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Artist: Aesop Rock
Date Released: September 18, 2001
Label: Def Jux
Produced By: Blockhead
- Save Yourself
- No Regrets
- One Brick feat. Illogic
- The Tugboat Complex Pt. 3
- Bent Life feat. C-Rayz Walz
- The Yes and the Y’all
- 9-5ers Anthem
After generating a strong underground audience with his independent and Mush releases, Aesop Rock dropped this insanely dense and intelligent hip-hop record on Def Jux, the Mecca of independent hip-hop (via 2001). The New York MC combined a potent blend of lyrical madness, including an anomaly of references that include everything from mythology to the usual pop culture name-checking, and mellow and simple beats that are as effective as the rhymes themselves. His lyrical themes jump from story-telling (No Regrets) to blue-collar anthems (9-5ers Anthem), which is most suitable, since at the time the disc was released, Aesop was still working 9-5 jobs. The production was handled by the subtle producer, Blockhead, whose beats, while still remaining simple, have a classical appeal of live instrumentation versus the usual, prepackaged-sounding sampling. This album seeps into your brain and forces multiple listens, mostly just to catch a portion of Aesop’s thought provoking lyrics. After the release, the fan base exploded, and Aesop Rock suffered a mild mental lapse due to his new-found stardom, resulting mostly into a hermit-like state. Thanks to label-mates and friends, he managed to get by this and released Daylight in response to his experience, and later Bazooka Tooth. Michael Ardaiolo