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4.80/5

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5/5

Aesop Rock - Skelethon

kilgoretrout   (50 reviews)

Posted: 07/14/2012 | Comments: 12 | Rate:

Leading up to the release of Skelethon, Aesop Rock took to Youtube to try to explain the sentiment behind a few of the tracks, and to his credit, he did a pretty good job of explaining what is nearly one-hundred percent indecipherable – and if not indecipherable, certainly opaque. If you’ve ever heard an Aesop Rock song, you’re sure to know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I can honestly say, for reasons I’ll get into in a minute, that Skelethon is unequivocally the place you should start.
    
Ian Bavitz (Aesop’s given name) has been releasing flow-of-consciousness rap since the mid-nineties, and those who were worried that he had lost it after the disappointing None Shall Pass should all be breathing a collective sigh of relief. The dissolution of Definitive Jux records, and Aes’ subsequent following out with label owner, El-P, seemed to put a question mark on an already illustrious underground rap career – what did Aesop Rock have left to prove? Labor Days is, by all means, a masterpiece and classic. Weathermen, a group including El-P, Cage, Tame One, Yak Ballz, Breeze Brewin, Camu Tao, and Aesop Rock is forever ingrained in indie-rap lore for the singular mixtape they put out. Aesop could’ve stopped and still left an un-fillable dent in the game, but Skelethon is proof that some people need to, and have the ability to, push their creative outlet even further, even after nearly two decades.




Album opener, “Leisureforce” fucks with you at the front door, and starts off with an almost indie rock vibe before bringing in some scratches and twenty seconds in you have the same old, perhaps more focused, Aes. The breakdown that comes with a rhythmic recitation of, “Blue in the menacing grip of a day for which you're manifestly unfit.” adds an almost ridiculous urgency considering in the behind the scenes series that Aesop Rock did for Skelethon, he described Leisureforce as a song about, “A group of superheroes with the power of super-chillin’”.
    
Other highlights on this album include “ZZZ Top”, a song chronicling three kids figuring out what kind of music they like, and whether it’s classic rock, punk, or hip-hop, Aes spits all three verses with a sense of understanding, perhaps based on the fact that he was weaned on Dead Kennedy’s at the same time as KMD. “Fryerstarter”, sees a more light-hearted Aesop Rock spitting, inexplicably, about donuts, and “Ruby ’81” tells the story of an unwanted dog saving a girl from drowning over modulating, shifting chords.

But, for Aesop Rock, it seems like the poeticism is more important than the theme, and Skelethon is most certainly not the exception to the rule. A line like, “Happy to split the button eye and burlap doll. Crack the crypt. Bats eject like cousin death's wing-ed Iapdogs ricocheting sonar of the sacrilege”, might not mean a lot to you or me, but you get the idea that Aes knows exactly what he’s spitting. Another point where you realize Bavitz has his shit together is when you start paying attention to the production, and realize there isn’t a stinker in the entire bunch. Whether rapping over the claustrophobic clutter of “Zero Dark Thirty” or the mellow, nearly Flying Lotus beat of “Fryerstarter”, there isn’t one moment where you get a weird feeling of the odd juxtaposition you sometimes get between lyrics and beats in rap.
    
I’m going to make a bold statement. Skelethon is Aesop Rock’s best album, the best rap album in recent memory, including previous labelmate and boss El-P’s fantastic Cancer 4 Cure, and has set a new high wate

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Comments
HatesMostThings
19,190 Posts
6/M/NA
So good
I have no legs!
2,832 Posts
30/M/WV
This is all I've listened to for a week straight. Fuckin killer record
slavar som djur
19,110 Posts
53/M/NA
Beautiful.

(On a tangential note, I think None Shall Pass is heads and shoulders above Bazooka Tooth.)
I have no legs!
2,832 Posts
30/M/WV
I dunno i really like bazooka tooth sinve it was the first aes album i heard, but labor days is by far my favorite. None shall pass was a disappointment for me, but definitely better than that hail mary mallon album he was on.
HatesMostThings
19,190 Posts
6/M/NA
None Shall Pass is solid but I felt the beats were watering it down.
I have no legs!
2,832 Posts
30/M/WV
I mean, all of his albums are wayyy better than a lot of the rap that's being put out now, OFWGKTA , Drake, Childish Gambino (even though I kinda like him and these are all really different types of rap obviously).
Chooch
2,359 Posts
30/M/FL
Why does it say other Hip-Hop reviews but then lists a whole bunch of Metal and Rock reviews?
I have no legs!
2,832 Posts
30/M/WV
Dunno lol. I guess because there arent many rap reviews on here.
dr. spaceman
23,170 Posts
33/M/OH
dope
MMM..Johnny Cakes
31,537 Posts
42/M/PA
really the only current rap artist i listen too....have to check this out
get low
12,901 Posts
35/F/CA
lol sydney is such a closeted racist
I have no legs!
2,832 Posts
30/M/WV
Sidney listen to el-p cancer 4 cure. Im sure you could get into that.

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