Comfortable and Furious

Aesop Rock Daylight EP

Def Jux; ASIN: B00005V6L2

Some kid read my Blackalicious review and was badgering me about “rap” vs. “hip-hop.” He even called me a racist, which is actually true insofar as I believe that all mud
races must be exterminated, but there’s no basis for that charge in my Blackaliscious
review. I can’t wait till some kid gets corpse paint all over his keyboard telling me I’m not “true” after I give a good review to Cradle of Filth or System of a Down. Anyway, people who listen to rap and are young enough that they see the semantics of popular music as a vital issue make a big distinction between the ‘rap’ and the ‘hip-hop.’ Usually, hip-hop is “underground” and is performed by people who don’t, uh? hip-hop about lust and money, which are typical subjects of rap, AKA the crap you see on MTV.

Personally, I don’t give a shit about what you call this music, but what’s kind of funny is that most underground rappers rap about what they do or don’t rap about instead
of just rapping about it. Lyrics are like “You rappin’ bout bitches and forties/and all that negative shit/I ain’t rappin’ bout bitches and forties/I’m on the positive tip.” Another common topic is how spiritual the MC’s lyrics are. “Yo’ Ruthless crew’s about spiritual elevation/expanding the mind, we are very spiritual.”

Obviously, this is stupid. It’s only cool when the rhymes are clever or sound neat. Aesop Rock actually has good lyrics. Instead of saying “I be inspiring” he dishes up a pretty inspiring little story in “No Regrets” about a woman who dedicates herself to creative expression from childhood to the old age home. Her last words are about how she
has never had any dreams, because dreams are unpursued desires.

almost as inspiring as Nomeansno’s “One Fine Day,” which is about the opposite sort of person. That song is on Aesop’s astounding Labor Days LP. The best song on this EP is probably “Daylight” which is also on Labor Days. If you don’t have Labor Days you should get it. If you do have it, this EP isn’t a bad follow-up.

It’s not as good as the LP, but shares many of its virtues and is better than most other stuff. Those virtues include good rhythms and outstanding melodies, as on the hidden track “One Over Four” (incidentally, fuck hidden tracks) which even people who think they hate rap will probably like. Perhaps most impressively, Aesop actually
puts some thought into arranging his songs.

Another thing I like about Aesop is his voice, which sounds kind of like that of Vin Diesel, the man responsible for the homoerotic awaking of Jonny. His style is rad too: a rapid-fire tricky rhyming that elicits complaints of incomprehensibility from people whose brains work slowly. But his lyrics aren’t for those people anyway, so it’s just as well.

Download: “Daylight” “One Over Four”

Ruthless Ratings

  • Buy it or Burn it: Buy “Labor Days.” Burn this.
  • Quantify it: 7
  • Quantify Labor Days while I’m at it: 9