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CD Review

Aesop Rock | Bazooka Tooth | Definitive Jux

Published Friday, November 7, 2003

Issue 37 / Volume 84

Symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and disorganized behavior. With the release of Aesop’s newest full-length, a new symptom should be added to the list: rhyming.

Aesop plays two roles by acting as both producer and writer for his latest release, which includes only a handful of tracks from past collaborator/producer Blockhead. Aesop draws influences from a myriad of genres including jazz and dancehall, only to eventually twist those styles into his own drug-induced lunacy. The results are eclectically influenced, multilayered tracks with dark undertones that, at times, become carried by off-timed beats.

Aesop’s lyricism is not as easy to define. Like previous albums, his words are rapid, harsh, bitter, abstract and sometimes incomprehensible. Often, the unsuspecting listener is left helpless, immersed in a sea of words that roll by in dense, short intervals.

In one of his few lyrically coherent tracks, “Cook It Up,” a funky love ballad addressed to an equally disturbed woman, Aesop nasally spits “I’m clinically bonkers / And I hate just about everyone God’s great earth offers.” There’s no doubt about that, Aesop.

There are those who, when walking the streets, ignore the hobo on the corner uttering gibberish to a nonexistent companion. Then there are others who opt to buy a couple King Cobras and happily listen to his nonsensical ramblings. Aesop’s rhyming may resemble the words of a hammered transient, but if you listen carefully, you will hear a slightly unbalanced man venting about everyday issues: life, love and society. Still, it might be advisable to schedule him for a psych exam. Just to be on the safe side.

[Edward Kim proudly dressed as Robert Smith for Halloween. You’re jealous.]


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