Although Aesop Rock is known for being difficult to follow lyrically, due to his extensive vocabulary and use of symbolism, The Impossible Kid is considered to be one of his most accessible albums.
That being said, his music is as lyrically interesting as ever.
“It requires a certain level of engagement from the listener,” Aesop Rock, whose real name is Ian Bavitz, explained in an interview.
“I don’t know that people put it on while being social. It doesn’t work as background music, which is a lot to ask of anyone.”
The Impossible Kid is also an intensely personal album. It focuses on issues such as growing old, Aesop Rock’s unsuccessful suicide attempt and the death of his friend, Camu Tao.
For example, in the song Rings, he looks back on his days as an art student, and how he regrets not pursuing that path.
“I guess I touch on subject matter that may be less common in rap, but it’s hard to say that without recognizing that there is a ton of artists doing a ton of cool shit,” said Aesop Rock.
Jared Sandau, a first-year SAIT student who DJs under the name Jaydios, said that he believes rappers are elevated by rapping about issues that are close to their hearts.
While gangster rap and club rap may be more popular, Sandau said that he grew out of those forms years ago.
“If you’re somebody who really cares about the music you’re listening to, then you just eventually start looking for stuff that’s deeper,” said Sandau.
It is a large part of the reason Sandau has moved away from playing in clubs over the last couple of years and prefers playing shows.
“Clubs,” he said, “are pointless.”
“They are designed for people to socialize in, but the music is too loud to hear what anybody is saying.”
Ultimately, you end up with an audience of people that are neither there for the socializing, nor the music.
“I’m somebody who’s pretty into music, and I play what I like to listen to,” said Sandau.
“So, I play for people who are into music, and they don’t go to clubs.”
As an electronic dance music artist, Sandau thrives on his live performances, rather than on the depth of any lyric.
It requires a certain level of engagement from the listener. – Aesop Rock
Instead of symbolism and imagery, he relies on his crowd work, carefully sculpting the attitude of his audience, and then building them up to a precipitous drop.
“There are times when you get your crowd expecting a big drop, and you take them somewhere totally unexpected, and they go wild,” said Sandau.
“It’s an incredible feeling.”