Oh shit. Even if I haven't listened to this album since we parted ways, I have not forgotten its power. Fantastic Damage is a vicious rap album from 1985 via 2002 and wholly crap it is a classic. The beats are undeniable, as are lines like, "get signed to Rawkus?/I'd rather get mouth-fucked by Nazis unconscious". (Sorry, Talib. The label gets a "You coulda been a contender" in the liner notes. ) Yeah, it's not all from 1985 but throughout we hear about growing up, Back to the Future, Reagan and Vietnam PTSD and it may be, as they say in the album, the time when motherfuckers could rock.
Listen to "The Nang, The Front, The Bush & The Shit" and try not to feel a whole range of emotions and practically get worn out by the time it lets go of you.
It rocks, it flows, it stings when he says, "Sign me up!" It's a hell of a song - hell, it's three songs worth of magic. These songs are so packed full of ideas and energy you could easily get enough runoff for three albums of your standard rap output.
This was, again, the days of Hyde Park Ave. and this song especially reminds me of walking, walking, walking past the laundromat, the strip-mall, the last days of Blockbuster...
Smart and creepy, right? Honestly it is criminal to separate some of these songs from the album as Fantastic Damage really is something to sit down and reckon with as a whole. The songs bleed into one another in impressive ways and there is a strong urge to play TOJ, the track following "Stepfather Factory".
This time, we'll go out on some positivity with assistance from Mr. Lif, who is featured on the last track of the album, "Blood". Also, I wanted to tag El-P 2012 appearance on Letterman as a testament to this guy's perseverance. He's not the kind of artist that makes it easy on fans to like his work. He's held onto a lot of credibility over the years and it was great to see El-P on stage with Letterman and getting some well-earned respect under a big spotlight. That video has been taken down - but - there's one from Conan that ain't too shabby.