In the early 2000s, Def Jux pioneered a particular aesthetic that sprouted out of the grimy retro-futuristic production of label head El-P. Across early 12″ singles and compilations, El’s dusty digital fingerprints painted the dark, aggressive core of the label, a sound that wasn’t picked up by all of DJX’s signings, but one that loomed large over the label’s golden period of creativity.
For this particular Def Jux fan, anything that hearkens back to that era causes my ears to immediately perk up.
On the appropriately titled “Demons,” Greedhead duo Weekend Money recall that vibe with producer Baghdaddy’s lurching, whistling, buzzy beat and emcee Ne$$’s dense stream of consciousness rhyming. It inspires nostalgia without feeling stuck in an era, as so much backwards-leaning recent hip-hop can. For a rainy New York day, “Demons” is the perfect soundtrack.
Listen below and check out a mini documentary about the group’s influences and origins.