Aesop Rock – Skelethon Aesop Rock – Skelethon

Shit. I really like Aesop Rock but I always feel so unprepared and uncertain when talking about hip hop. Unlike metal, I am more uncertain regarding historic styles and periphery elements which would influence the creation of albums. Perhaps I can only fuel my review off emotion and elemental taste. Alright I can do this. I’m cool. I can do this. People would get it if I made a Fat Boys joke right? Fucking hell.

I was really into 2001’s Labor Days. Aesop Rock’s supposed magnum opus portrayed various aspects of artistic creation while playing into some new generation of hip hop production. It was a great record and lead me to discover Appleseed and Bazooka Tooth. This relationship with Aesop Rock continued all the way to 2005 with the release of Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives, an EP which did as much parodying as playing into highly produced hip hop. Then I stopped. Then None Shall Pass was released and I forget if I ever heard it. Then Skelethon was released and I panicked.

Aesop Rock has hinged his career on competent word play combined with interesting backing loops. The syntax and flow within his rhymes is impeccable, leading to thoughtful and playful combinations. This skill is what made Labor Days so insightful. Aesop Rock’s production began light but somewhere around the mid 00’s started to take a drive into murky and dark production. What were are left know are rhymes in the forms of inkblots and knives that jab in dark rooms.

Even compared to None Shall Pass, Skelethon feels heaver in tone and delivery. Each word comes with the weight of bricks which move along torrents of tar. There is a feeling of disjointed confusion which has not been evident on anyone of the previous releases. For the majority of the record it works especially when combined with Aesop Rock’s usual hyper world of eclectic imagery. “Cycles to Gehenna” and the “Crow” diptych is successful given the dark yet sardonic subject matter. I would mention at this part of the review any narrative but fuck me if I can understand any semblance of story.

It is not like Skelethon is without syntax or logic, it is just so easy to get sucked within the undercurrent of heavy beats and fast delivery. It is a record which works in active listening or a narcotic surrender to words which used to hold meaning. Despite the overwhelming tendency to disappear in the album like quick sand there are moments of pure bliss. The albums back half is incredible with “Saturn Missiles” and “Gopher Guts” being flashes of brilliance which used to dot entire albums.

Aesop Rock is not that old. At age 36 he is noticeably more mature than his young twenty contemporaries though he has aged with grace. With a long career behind him, Aesop Rock does not seem to be tired or done with experimentation. Perhaps he will continue this trail of heavy nod hip hop. Maybe he’ll do something else. Hopefully I am still hip enough to listen to his records. It would be funny to talk about the “Superbowl Shuffle” right. That is old enough but in the realm of retro-tastic? Fuck.

Skelethon Tracklist:

Cycles To Gehenna
Zero Dark Thirty
Ruby ’81
Crows 1
Crows 2
Racing Stripes
1,000 O’Clock
Homemade Mummy
Saturn Missiles
Gopher Guts

Aesop Rock - Skelethon, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-07-18T10:43:30-07:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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