"I don't know his name but he aim like Wayne Gretsky..." -Vast Aire

The stars aligned just after the turn of the century, and Vast Aire, Vordul Mega and El-Producto put out one of the dopest records of all time, namely The Cold Veinby Cannibal Ox...
The Cold Vein (released in 2001 on El-P's Definitive Jux Records) is a record for the ages. I abhor making lists, so I can't tell you where this record ranks among the so-called all-time greats, but dammit I can say that at a time when I was totally bored with rappers and producers making mundane multi-platinum bullshit, The Cold Veinkicked a freaking hole in my brain. 

Vast, Vordul  and El-P created the musical equivalent of an anime feature set in a dystopian  post-apocalyptic future New York. It's the kind of album that could either make one fall in love with hip hop again after having been bored (because it's so good), or be the straw that ruins every hip hop record after it (because it's so good). Fortunately for me it was the latter...
Easily one of the best underground records ever, The Cold Vein is a perfect example of what underground hip hop is capable of when heads are not biting mainstream styles. Even after over a decade, this album still sounds new, exciting, and unique. I love Vast Aire, Vordul and El-P, so don't hold it against them when I say that The Cold Vein is probably the best record any of them will ever make. I say that not so you will avoid these musicians' later work, but so that if you somehow have missed this record, you will remedy that. I'm sure there's many places you can download the record for free, or maybe a friend can burn a copy for you. However you need to get it... Get it. The Cold Veinexemplifies those magical times when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It belongs in every hip hop collection.
 
-samax.  

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