The rap world has been on fire with talk of the latest Run The Jewels album, a combustible mix of El-P’s futuristic production and Killer Mike’s imaginative brutality. It’s already getting praised as one of the best albums of the year, and the more we spin it, the more we love it.
Killer Mike first appeared on Outkast records before dropping his debut album Monster in 2003, but his sidekick El-Producto has been active since the mid-90s, when he paired with Bigg Juss to form the seminal underground rap group Company Flow. El’s production style has been constantly developing since, carrying the metallic edge of his earlier material into deeper textures and a wider palette of instruments throughout the years. RTJ2 showcases that newfound range; each beat sounds different, despite still having his signature engraved on it.
As we continue to spin the new Run The Jewels album, we thought about how much of El-P’s beats go unheralded, especially his remixes. He’s done work for everyone from Justin Bieber to Slaughterhouse, so let’s run down the 10 Best El-P Remixes You’ve Probably Never Heard Before.
Warpaint – “Keep It Healthy” (El-P Remix) 
El-P’s old beats had this crushing severity to them, but as he’s progressed as a producer, he’s found a way to convert that energy into waves, like you hear on this Warpaint remix. The beat builds with finger snaps and a buzzing bassline, giving the song a more sinister twist than the original. Towards the end, the beat drops out, almost like a swipe from the EDM world, and then bounces back for the finale. It’s reminiscent of the tremendous production El did on his last solo album, Cure 4 Cancer.
TV On The Radio – “Hours” (El-P Remix) 
El-P has always had a rock tinge to his beats, and it was most pronounced on I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, his 2007 sophomore solo LP that featured members of the prog rock band Mars Volta and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. A year before that, however, he was already experimenting with songs like “Hours” by TV On The Radio, isolating vocals and adding busier drums to liven up the song. No wonder his remix work has picked up in recent years; work like this tells us El would kill with material outside of hip-hop.
Prefuse 73 – “Hideyaface” (Feat. Ghostface Killah & El-P) [El-P Remix] (2005)
The “Hideyaface” remix is informed by El’s electronic storm of production best illustrated on The Cold Vein. A grungy guitar loop serves as the beat’s spine, but the overall production is just thicker than Prefuse’s as El-P beefs up every litle sound for a more in your face (no pun intended) version.
“Baby” (Justin Bieber Death Remix) 
Pure genius. El samples “Live And Let Die” by Paul McCartney and The Wings, as if to say he’ll resurrect the Bieber song and kill it in the same four minute span. It’s hard to picture El-P listening to Biebz in the comfort of his own home, but he’s also genius enough to take a pop song, gut it, and make it hip-hop. Bieber probably grabbed his crotch and did a rap verse after he heard this sh*t.
Nine Inch Nails – “Only” (El-P Remix) 
El-P takes what was a jumpy, upbeat song and spears it in the heart with this dark, searing remix. El is at his best here, reimagining a song about isolation into a song that sounds like isolation. These two acts were meant for each other.