Aesop Rock is a 44-year-old underground MC who many consider to be one of the best ever to do it. Since the late 90s, the Syosset, New York rapper has consistently put out quality albums, including his classic 2001 LP “Labor Days” and his conceptual masterpiece “The Impossible Kid”. Today, he announced his eighth studio album, “Spirit World Field Guide”, which is set for a November 13th release date. With its lead single, “The Gates”, also coming out today, will Aesop Rock be able to create the perfect opening statement?
With an instrumental that sounds like an 8-bit video game soundtrack from the NES era, there is an immediate feeling that listeners are entering unknown territory. Aesop quickly comes onto the track using some odd imagery like ram’s legs, black pizza, and dead plants. After continuing with lines like these, there is a sense of terror and confusion conveyed. On the second verse, the beat takes a dramatic turn as Rock turns up his flow as he goes on a personal tangent of how his private life has been interrupted by all of the world’s troubles. Things seem to get more severe every day, which is alluded to in the lines “Death wish from day one, I wake up and it rain blood”. Furthering these themes, Aesop trys to find a sense of tranquillity but having “no field guide” complicates things. After the hook plays again, his final verse commences. Closing up the record, Rock focuses on his own paranoia more than ever. He describes the mind state that has led him into social isolation with bars like “Bare hands on this bear trap, for what’s staring back in his periscope”. The most potent line comes near the very end when Rock states, “My dream home has like ten thousand deadbolts and less than no windows”. Ending on a sour note, the hook plays out, and the track concludes.
In conclusion, Aesop Rock has me blown away and more than stoked for his next LP. The depth and detail he went into his struggles with made me genuinely feel for him and wonder what has brought this strong character to this low point. Looking at everything, the song touches on, and the title of the actual record, I’m making the bold prediction that Aesop Rock’s upcoming album will be his boldest one yet!