Will Hermes
March 01, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

It’s fitting that a sampler from indie rap’s most art-funked label begins by riffing on a Talking Heads lyric (the Weathermen’s ”Same As It Never Was”). Jux boss El-P is alt-hop’s producer du jour — see Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein — and his extended family mixes jagged electro-beats with gritty, abstract raps. High points: Mr. Lif rhyming about ”another bout with self-doubt” and El-P’s own ”Stepfather Factory,” a sci-fi comic tearjerker. Definitely not rap-as-usual.

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