El-P recently released the artwork and tracklist for his new solo album, Cancer For Cure.  Those that saw it probably noticed a couple things.  For starters, the new album is fairly stark on guest features, with the cameos limited to Nick Diamonds, Killer Mike (who has his own El-P produced album dropping in May), Despot, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire and Danny Brown.  The latter two artists appear together on the record, “Oh Hail No”, which puts El-P, eXquire, and Danny Brown all on the same song for the second time, following eXquire’s “Huzzah” Remix.  I talked to El-P on Friday in relation to Company Flow’s Thursday set at The Metro, at which time he also talked about his new solo album and working with eXquire and Brown.

“Me and eX just became friends,” El-P says about his relationship with the up and coming Brooklyn emcee. “When eX put out his mixtape, I didn’t even know him but he used a bunch of beats I had done on the mixtape… I saw his first “Huzzah” video and I reached out to him like ‘yo, I think that shit is dope.” I didn’t even know he was a fan. I had no idea that he knew my shit. And it just turned out that he was, and we just became friends. Then Danny Brown, we sort of met around a similar time. Danny’s always been vocal about how the Def Jux era was an influence on him, so, we all sort of just became cool with each other and I just thought it was a good pairing. I just wanted to work with them.”

El-P’s new album is the follow-up to 2007’s I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, and while he’s had a long and storied career, El-P still feels humbled when he’s recognized as an influence for a new artist.  He told me,  “I always feel like I’m still young. I feel like the new cat, but obviously at this point I’ve been around, so to some degree I’ve been forced to feel the OG thing a little bit, but it’s really not the way I think of myself. I guess I just have my head in the sand, cause I’m always just trying to make a great record.  And that kind of keeps me in check. I don’t walk around thinking I’m the shit. I just think it’s dope that people are being direct and vocal about it, cause I do the same thing. I shout out my influences. I have a lot of love and open love for the people that got me inspired to do music. If I’m a part of that for anybody, I consider that a big honor.”

Company Flow hits the Metro on April 12th. Look for my full interview with El-P later this week.