Aesop Rock | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Aesop Rock 

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If the song "Daylight" were the only decent thing on Labor Days, the second full-length from Brooklyn hip-hopper Aesop Rock (released by Definitive Jux in the fall), the album would still be notable, not least because the song contains perhaps the most widely quoted lyric in all the Backpack Nation: "Life's not a bitch / Life is a beautiful woman / You only call her a bitch because she won't let you get that pussy." Aesop (aka Ian Bavitz) himself got so sick of the verse that on the new Daylight EP he included an answer song, titled "Night Light": "Life's not a bitch / Life is a BEE-YOTCH / Who keeps the villagers out circling the marketplace / Out searching for the G-spot." Fortunately there's more to both releases than that joke. Labor Days, as the title hints, ruminates on working for a living, climaxing with "9-5ers Anthem," where Aesop declares, "We may not hate our jobs / We hate jobs in general that don't have to do with fighting our own causes." Still, on "Save Yourself" he's practical enough to advise up-and-coming MCs that "The next time you wanna be a hero / Try saving something other than hip-hop / And maybe hip-hop will save you from the pit stop." The production, by Blockhead, is utilitarian: low-key and lo-fi, with jazzy touches like the stand-up bass, congas, and alto-sax loop on an as-needed basis. Daylight is less conceptual and, aside from the El-P-produced "Nickel Plated Pockets," where Aesop glances past "a city full of World Trade Center victim candle vigils" on his way to the corner store, more playful: besides "Night Light" there's "Alchemy," a duet with Blueprint that sounds like they're rhyming for the sheer fun of it (imagine that). Saturday, April 13, 5:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

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