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Aesop Rock
"Bazooka Tooth"
by: Sun-J

Still living off the respect Labor Days garnered, Aesop Rock has returned with an album full of vintage Def Jux produced gems along with an unbrandished, sweeping tornado of boastful verbal treats. Ian Bavitz, affectionally known as Aesop Rock presents the underground hip hop indie circuit with another full length, Bazooka Tooth. His staccato resounding nasal flow is strong and confident as ever, and his lyrics are as dense as cement. He fills the album with clever idioms, and witty, multi-syllabic fusions which come at you from every direction, and leave you behind ("Park your bets, shark or jets. it's bark marked targets where barnacles rest."). Aesop will be on bar twenty-four yet you will still be pondering the hidden passages of bar twelve. No doubt, on this album, Aesop frequently reminds listeners of his fame. The opening line to the first track proves this, "Journalists across the globe are officially critiquing my first eight bars." Perhaps though, Aes has yet to fulfill his potential. Generally speaking, perhaps Aesop has what it takes to reach the urban masses. One thing I feel that has always held Aesop Rock back were his rhymes. He throws one multi-syllabic metaphor at you every line, which often leaves listeners confused and frustrated. Like the old Talib Kweli, it often seems as if Aesop is packing too much into one verse. Alternatively, Ian Bavitz is great at skirting topics. In fact, seventy five percent of his fans probably don't even realize he is a white emcee. His style, methodology, and topics are always deeper than race, a true hip hop fundamentalist.

The album opens up with "Bazooka Tooth," a dominating spite of media ferocity. The next track, "NY Electric," coupled along with "No Jumper Cables," are stadium anthems with jackhammer synths, and eclectic drums. "Limelighter," is a transcendental lyrical journey with Camp-Lo along for the voyage. Always entertaining, Camp-Lo brings their chi, and charms the track as usual. "Cook it Up," is the odd song out. Nonetheless, uncharacteristic of Aesop as it is, the track is a humorous, wit-filled record about sexism and misogyny. "Freeze" is a brag fest with lines such as, "you should have shot yourself in the foot when it was in your mouth." "We're Famous," appears to be the standout track. A diss track featuring a four minute verse courtesy of label CEO EL-P, the cut is the strongest lyrically, "Some of these faggots used to send me their demos, breeding puppy styles in the company flow kennels." Not only is the track lyrically on point, but the instrumental is laced with the usual space effects found on a def jux production as well as pounding synth chords and funky hand claps. "Babies with Guns," is a retrospective track about the younger generation of killers that plagues society today. "Frijoles," isn't a special song, but incorporates a twisted vocal sample into the mix. "11:35," producedby Blockhead, and featuring political conscious label mate Mr. Lif is a controversial song with narrative imagery.

The only weaknesses I can discern from this album are the awkward beats, which probably stems from the reduced production duties of Blockhead to the proportionally increasing production duties of Ian Bavitz. A strange record, yet with songs called "The Greatest Pac- Man Victory Ever," you should expect John Coltrane on drugs.



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