Aesop Rock Bazooka Tooth

[Definitive Jux; 2003]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: Underground hip-hop, Independent hip-hop
Others: Mr. Lif, Murs, El-P

Aesop Rock has two qualities going for him and his hip-hop career. Firstly, he has the ability to get your attention right away with his high-pitched, uneven vocal presence. His hip-hop cadence is truly one of the most peculiar, yet captivating in the game. Secondly, Aesop Rock’s ability to perform throughout an entire album with the same intensity and compassion from beginning to end is extremely remarkable, grabbing your attention with mind-blowing rhymes and cerebral banter that classifies him as a truly gifted emcee.

With too many brilliant rhymes and intertwined wordplay to quote, Aesop Rock’s Bazooka Tooth, his newest release since 2001, follows the successful and triumphant formula that made Labor Days so lucrative and accessible. But what becomes evident as you progress through his new release is how loose and playful Aesop’s performance is from song to song. Unlike the straightforward, despondent approach of previous work, the album has a truly old-school hip-hop feel to it. Many samples have been borrowed from old school sounds and vocals and Aesop’s delivery and his arsenal rhyme-style choruses are developed passionately, mimicking the pioneers of past successful hip-hop. Even with the old-school homage, the album feels new and refreshing and displays another chapter in Aesop Rock’s multi-talented and impressive career. The patented DefJux clatter is tremendously and vastly present on Bazooka Tooth but does not overshadow Aesop’s old-school derivatives. Check out the old-school/new school disheveled resonance on “The Greatest Pac-Man Victory Ever," combining the tweaks of old-school Pac-Man sound effects with the original DefJux in-your-face conveyance. And the ‘jeep beats’ reference on “Easy” creates nostalgia for anyone who listened to hip-hop over 10 years ago.

Aesop Rock is an exceptionally talented hip-hop emcee. With Bazooka Tooth, he has created a beautifully crafted ode to old school hip-hop and has impressed many with his avant-garde stance in the hip-hop game. Bazooka Tooth is what any fan of hip-hop wants; a positive attempt to salvage the traditions of the music while exemplifying an abundant love for its growth and acceptance. And beyond all that, Aesop Rock has done what he has done best; keeping us attentive.

1. Bazooka Tooth
2. N.Y. Electric
3. Hunter Interlude
4. Easy
5. No Jumper Cables
6. Limelighters (feat. Camp Lo)
7. Funkaholic Interlude
8. Super Fluke
9. Cook It Up (feat. P.F.A.C.)
10. Freeze
11. Honyecomb Interlude
12. We're Famous (feat. El-P)
13. Babies With Guns
14. The Greatest Pac-Man Victory In History
15. Frijoles
16. 11:35 (feat. Mr. Lif)
17. Ketamine U.S.A. Interlude
18. Kill The Messenger
19. Mars Attacks