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EL-P and Killer Mike's Into the Wild Tour at Grand Central August 23

El-P: Rap perfectionist.
Timothy Saccenti

Brooklyn-based alt-rapper EL-P is admittedly not that "fucking brilliant," but he's comfortable being a perfectionist. "When I do my records, I'm trying to push myself and say everything the right way for me at the time," he recently said in an interview with our sister paper, Phoenix New Times. "I'm OK with that."

Clearly. After all, it took the former Company Flow crew member the better part of five years to drop Cancer for Cure, the followup to 2007's critically acclaimed I'll Sleep When You're Dead. The wait, however, seems to have paid off.

When it was released in May, Cancer for Cure received an 8.5 rating from Pitchfork, which described El-P's opus as "a record that you can pump like they do in the future." It was even enough to earn P-fork's Best New Music stamp of approval and enter the race for hip-hop album of the year.

But for a self-identifying perfectionist, anything less would've been unacceptable. As he told New Times, "Sometimes it takes a lot of living before the words just come. I don't really like forcing it. I don't wanna make records that don't have heart behind them."

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