Vinyl Vlog 407

Vinyl Vlog 407

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Thursday, 02 January 2020
COLUMN

Malibu Ken
Selftitled

photo: turntablelab.com

Can we give it up for my main man Aesop Rock? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Oh, you don’t know who he is? Well, shame on you. He’s one of the foremost examples of why rap music is still as exciting and relevant as it ever was, as long as you know where to find it. See, instead of these fakers, rapping about how much bullshit they have, how big they are, and how they’re better than everybody, believe it or not, there’s an alternative to all that. Aesop Rock is a great example of what happens when you bring DIY punk rock ethics to rap music: you end up kicking it old school and elevating your art form.

If anything, Aesop Rock should be commended for his verbiage. If you didn’t already know (again, shame on you), the man’s responsible for the most unique words used in all of rap-dom. He’s not just at the top, he blows everyone else out of the water. Meaning, Aesop Rock has an expansive vocabulary and you’re not going to hear the same rhyme twice. Ever since Labor Days, the man has expanded his art style, stayed independent, rapped about things that are relevant in our lives, and has been able to grow into a more complex and harder individual. Even his latest album Impossible Kid has shown no signs of softening, with songs that are still dark and heady. That’s why this latest album with Tobacco is so inspiring.

Aesop Rock is going the MF Doom route focusing on collaborations to keep things fresh, and giving credit where it’s due. Tobacco is best known for their distorted, 16-bit-like melodies and beats. They are playful to say the least. And that’s what where this project goes when you combine the two: they meet perfectly in the middle. Malibu Ken finds Aesop Rock at a funny crossroads, and by that I do mean “Funny Ha-Ha.” With all the serious subject matter in his solo albums, it’s easy to forget that Aesop Rock has a sense a humor and one that, of course, he can articulate perfectly. Backed by the Tobacco-like beats and melodies, sounding straight out of a SNES game, Malibu Ken is a perfect wave for the mischievous rhymes to ride. Thematically, this selftitled debut runs the gamut of the life of two webcam bald eagles to reevaluating one’s life when it’s in a state of chaos. It’s classic Aesop Rock in a whole new setting.

And this release, brought to us by the masterminds at Rhymesayers, is why we love reviewing vinyl. Malibu Ken comes in a beautiful gatefold cover, with some amazing artwork. Open up the cover and we see it’s all an interactive piece, with the inner sleeve showing the guts of the ken doll. You can even wear the face as a mask. It’s both cartoonish and devilishly gruesome. And to top it off, it’s on gorgeous blue vinyl.

Here’s hoping Malibu Ken is just the start of a collaborative career between Tobacco and Aesop Rock. The songs here are a foundation for even greater things to come and prove once again that risks are worth taking.

Get straight from Rhymesayers.

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