Michaelangelo Matos
March 16, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

On his second solo CD, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, Brooklyn MC and ex-Company Flow member El-P continues to obsess about old-school rap (”EMG”) and dystopian sci-fi (”The League of Extraordinary Nobodies”). It’s not exactly easy listening: The dense word barrages and concussive beats induce a crushing claustrophobia. But he flirts with melody here (soul-ish electric piano on ”The Overly Dramatic Truth”) and relaxes his delivery, allowing us to take a breath before heading back into the chaos. B+

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