Cannibal Ox was one of the most beloved and popular acts of the late-1990s/early 2000s alt-hip-hop renaissance that centered around iconic (albeit now-defunct) labels like Rawkus and Definitive Jux. Cannibal Ox was one of the flagship artists of Def Jux, a label whose head, El-P, also produced the group’s revered and wildly influential 2001 debut The Cold Vein.
Within the limited realm of underground hip-hop, the members of Cannibal Ox were gods, titans, icons even. After the deafening buzz that greeted The Cold Vein fans eagerly anticipated a follow-up that kept getting pushed back and pushed back as the group endured an endless gauntlet of problems—personal, professional, and financial—that put its future in jeopardy.
At the time of The Cold Vein’s release, credibility-minded major labels would probably have gone to war over the rights to Cannibal Ox’s follow-up, but in this uncertain time, when the climate of the recording industry can generously be deemed a hellish miasma of unthinkable horror, the group has decided to go the crowd-sourcing route. Group members Vast Aire and Vordul Mega are looking to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter to fund both the group’s long-awaited proper follow-up to The Cold Vein and to launch the group’s label, Iron Galaxy Clik Records. Premiums for contributors range from the all-but-worthless “shout out on Twitter” for ten bucks to an opportunity to stop by the recording studio and be thanked in the liner notes on the very high end. But of course the true reward lies in helping these promising middle-aged men achieve their dream of finally releasing their second proper group album.
No one has ever accused rappers of thinking small, and 30 grand seems like an awfully modest sum to launch both a label and an album, especially considering the high expectations greeting the project and the caliber of the producers they're likely to work with. On the plus side, if the project gets funded, that means a second Cannibal Ox album will almost assuredly happen—and for hip-hop fans with long memories, that can only be a good thing. Better late than never.