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Aesop Rock – Bazooka Tooth

For anyone who would always wanted to go to New York but couldn’t get the time off or the money together, relax. Aesop Rock is bringing the Big Apple right over to your house, complete with subways, nightclubs, graffiti, street kids with boom boxes and the occasional electric ninja.


Aesop’s new record, Bazooka Tooth, is aptly named. Right from the get go it’s a verbal blast, and just like a blast from a bazooka, it’s exciting to watch from the side but nothing that you would ever want to get in front of.

When I first put it in, I anticipated the more minimalist feel of the last album, “Labor Days”, and was shocked. The first track is something of a taster for the album, giving the unprepared listener a chance to get a feel for the CD in just enough time to be scarred for life and yet still have a chance to decide if they’re too squeamish to handle anymore. Track 2, “NY Electric”, has a snake-charmer feel to it with lyrics that, much like the rest of the album, make your head nod uncontrollably like a cobra in a trance as Aesop leads you safely through his kingdom of darkened alleys and tunnels.

This album is no joke. Reviving the Company Flow production style with a Frankenstein-like flair, the beats are innovative, complex, and slippery, while Aesop’s rhyming style goes miles past any previous limits he may have set on earlier records. He comes correct throughout the album; with guest spots filled by Def Jux label mates Mr. Lif, Vast Aire (Cannibal Ox), and label-founder El-P (who blasts biters in a lyrical explosion on the titanium-hard “We’re Famous”), amongst others.

Taking the title of King of New York by force, Aesop presents a heavily layered masterpiece that merges the whole of hip-hop with the past, present and future of the city that spawned him. From the street hustler feel of tracks like “Cook It Up” and the pimped out “Freeze” to the nightclub sound of “Limelighters”, and the futuristic defender track “No Jumper Cables”, this lyrical logician brings the heat like a nuclear attack with side effects that include paranoia, sleeplessness, and dizziness similar to the feeling of recovery from a visit to the local opium den.

Keep your head down, your ears open, and just remember, if you make it to the end, you’ll be hooked, with nothing but smooth sailing through many repeat listenings of one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, another chapter in the never-ending street saga of Aesop Rock.


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