User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 48
  2. Negative: 2 out of 48

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  1. johnnyb.
    Jun 12, 2007
    10
    I would call el-p ahead of his time, but I don't think time will ever catch him.
  2. jordanp
    Mar 20, 2007
    10
    Incredible album from start to finish, I guess I'm already used to El's brutal approach to making tracks so I personally didn't find this album to be a "difficult" listen at all. To each his own but this CD won't be coming out of my deck anytime soon.
  3. SysTooL
    Apr 1, 2007
    8
    Excellent segue to "Fantastic Damage"! We still find these complex layers of sound and the paranoid flow of El-P, which makes this album quite difficult to listen at first!
  4. WeeWeeJumbo
    Apr 28, 2007
    9
    Purists may balk but in my opinion, this is even greater than Fantastic Damage. El-P's definitely focused on thie production here, and every song just begs to be replayed. I'm having a hard time trying not to ruin it by listening to it too many times. There's still a problem from the first album, the production often overpowers El-P's lyrics, which are already dense Purists may balk but in my opinion, this is even greater than Fantastic Damage. El-P's definitely focused on thie production here, and every song just begs to be replayed. I'm having a hard time trying not to ruin it by listening to it too many times. There's still a problem from the first album, the production often overpowers El-P's lyrics, which are already dense and obscure; but it's worth the challenge. Spectacular album, if you're a fan of indie hip hop or if you're just tired of the mainstream (and you should be), defintely get this album. Expand
  5. chrisn
    Mar 20, 2007
    10
    This is the best cd i ever heard. Full of memorable lyrics , soundscapes and taboo subjects
  6. AlexA
    Mar 23, 2007
    9
    This is hardcore.
  7. AlexC
    Mar 26, 2007
    10
    One of the most powerful hip-hop albums in the past 20 years. It takes time to unravel, soak in, and fully experience as it was meant to be taken. At some times it's bleak and unforgiving. At others, it's beautiful and uplifting. Overall, ISWYD is powerful and unrelenting in innovation and purpose.
  8. heightsy
    Mar 6, 2007
    10
    i am in the camp that finds ISWYD by far better than Fantastic Damage. the first record only has the privilege of being FIRST, which does not make it BEST. What ISWYD lacks in "difficulty" it makes up for its "refined" nature of being a more graceful, yet streamlined, and bitingly penetrative listen. Regarding the "guest-spots": With all the added big-name indie-rock glitterati, I am i am in the camp that finds ISWYD by far better than Fantastic Damage. the first record only has the privilege of being FIRST, which does not make it BEST. What ISWYD lacks in "difficulty" it makes up for its "refined" nature of being a more graceful, yet streamlined, and bitingly penetrative listen. Regarding the "guest-spots": With all the added big-name indie-rock glitterati, I am beyond glad that they are barely noticeable. Unlike the Cage album **ahem**. Cop this. Cop this. Cop this. El, used to annoy me, but funnily enough he saves Def-Jux. This is one for all those people who question the vitality of hip-hop. Damn Lif, why can't you do this? Expand
  9. gagd
    Mar 8, 2007
    10
    new hip hop doesn't grab me much, but this shit grabs me more then any other hip hop ever did. fucking brilliant
  10. JTR
    Jun 28, 2007
    8
    Dope. Musically melodic, lyrically satisfying, superior in every way to all contemporary rap artists. Builds on the foundations of Fantastic Damage, and adds nuances and fixtures that floorplan lacked. What's wrong with deep production value when holistically the package is so complete?
