Unearthed: Aesop Rock— Skelethon
Posted in Unearthed
5 YEARS IN THE MAKING
written by: Marshall Holmes
Aesop Rock's new album Skelethon has finally dropped today, put out by none other than the indie hip-hop lab RhymeSayers Entertainment. The album has been long awaited since being announced in 2011, and while Aesop has stayed busy over the past 5 years with acts like The Weathermen and Hail Mary Mallon, it's safe to say that fans will still be pleased to finally have another solo album from the alternative hip-hop pioneer.
Skelethon holds true to Aesop's classic, darker hip-hop style, with his abstract and sometimes inscrutable lyrics, and music heavy beats. As his first ever completely self-produced LP, his production drips heavy with emotion tied to each song. Through this, Skelethon becomes very personal with lyrics describing inner angst, personal experience, and dealing with the negative. A series of YouTube videos titled "Behind Skelethon" offer a look inside the brain of the DJ/MC, showing the unique style that came out by taking on both the lyrics and music. The two elements intertwine to reveal a poignant reality that can be felt throughout the album.
Skelethon’s first single, "Zero Dark Thirty" released in April, is one of the faster paced songs off of the record, and was described by Aesop as his "temper tantrum," reflecting on times when you "lose your shit." The album also features Kimya Dawson (Moldy Peaches) and Hanni El Khatib on Track 7 titled “Crows 1”, an eerie, slow, bass heavy song about walking through graveyards, with all of the dead people you don't know. It’s no surprise that Dawson is featured on the album, as she and Aesop have been collaborating on an anti-folk/alternative hop-hop side project "The Uncluded." Philly Psych-Rock band Grimmace Squad, provides some samples for the first song "Leisureforce," for a more chilled-out introduction than one might have expected with some drum heavy beats, matched with fleeting guitar riffs and subtle synth in the background. Other tracks on the album include "Fryerstarter", about a donut place in San Francisco, and “Cycles to Gehenna”, a song about (and should be listened to while) driving a motorcycle at night.
Being in the music scene a long period of time can be tough as an artist. Many artists’ fans change throughout their career and too often we hear things like "their first album was the best" and "those guys are sell-outs now." While some bands definitely sell out over time, Skelethon holds fast, featuring a more intimate look at the artist while still staying true to his hip-hop style, as well as his affecting lyrics. For indie hip-hop enthusiasts, or anyone whose been listening to Atmosphere, Brother Ali, or anyone else off of the Rhymesayers label, this album definitely won't be a disappointment. I would.
Stream Aesop Rock’s Skelethon below, and purchase it now on iTunes