Aesop Rock – Daylight EP: Album Review
Aesop Rock is yet another unknown underground treasure. Signed to El-P’s Definitive Jux record label, he is one of the label’s top players. After releasing three VERY underground EPs, he released his first LP, entitled Labor Days. An extremely intelligent, successful, and creative debut by Aesop Rock. Recently, in 2002, Aesop has decided to return to the mic and release yet another EP, this one is called Daylight EP. The subject of my review.
Track List & Rating
1 – Daylight (******)
2 – Nightlight (******)
3 – Nickel Plated Pockets (******)
4 – Alchemy f/ Blueprint (****)
5 – Forest Krunk (interlude) (NOT RATED)
6 – Bracket Basher (****)
7 – Maintenance (****)
Bonus – 1 of 4 (*****)
The first thing you notice about Aesop Rock is his very abstract and unique style. Aesop Rock is a very intelligent, abstract, and socially conscious emcee. His highly advanced form of lyricism is only complemented by El-P’s unique and futuristic techno-styled production, which some may hate, and others may love. You can immediately see what Aesop Rock is about from the first track on the album “Daylight”. This is the same track found on Labor Days.
The second track is sort of a remix to the first. “Nightlight”. The instrumental is very much different though, with more synthesizers and a more slowed-down sound. Aesop takes the lyrics from “Daylight”, and flips them around for Nightlight, which is something very few artists do. He sort of does a “cover” of his own song, changing around a few words, adding some clever punchlines and funny changes, which i enjoyed.
Aesop gets introspective on “Nickel Plated Pockets”. This is an incredibly socially conscious storytelling track about the turbulence he has experienced on the streets, the bad attitudes, and the drama of street life. His advanced storytelling lyricism may be too quick for some, but I understand it perfectly. Aesop Rock’s opinion on trife life is intelligent, introspective, and interesting. The Three “I”s (Take that Kurt Angle!) El-P gives us a very somber, and somewhat minimally paced beat for Aesop to rap over.
NICKEL PLATED POCKETS
Skipping past tracks four through six, we get to “Maintenance”. The last real track on the album. This is the first track Aesop Rock recorded with El-P and Def Jux. Featuring a bizarre Arabian influenced, yet techno-ish and synthesized beat, Aesop Rock spits braggadocio on this track. Of course, his braggadocio is different than any other artist. His bizarre and abstract lyrics might take you a few listens to understand, but its always clever and smart.
Pushing the Fast Forward button after “Maintenance” and you’ll find a special hidden bonus track entitled “1 of 4”. This is most likely the most introspective track I’ve ever heard from Aesop Rock. On here, Aesop story-tells about his own experiences and how he was saved. He speaks of his stress and nervousness, and of the four people who saved his life during this turbulent time. We get a glimpse into Aesop’s soul on this track, and flee from his mind… just for this moment.
DAYLIGHT / NIGHTLIGHT
Basically, this is a very solid EP. Even though it has all stellar tracks and some classics, I will not give Daylight EP a 5 Star Rating. First of all, to me its too expensive for just 7 songs, 6 of which are listed. Second of all, a few of these songs are rehashed from his older work, and the album only contains three tracks of new material.
In my opinion, this was Aesop’s attempt at pleasing his fans until his next LP is released, which is luckily this year. This EP is for only true hardcore Def Jux and Aesop Rock fans, or for casual hip hop fans who enjoy intellectual and abstract styles. So if you’re in the mood to think, then this is a MORE than worthy purchase…
4 1/2 Stars