Aesop Rock albums

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2016

The Impossible Kid (5 / 5)

            Aesop Rock has been honing his craft for a while and his word-driven hip hop songs reach an apex here. Not only are his rhymes and vocabulary on point, the music that accompanies this record is his best yet. Whether it is tough and menacing (“Rabies”, “Shrunk”, “Tuff”, “Defender”) or psych-rap at its best (“Rings”, “Supercell”, “Molecules”) Aesop displays a beautiful mix of brains and heart. The playfulness extends to some of the smaller brief word sketches as well as a song about his cat, “Kirby”, and the videogame intro of “Lazy Eye”. Contained in that latter song is another minor miracle that is key to the albums success, the Chuck D recording left on an answering machine that compels Bavitz to make this hip hop with a purpose.

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2019

Malibu Ken (4.5 / 5)

        Aesop Rock has always benefited from having an eccentric producer to match his manic rhyming vocabulary. El-P is his most famous previous collaborator, but here Tobacco produces the album as a perfect accomplice, providing each of the album ten songs with its own circus psychedelic atmosphere. Both artists contribute to the project resulting in a brand-new act named Malibu Ken, and The result is unlike anything I have heard before, a kind of fluorescent armadillo rapping down the interstate, upside down of course. Each melodic rhyme scheme is matched with beautifully flush sound effects, like single ready “Corn Maze’ and the translucent vocals of “Acid King”.

                The slow-motion party vibe of “Tuesday” is another highlight, as the sound of the album refuses to quit. The odd topics for rap songs Aesop is famous for continues here, with ‘Churro” being a true oddity about what a vulture considers a snack, and also the down on his luck magician of “Sword Box”. And for over all trippy effects check out the chorus on the bizarre “Dog Years” a song with a slow tempo but a super sonic fast rap. I love that Aesop always tries to new use new words not usually heard in music as well, lyric sample from “1 plus 1 = 13”: “My lucky sevens only ever make it up to six/ Every three tries Satan kind of wins/ Untied shoes aliven a wild goose/ The winner is unrelenting, the kindling is fireproof.” Team ups like this fuel rock, techno and hip hop into the future, fusing all the genres into some kind of fantastic jelly. Drink it up!

Best songs: Dog Years, Tuesday, Acid King