Aesop Rock
None Shall Pass
Definitive Jux
****

Aesop and I have been trying to go fishing together for ages, but whenever we start making plans, something always gets in the way. Usually I’ll be drunk and he’s all, “Dude, you can’t catch any fish in your condition. Go home and get some sleep. He’s my sensible friend; always looking out for my well-being. Like this one time we were walking around with Jeremy Fish, and this guy on the street started picking a fight with me. Before I even knew what was happening, Aesop and Jeremy had dude in a headlock and totally pummeled him. It was nuts. They just left him lying in a bloody heap on the sidewalk and we walked on, not a care in the world.

That’s also what impresses me so much about Aesop’s rapping: his complete nonchalance. Dude can spin intricate rhymes, touching on subjects far beyond the grasp of most other MCs to the point where you’d think books were like Kryptonite to them, and he does it all with utter ease. His weird baritone flow and still-evident Long Island drawl make other rappers look like toddlers with speech impediments.—Andreas Trolf