Aesop Rock

Aesop Rock is the Jackson Pollock of hip-hop, spewing abstract syllables and phrases like color on a canvas. His style is overwhelming, with swirls of obscure references and interior rhymes that wash over you far faster than you can process them. So The Living Human Curiosity Sideshow, the comprehensive lyric booklet included with Rock's newest EP, seems a misstep. Read at leisure, the lyrics reveal themselves to be just as nonsensical as you always suspected they were. As a randomly chosen example, take "Easy" from Rock's critically lauded LP Bazooka Tooth: "Upside down, I pick wigs for beetles/Pry 'em out and pin 'em to the polar of the seesaw/Sofa cobra shimmy out crater, cradle my weight in double wishbone suspension vs. A.M. clock radio bangers."

Got it? No, you don't. But slip on the Fast Cars EP and all is forgiven: This stuff may not make total sense, but it sounds fucking awesome. It may not come off in print, but on disc (or, better yet, live) Aesop Rock gets the message across without being coherent--the style is the message. Would someone describing a Pollock wow you? Like that boozy paint-flinger, Rock defies explanation and should not be imitated. But he's still one of the most exciting MCs working today.

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Jordan Harper