Aesop Rock Has An Album Coming Next Month. His New Video Is Twisted.

Lyrical wunderkind Aesop Rock was a standout sensation during the Underground Hip-Hop boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. His poetic imagery and didactic bars were complex conundrums that many listeners enjoyed unraveling. The MC/producer worked with the likes of MF DOOM, El-P, and the Weathermen during a celebrated time in Rap music, especially in New York.

While Aesop made his name as an artist with the Mush label, and later, on El’s Definitive Jux squad, this decade he’s been rolling with the Rhymesayers family, co-founded by Atmosphere. As recently as 2016’s The Impossible Kid, Rock has made some of his best Hip-Hop in years. He keeps the art exciting through interesting visuals, rugged flows, and compelling takes on the state of the culture.

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Outside from his respected solo catalog, Aesop has enjoyed the craft of collaboration. The Portland, Oregon transplant has side groups/projects with fellow Weathermen alum, Cage (2 of A Kind), Homeboy Sandman (Lice), Rob Sonic & DJ Big Wiz (Hail Mary Mallon), Kimya Dawson (The Uncluded), and his latest endeavor, Malibu Ken, with producer Tobacco (releasing on January 18, 2019). The latter duo just released the video for their second single, the slightly uncomfortable and purposefully awkward “Corn Maze.”

As he is prone to do, Aesop raps about his nervous tendencies. He transforms his own experiences into a poetry so esoteric, it demands dozens of listens to decipher. The beat is similarly challenging but the fuzzy drums and synth plinks are exactly the kind of sound-bed Rock excels on.

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The quirky visuals of “Corn Maze” are handled by Rob Shaw, Aesop’s longtime videographer. The animation is clearly a tribute to Saturday morning cartoons from the early 1980s, but will likely remind many of Adventure Time as well. The plot is simple: three adventurers must unite to stop a gargantuan, cyborg rat.

Aesop’s wordplay is as sharp as ever. In the second verse he raps, “In a lavish rabbit hole with no rabbits/  Young dumb dust bunnies jump into traffic / Casually gussied up and done feeling unsung and savage / Punk we have come for your cabbage / I’m bad news travel like a rat through your cabinet / Spaz Twenty paw pads full of scabs / Often a false ad full plaid all dander / Blast off black jackdaws on his antlers / Zero faithers / Wearily fear his neighbors / Some day we’ll find a way to make these billionaires obey us / Some day we’ll earn a subdivision gaudier than reprobates / Who sit around impressed and guess the order of the Tetris rain / With Biblical as reckoning / Son of surly Satan torn asunder / Private number, public urination / We socialize with pundits who encompass all the wrong stuff / I count the bread quick, I got some walls up.” The full-length album is due next month on RSE.

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Press photo by Ben Colen.