Aesop Rock – [Live]

Wednesday, 08 August 2012

The first real non-mainstream hip hop I ever heard was Aesop Rock, and I have my friend Jake to thank for that. I've always held the belief that, if you want the best of a genre, you go to the underground to get it. When I first heard Aesop Rock, I understood just how boring and watered down mainstream rap had gotten, and why I wasn't gravitating towards it. I should make it clear also, that hip hop isn't my forte, so I have no business recommending it let alone writing about it. But, the internet is a strange anarchic beast.

Skelethon, Aesop Rock's new album, is exactly what one would expect with smart lyrics and compelling beats. It basically blows any mainstream rap out of the water. I'm especially talking about artists like Kanye West, who's recent album needlessly (yes, needlessly) garnered so much attention. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was so underwhelming and lackluster that I'll forever chalk it down as the cosmic wheel playing  prank on all of humanity. Skelethon is a different sport altogether.

Here are three things that I thoroughly enjoyed from Aesop Rock's show in Boston last week:

1.) Homeboy's still got it. After so many years, it's great to see Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz be able to put on such an elaborate show. Excellent visuals complemented a very tight performance, and although it would have been nice to see Aesop Rock play some stuff from his older catalog (he stuck to his Hail Mary Mallon and Skelethon albums), it was great to see such top notch, spot on, performances of the new stuff.

2.) Hijinks. Listen up! Aesop Rock is nothing if not an gentleman and a scholar, because it's been twice now that he's come out after his set to say hi to people, sign anything people put in front of him, take photos with everyone, and thank every single person for coming to the show. Now there's someone who not only loves what he does, but wants to connect with his audience.

Also, there's a song on Skelethon called “Racing Stripes” which is loosely about a psychotic kid with a clipper giving awful haircuts. Well, as it happens, Aesop Rock came out halfway through the set with a list of names from people in the crowd. The victim who was called then voluntarily sat on stage in a barber chair and promptly got the worst haircut of his life while Aesop Rock performed “Racing Stripes.” I was so amused that I find myself still searching the internet for footage of the event.

3. I know it's a faux pas to talk about the crowd, but is it worth mentioning that I could not spot a single black person in the whole sold-out venue? I understand that Aes doesn't really cater to the Gangta set and that this is Boston we're talking about, but what gives, man? I've seen more black people at a Darkness show! That's why I pride myself in having gone out 1/4 of the way into the set and gave my ticket to the only black kid I saw outside trying to get in. Up the affirmative action!

So, Aesop Rock is still on tour and you owe it to yourself to go. Not because he's possibly the best underground hip hop artist right now, but because he is everything Kanye West isn't.

Aesop Rock – Paradise – Boston, MA – 08/02/12 – [Photos]



Aesop Rock's American tour continues. Click here for an updated list of shows.


is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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