You duck your head to avoid the low ceiling in this sewer pipe, walls dripping with grime and who knows what. A green light flickers at the end of this stretch in the sewer system, the only light you’ve seen for a long while. You emerge into the chamber where the light lives, an altar of some sort. The light grows brighter, revealing the decorations that adorn the filthy walls: bones, and vines that traverse surfaces like veins. A winged creature steps onto the altar . . .
It’s that time again for me to gush about an artist that simply can do no wrong in my eyes. Lyricism is at the core of hip-hop; it’s the foundation upon which the poetry-laden genre built its legacy, the variable by which all of its performers are compared, but no one, and I do mean no one, can match this mastermind’s caliber when it comes to this skill. The Impossible Kid is the newest full-length from New York-born artist Aesop Rock.
Polygraph released a study comparing the vocabularies of hip-hop lyricists, and Aes was off the chart by a long shot. This is an individual that revels in cryptic turns of phrase, intricate rhyme schemes, and gut-wrenching storytelling, alongside some of the most captivating instrumentals produced anywhere (which he made). Each song holds as much substance as a dense piece of literature, and can be analyzed as such.
More transparently autobiographical than his previous releases, The Impossible Kid feels like a curtain has been raised to reveal a more vulnerable, more intensely personal side of this singular artist. His storytelling prowess is just as awe-inspiring and emotive as ever, if not more so, and it’s a blast extracting every morsel from the nooks and crannies of this stellar record. If you’re seeking powerful, enigmatic hip-hop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)