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Artist: Aesop Rock
Album: Labor Days
Label: Def Jux
Production: Aesop, Omega One, Blockhead
Guests: C-Rayz, Walz,Illogic
Stats: 2001, 14 tracks, 61 min
Reviewed by: Datsun

This album grows on you like a pair of sneakers that just get more comfy over time. I hadn't heard of this Aesop character until he signed on Def Jux. The label, started and owned by E-lp, is host to The Weathermen, Mr lif and Cannibal Ox. What a good find. It can be hard for a single MC to make an entire album exciting, Aesop does it though, with his untamed and rough sounding voice, and irregularly structured rhyme schemes.

What does he spit about? Well for the most part it's a struggle through modern times, the hardships of life, some of it is nonsensical poetry (for me at least), but mostly it's not too hard to grasp. The title 'Labor Days' is a theme carried throughout the album, from Personal experiences to fictional stories. You do not hear Aesop fronting about his ability ('I bounce cheques like a modern man') nor about crews selling out for the cash, he's not out to tell the world how good he is. His criticism is thrown in the faces Of all people (himself included) who follow daily, wake-up-go-to-work-go-home-sleep-repeat routines.

Quotable lyrics are common - 'And if I plow the fields that don't guarantee plentiful harvest But starving artists die, I set my alarm for five o'clock Idols block survival crops the cycle stops for nothing The Bible's carp revivalist winos flock by the hundreds', proving that he is both articulated and well versed. Aesop's use of the English vocabulary is vast and impressive. On the track 'Daylight' Aesop aptly states ' Life's not a bitch, life is beautiful woman, You only call her a bitch cause she wouldn't let you get that pussy, Maybe she didn't feel ya had any similar interests, Or maybe you're just an asshole who couldn't sweet talk a princess'...ouch! Most of the production is on point and, even though its far from conservative, don't expect Company Flow weird/experimental type sh*t, el-p didn't have fingers in this pie. Checkout the riff and simple guitar sample on 'Labor', check out the violin and synthesizer sounds on 'Flashflood', the African drums and flute on Battery.

If the album were a cheddar melt steak, the beats would be the thick slab of cheese that oozes out as you slice it open, and even though there are a lotta bouncing tracks I doubt it would be played in a club. It's not the sort of album that's gonna go down well with mainstream Hip-Hop heads, but what do I know, give it a listen and decide for yourself.


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