Aesop Rock has been keeping rap great for years. He doesn’t have a single bad album, and each release is amazing in its own unique way. He also has one of the best vocabularies in the business, with lyrics rivaling those of Shakespeare and Moby Dick (in terms of unique word usage). So how does someone who has been in the industry for so long keep it fresh?
Well, for starters, Aesop Rock has a new outlook on life. Anyone familiar with his new album (and they should be because it’s amazing), will realize he’s taking up old crafts he given up years ago. Aesop is drawing again, painting again, skating again. He’s getting his groove back, not that he ever lost it. This renewed energy is pretty obvious on stage.
After playing most of (all of?) his recent album, The Impossible Kid, Aesop performed crowd favorites like “No Regrets” and “Daylight”, but with the help from Rob Sonic and DJ Zone, he sped up and recited old classics in an entirely new way. In days passed, you could argue Aesop was bored with his material of hits, simply reciting it instead of engaging with it the way he does currently. We’ve seen Aesop before though and it never seems canned, but with the new album, you could tell he’s really hit something good, and rediscovered much about his lost talents he’s excited to build on.
Opening “alt rapper”, (we’re just going to call him genius), Open Mike Eagle, adds to an already stellar posse composed of Rob Sonic, DJ Zone and of course Ace. Aesop Rock is no stranger to super groups, but we really want these four to record an album together. Hannibal joining Open Mike earlier in the night only solidifies the fact that the traveling squad attracts the best and brightest to their shows, and really hammered in the fact that seeing Ace and friends is always a good choice for a solid night.
With new albums from the semi-secluded mastermind few and far between, you better take all the chances you can to see Aesop Rock and company dazzle on the mic for a night. Media appearances are rare, but with any indication of how well The Impossible Kid was received, and how excited fans get for new material and tours, you can bet Aesop Rock will keep surprising us as time goes on.
Words Phillip Gutgesell, photos Katherine Wilburn