom Can Ox pledge allegiance) guest on "Atom", colliding with their compadres like charged molecules. While on "A B-Boy's Alpha" Vast and Vordul present a rugged primer to the strife life. Powered by a paralysing banshee-wail, "Raspberry Fields" douses the Beatles with brown acid and dumps them on the baddest corner on the block for a battle to the death with the flesh-eating MCs. Closer "Pigeon" unlocks the rock box, pitching bowed electric guitar with redemptive organ chords, while Vast takes flight with words that lick the air with violence and Vordul spreads melanin wings to shield his fellow warriors from horror. No bad blood here, just cold veins locked in pitched battle to rend the world from the grip of iron, and release its populous like ions. --Chris Campion