Aesop Rock | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Aesop Rock 

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With each album that New York rapper Aesop Rock puts out, his beats get more cluttered and his lyrics sound more like riddles. But his vocal style stays the same: he articulates every word but snaps off his rhymes quickly, practically warping them into a different language. On his latest EP, Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives (Definitive Jux), Aesop's verses and choruses just manage to miss getting run over by the backing tracks, in which snares and zapping sounds bonk and boing against each other to create heady syncopation. On "Holy Smokes" Aesop professes he doesn't give a fuck about religion as a trippy, snaggletoothed synth bites into the creeping xylophone filling in for bass and violins carve maudlin rivulets through the din. "Zodiaccupuncture," my favorite track, has a Eurofunk disco vibe that gets dangerously close to cheesy, but I like Aesop's audacity: he sounds like he did poppers with some Dutch girl with waist-length braided extensions who gave him some great ideas. I can do without the high-pitched female voices eeking like Betty Boop and moaning like porn stars. But a lot of rappers mellow with age, and I like that Aesop is only getting more hyper. DJ Biz Wiz and SA Smash open. Wed 4/6, 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16. All ages.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kathryn Frazier.

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