[“Request Denied”] kicks off with a sample of William S. Burroughs reading from his 1961 cut-up novel The Soft Machine, the Beat writer’s influential metaphor for human bodies under siege from control mechanisms. The insurgent exhortation of “Request Denied” … fits the Occupy millennium like a Mugwump straitjacket.
And El-P says of Burroughs in the same interview:
He’s actually one of the authors that really meant something to me as a teenager. There’s a point in tragedy and fear, in the almost impenetrable scope of the disaster the we have created for ourselves, where everything reverses. Where that tragedy and fear gets sucked through the other end and comes out absolutely hilarious and ridiculous. For someone like myself, that reversal is a saving grace.
This intro is very similar to opening of Fantastic Damage, his first album, released in 2002. It opens with instrumentals, a quote-sample, and then further instrumentals for a minute or so. The same is true for his second album I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Cancer 4 Cure was released a decade after his first album, in 2012, and follows a very similar pattern in the opening.
This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.
El says “I design kill pain cave penmanship” on Aesop Rock’s “Rickety Rackety.” Both lines refer to his music-making process, often alone in his apartment, as a cathartic one.
The “paincave” is a metaphor El throws around a lot. It refers to a mental state where you kinda climb into a hole of depression or whatever. Paincave kid talk would just be talk that’s pessimistic or negative. “at the end of the painbow” is along these lines.
“It was like a private joke between me and my friends. You know that dark, horrible place, where you can’t see an escape, a place everyone goes to but no one has a word for? No one could make it a noun, so that was kind of a joke with us”