I wrote about Aesop Rock before in a post called The Shoes I Travel In. It was a reflection on living with purpose. I quoted his song Leisureforce using only “Final answer: not to be. Not to be is right. Next Question: to build winged shoes or autophagy.” You can read my post if you’re curious about my related. Today, I’ll focus on Aesop Rock’s most recent album titled The Impossible Kid. I understand there are those of you who might not listen to rap, but I insist an open mind as you listen to the album or at least study the lyrics.
Someone with more interest than mine compared the vocabularies of famous hip-hop/rap artists in comparison to Shakespeare and eachother. The data was taken from each artist’s first 35,000 words. Within Shakespeare’s first 35K words there were 5,170 unique ones. On the other hand, within Aesop Rock’s first 35K words are 7,392. This isn’t to downplay Shakespeare or to elevate Aesop Rock to God-like literature status. I am suggesting he should be read/listened to as you would another writer.
Anyway, below are the top five most impressive songs from the album. There is no real metric as to why one is higher than another just pure subjective feeling:
I do hope you take the time to listen to at least the songs listed above. The imagery in these song represent unyielding expression. In terms of expressiveness Aesop Rock cut near perfect to my goal. His execution is another matter. I find that for most audiences his work requires a magnifying glass and an aptitude to make creative bounds. It’s stuff I like to figure out but definitely not for a general audience.
Even the more “simple” lyrics from the album plays Clue around bigger concepts. “Turn a bum into a Sun Tsu” is one of those quotes where meaning requires no sifting but leaves hints.
Even if it went beautifully wrong it was tangible truth for a youth who refused to belong.
Every song impresses with bits of gold. Sure, his songs are dark and center on concepts such as self-imposed isolation, depression, and needing therapy but the lyricism is the silver lining. I wonder if he can look at his writing as the silver lining to his condition? It’d be a one-sided display, but having and digging into the mind of someone as expressive as he is would illuminate the steps I would need to take as a writer.
He writes the material I want to handle. These dark and depressing concepts are the foundation of each of my stories. I feel that some of them have been abrasively dark, though. There needs to be a balance, one that Aesop Rock was able to find with clever wordplay and insightful lyrics. I don’t know how to achieve my balance just yet but maintaining unique expressiveness is crucial.