Aesop Rock's 'Float' introduced the rapper as one of the most proficient underground mcs. He had a novel approach to rapping - his unusual lyrical flows to slow melodious beats oozed with poignancy and gave off a fresh vibe, unlike anything heard before. Aesop used the opportunity to create a masterpiece of underground hip-hop, 'Labor Days', where he and producers Omega One and Blockead expand the themes they began to explore in 'Float'. The result sears with its abruptness, impresses with its lack of bad taste, and overwhelms lyrically. In addition, Aesop Rock's beats, most of which he produced himself, are never monotonous, always subtle and adding poignancy to the spoken lyrics. 'Beatbox' is a shiver-inducing masterpiece, and one of the album's highlights; a thoughtful track that showcases Aesop's ability to sustain a beat which emphasizes the lyrical impact. 'No Regrets' is Aesop at his pinnacle - a masterpiece of epic proportions, with a delicate mournful tune, and lyrics that are not only quotable, but could be almost defined as artful. Metaphorical, ingenious, 'No Regrets' observes its protagonists', Lucy's, life, and demonstrates the common societal inability to maintain a fulfilling existence. Lucy has a dream, "you gotta live it" Aesop says, and she does - the last verse, "Lucy blew a kiss to each one of her pictures and she died" will remain in the listener's consciousness; inevitably, the track will be played over and over again, its extraordinarily subliminal impact marveled at and discussed. Overall, Aesop Rock's "Labor Days" is an intelligent and thoroughly engrossing album, one that proclaims that hip-hop yet still has boundaries to explore. Deltron 3030, Ugly Duckling, People Under the Stairs, Slug, Murs, Stoupe from Jedi Mind Tricks - move over.
Ya'll are good, but make room for Aesop.
HIGHLIGHTS: 'Daylight', 'No Regrets', 'Boombox', 'Shovel'