One of only four hip-hop albums to crack the top 20 of TMT’s Favorite 100 Albums of 2000-2009, Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein stands today as one of the most groundbreaking and divisive albums in hip-hop history. A generation-defining masterwork, it can be viewed as a major step in the genre’s evolution, a biomech bull charge from past to future. Like an event horizon, it obscures for the observer the space between then and now. Cue strange, dark connotations.
Enter via orchestra pit 3:33, whose 7 Sets of 7 tape, released about one year ago, made ritual sacrifices of several modern-day classics in order to put their sickly reanimated forms on display like The Night Gallery. I say renanimated rather than remixed because (it sounds cooler and) when it comes to a song like Can Ox’s “Stress Rap,” there isn’t really much to mix in traditional rap terms. Unless you’ve direct access to the Definitve Jux recording archives, there’s no way to come across an official a cappella. The best one can hope to do is artificially isolate the vocal tracks, and even then, remnants of the original instrumentals will inevitably hang about like poltergeists in white noise.
So instead of trying to “remix” The Cold Vein, 3:33 have decided to pay homage the only way they know how: by blasting it with breaks and tones strategically culled from the abyss, that eerie aforementioned between-space. Stream/download The Bicameral Vein below and be wary of 3:33’s new double album The Bicameral Brain dropping October 29.