When: Thu., April 12, 9 p.m. 2012
When New York-based label Definitive Jux went on hiatus in early 2010, for a moment it looked like its cofounder, producer and MC Jaime "El-P" Meline, might be on his way out too. Founded in 1999, the label was one of a select few at the forefront of the national underground hip-hop scene, and some of the folks eulogizing Def Jux also seemed ready to bury El-P and the scene he'd nurtured. But not every narrative wraps up neatly—and El-P's story has almost as many twists as his maniacal, aggressive rapping. Even as his label rode off into the sunset, he's become something of a father figure to Brooklyn's burgeoning new underground, trading rhymes with Mr. Muthafuckin' Exquire and Das Racist. He's signed a deal with Fat Possum, which will release Cancer for Cure, his first proper full-length in five years, this May. And he's once again back together with rapper Bigg Jus and producer Mr. Len, his comrades in arms in the legendary Company Flow. (Though they played a single show in 2007 without Mr. Len, this reunion is not only more complete but also seems to be a little more durable—and it's finally bringing them to Chicago for the first time ever.) The trio's sole proper album, 1997's Funcrusher Plus (Rawkus), is an excellent example of the bombastic, sinister style of hip-hop that became synonymous with Def Jux: brutal boom-bap beats; meticulously layered, claustrophobically dense samples and synths; and smart, ruthless rhymes delivered with a sneer. This new burst of activity from Company Flow doesn't seem likely to produce any new material, but their caustic sound has already found another way of sticking around. For more on Company Flow, see this week's Artist on Artist, where El-P is interviewed by Chicago DJ and producer Million Dollar Mano. —Leor Galil 4th Pyramid, Qwel & Maker, ADaD, and DJ Intel open.
Price: $28, $25 in advance