New York rapper Aesop Rock brings us his new 15 track album Skelethon on Rhymesayers Entertainment. This is his first solo release since None Shall Pass in 2007, scheduled to be released July 10 this year. This is the first album to be wholly produced by Aes rather than his usual collaborator, Blockhead. This alone adds an additional aesthetic to his distinctive rhyme style. Skelethon has been produced following several deep personal losses to Aesop and explores the sometimes-futile ways people try to cope with serious issues.
Aesop Rock is one of those rappers that most, if not all, fans have come across at some point. For some of you, you have grown up listening to him as either a solo artist or as a part of The Weathermen collective and the other frequent collaborations he played a hand in. For good reason, the former Def Jux rapper is essential listening for rap lovers because of his style and influence on the so-dubbed world of alternative hip-hop.
The album touches on a range of real-life events, beginning with the death of a close friend in 2008. Aesop rocks about subsequent losses, jostled memories, relationships gone awry, and the diverse ways people deal with these occurrences. Skelethon is filled with dark humour that is made to work so effectively without causing offence. It’s clear that Aesop speaks candidly, if not in his often-contrived straightforwardness that gives the album that continuous flow and tone and creates the feeling that Skelethon as a collective work is far more than the sum of its parts. None of the album’s 15 tracks can be said to standout forthright, but that’s more of a testament to the effort’s cohesive nature than a critique on Aes’ ability to make one particular song worthy of exceptional note.
Aesop is a great story teller. He is able to make peculiar life situations easily understandable. His point of view, however obscure, seems perfectly plausible. Throughout the album the flow is smooth. Aesop dictates the track’s pace and does not allow normal rap conventions to hold back the buckets of personality in his style. He is unrivalled in subject and makes any listening experience fresh. This is a lot of the reason even people with a large pallet of listening will find Skelethon still innovative.
Production of the album – as already mentioned – is handled entirely by Aesop Rock himself. It adds a lot to the already-personality filled lyrics. He tailors aspects of each track to fit together perfectly and shows mastery in his ability to coerce emotion from each of his soundscapes. There is not a particular stand out beat on this album, either; all have attractive points and are so distinctive that they cannot be accurately compared.
Skelethon is a beautiful album in whichever way you interpret the word beautiful. Aesop, throughout his career, shows no sign of slowing and has managed to create art that encapsulates his personality and thought. Skelethon should be much anticipated by all, as it is undoubtedly one of Aesop’s greatest to date and is a clear contender for the best release of 2012.
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