For the rest of us, language flows in a straightforward neural pathway before it reaches our tongues. Not for Aesop Rock. The New York City MC's cryptic and poetic lyrical flow has earned him critical acclaim and a worldwide following, and he has become an independent hero in an age when a million rappers are looking for cheese. If hip-hop is "the black CNN," as Chuck D famously said, Aesop has delivered some stellar reporting from the front line, but he has also proved himself far too eccentric to be read like some newspaper article. Taking a page from Eminem, Aesop has developed the character Bazooka Tooth to deal with a few personal demons brought on by underground fame. "It's a strange position to be in," he explains. "Not only the fact that I'm trying to live off work that is personal, but how you get the money for that is racing around the country and smiling for people and selling the record, you know what I mean? You think of, like, Justin Timberlake. He does a three-hour performance every night, and it's like, wow, I don't know how that guy does it. 'Cause I couldn't do that shit. I'm not a celebrity or anything. But it is getting bigger each time, so it gets a little more stressful and weird every time." And this time, Aesop comes through town with Mr. Lif, DJ Nemeses and Rob Viktum at the unlikely locale of Tom Cats in Deep Ellum.