Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Late last year, Aesop Rock blessed us with his latest album The Impossible Kid. This fifteen track production is an exercise in honesty and irreverence. Now forty years old, Aesop Rock seems to be ironing out his style as well as coming to terms with what he sees as his place in this unpredictable world. With simple, hard hitting beats, Rock packs each track with blazing fast lyrics, rhymes pouring forth from his mouth as though the sink facet were left on full blast. There is something incredibly vulnerable and true inherent in the tracks of The Impossible Kid. Each one is born of personal experience and often influenced by pain. Aesop wears his heart on his sleeve as he spits with ferocity into the microphone. Much of the album is rapped long verse and laconic, a style reminiscent of Tyler, The Creator or Earl Sweatshirt.
For the creation of this album, Aesop Rock exiled himself to a barn where he both lived and recorded. This intensity and dedication is evident throughout the project. Each lyric comes through our headphones a deliberate choice, a piece of some greater storyline that eludes the listener and may even still elude the artist himself. His vocals are self-assured and staccato, the result of painstaking thought and much self-reflection. While this may well be Rock’s most meticulous album yet, there is indeed a sense of interconnectivity between all the tracks that I’m not sure he intended. While the beats may change up in pace from track to track, there is very little variation in his flow or lyrical themes.
However, this is not to say you should simply let the sound of The Impossible Kid overwhelm you. Rather, take it slow. Each song is worthy of lyrical dissection, and a closer look will reveal some shocking insights and though provoking sentiments. For example, the track entitled ‘Rings’ is a reflection upon Aesop’s failed visual arts career. Over tessellating beats, Rock raps, “used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw, portraiture in a human form, doodle of a two headed unicorn.” It is songs like this on this album that I enjoy the most. Aesop cuts himself no slack, imbuing these tracks with unparalleled cross sections of his character. Thus it is no surprise that ‘Rings’ is a certified hit as a single.
I also very much like the droning, slower track ‘Kirby’. Rock raps ‘hobgoblin, shots of hot Sriracha, vaccine queen deem church socks hostage, nine weeks awesome, hides in a slipper, look in her eye like she might be a wizard.” It is creative and intricate lyrics like these that give the album unique depth and texture. While Aesop Rock’s style may at first listen sound arresting and angry, I encourage you to give it time. There is honesty and reflection woven into the lines of this album, and perhaps amidst all of Rock’s reflection you will find something to relate to.