  11. JohnD
    Mar 14, 2007
    9
    Better than "Fantastic Damage"? Yes, but it's not a 10 in my book; "Stop Crying", half of "EMG", and the gunshots on "Draconian Love" hold it down. Then again, "TPC" make the Mars Volta sound good, "The Overly Dramatic Truth" does emo rap right, and "Run The Numbers" features some of the best production work that El-P has ever done, passing "Stepfather Factory" easily and standing Better than "Fantastic Damage"? Yes, but it's not a 10 in my book; "Stop Crying", half of "EMG", and the gunshots on "Draconian Love" hold it down. Then again, "TPC" make the Mars Volta sound good, "The Overly Dramatic Truth" does emo rap right, and "Run The Numbers" features some of the best production work that El-P has ever done, passing "Stepfather Factory" easily and standing eye to eye with "Scream Phoenix". Not a perfect album, and it's too early to call it the album of the year, but it should end up on everybody's top ten at the end of the year. Expand
  12. PaulF
    Mar 19, 2007
    10
    album of the year by far!!! the best hip hop album in years - scratch that the best album in years full stop - can't stop playing it!!!
  13. RichardH
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    In my opinion Fantastic Damage is a classic. I'll Sleep is on par with that album, and with time may age into a place above FanDam. El-Ps work always has a way of simmering over time and becoming better and better with age, so I can only assume that this will take place for this album as well. From the opening intro to the final stutter the Beats and flow simply never fail to In my opinion Fantastic Damage is a classic. I'll Sleep is on par with that album, and with time may age into a place above FanDam. El-Ps work always has a way of simmering over time and becoming better and better with age, so I can only assume that this will take place for this album as well. From the opening intro to the final stutter the Beats and flow simply never fail to impress. It's a different flavor, but it's delicious. Expand
  14. DrewP
    Mar 26, 2007
    9
    Dark, dense, and one of the most exciting albums I've heard in a while. I'm looking forward to unraveling these lyrics for months to come. Find those detonators, indeed!
  15. music411
    Mar 26, 2007
    10
    This record is definitely better than his last one. It has more depth, more thorough writing and production definitely sounded like it was afforded with better mixing and eqing because it really hits! amazing.
  16. sr
    Apr 16, 2007
    10
    amazing.
  17. kkontheside
    May 6, 2007
    9
    El-Producto is still ahead of time. You can't expect an album this intelligent and agressive to get a fair review from music critics that gush over an artist like Panda Bear. I don't think 'I'll Sleep when You're Dead" is the quantum leap forward for Hip-Hop that Fantastic Damage was in 2002, but its still one of the most original and best albums of 2007.
  18. hypernation
    Jan 24, 2008
    10
    this album along with Saul williams niggy tardust will completely change your view on what hip hop is capable of. Incredible, diverse and all too rare in this landscape of mediocrity.
  19. MarkJ
    Mar 13, 2007
    10
    Heavenly difficult
  20. AlexS
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    AUDIO CRACK. chaotic production... razor sharp vocals... i hated el until i heard this album. its definitely worth the buy.
  21. ColinD
    Mar 22, 2007
    10
    It's much too early to brand this album of the year, but in this peak season for releases, "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" is the standout. El-P's music is, by design, destined to recieve mixed reviews, but I can assure you that, if you like music that pushes the envelope, this album is for you. Despite its dense nature, high politics and experimentalism, this album It's much too early to brand this album of the year, but in this peak season for releases, "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" is the standout. El-P's music is, by design, destined to recieve mixed reviews, but I can assure you that, if you like music that pushes the envelope, this album is for you. Despite its dense nature, high politics and experimentalism, this album remains emotionally and musically accessible. I'm usually hesitant to give any album a perfect ten before it's shown that it can withstand the test of time, but I have no doubt that this one will. Expand
  22. SeanP.
    Apr 29, 2007
    10
    Incredibly dense and complex. It reminds me of Fear Of A Black Planet. Repeat listens are required.
  23. Oct 8, 2014
    10
    You really can't stop listening once you start. El-P made his big entrance with Fantastic Damage, but in some ways this seems to surpass Fantastic Damage lyrically.
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Once it hits its stride, it just keeps on getting better.
  2. 80
    There was a lot going on, but it's not until now... that El-P's music could actually be called full. So full that even silence weighs a ton. [Mar 2007, p.95]
  3. Already the best hip-hop release of 2007, and it ain't even close. [Mar 2007, p.68]