Groundbreaking underground hip-hop crew Company Flow have called it quits, although MC/producer El-P and DJ Mr. Len said in a press release that they may work together in the future.
"This is in no way a reflection of our friendship or business together," El-P wrote in the release, issued Wednesday. "It is merely a decision meant to honor what has been the most exciting, beautiful and rewarding experience of our careers so far by allowing ourselves to move on and grow."
El-P (short for El-Producto) and Mr. Len denied interview requests, saying via their publicist that they didn't want to focus added attention on the issue.
Starting out as a duo in 1992 in New York, Company Flow released their first single, "Juvenile Techniques," in 1993, and MC Bigg Jus joined the group later that year. The group formed its own staunchly independent label, Official Recordings, and released the single "8 Steps to Perfection/Vital Nerve" the following year, which featured
deep, earth-shattering rhythms accompanied by El-P and Juss' incisive lyrics about music-industry corruption and a variety of sociopolitical ills.
A number of EPs followed in the next two years, highlighted by minimal, razor-sharp beats that sounded like nothing that had come before no small feat in the landscape of hip-hop on cuts like "Fire In Which You Burn" and "Collude Intrude," which featured more incendiary rhymes that laid plain the group's self-proclaimed tag as "Indelible MCs." Tracks from those records as well as new songs were included on the band's debut LP, Funcrusher Plus, which was released in 1997 on Official through Rawkus Records. It was Rawkus' first full-length.
The album is considered a benchmark for independent hip-hop, receiving critical acclaim and establishing the group as leaders of the New York underground. But the group was mysteriously silent following its release, and Bigg Jus left the group soon after. The double single
"End to End Burners" came out in 1998, followed last year by the dark, cryptic El-P-produced instrumental album Little Johnny from the Hospital.
Company Flow also contributed tracks to Rawkus' Soundbombing compilations, including the hard-hitting political rap "Patriotism."
The group recently paired with the up-and-coming Harlem duo Cannibal Ox on the EP Def Jux Presents 5 Songs, which is one of the first releases on El-P's new label. He will be putting out his own music on the label in the future, according to his spokesperson.
El-P produced several cuts for former Rage Against the Machine vocalist Zack de la Rocha's upcoming solo album, and is working on a solo album, tentatively set for release in 2001. He is also is working on an album with Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, who produced Dr. Octagon (with Kool Keith) and Deltron 3030 (with Del the Funky Homosapien) and co-produced Handsome Boy Modeling School's So...How's Your
Girl? with Prince Paul.
Mr. Len is collaborating on a solo project with Prince Paul called Pity the Fool, which is scheduled to come out next year on Matador Records.
Describing their eight years together as Company Flow, Mr. Len wrote, "Through it all, in my eyes, we still made classics. And more than that, we made a friendship that could withstand all the trials and tribulations."