Aesop Rock does things the right way. He keeps it low pro and periodically pops up a few times a year to murder guest spots, while laboring intensively on his full lengths, which have been uniformly excellent (I will ride hard for Bazooka Tooth if pressed.) None Shall Pass dropped nearly three and a half years ago, but if you listen close enough its impact still reverberates. Danny Brown and Nocando have both told me that they memorized every word, and Zilla Rocca remains the best abstract storyteller spawned from the Bazooka Tooth lineage.
Unlike most of his contemporaries, Rock seems more concerned with perfection than attention. Witness 900 Bats, which was launched earlier this year and walks the tenuous line between artsiness and pretension. Which is the same balance that Aesop has always successfully struck — hardcore raps for those who appreciate high-mindedness. And the video for his butchering of “Bosico,” from psych-rock monsters Grimace Federation, finds him at his most snaggle-toothed and savage. He also pops up on a new track from Eligh of the Living Legends, a crew I’ve always respected more than enjoyed. However, you cannot scoff at a record that also features guest spots from Brother Ali and Rifleman Ellay Khule.
* Posting the low quality version here because the Topspin embed code isn’t working. Head to 900 Bats for the high quality version.