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Aesop Rock
Fast Cars, Danger, Fire And Knives EP
by: Sun-J

Just like any Def Jux release, Aesop Rock pushes the limits of psychedelic hip hop. The first 20,000 copies will be accompanied by an eighty-page book of lyrics, artwork and photos called The Living Human Curiosity Sideshow. Why Aesop just didn't include a lyric book with every release I'll never know; but his aggressive mic presence and his tenacious grasp on verbs makes it difficult to retain everything he spits. Producer Blockhead who was responsible for many of Aesop's pre-Bazooka Tooth beats returns, and contributes three ("Fast Cars," "Number Nine," and "Holy Smokes") of the seven songs on the EP. The Brooklyn born Aesop has a penchant for fiery street tales and verbose emotions which surface again on the EP.

The opening track, "Fast Cars" features a serious baseline beat, and Aesop rides it perfectly maintaining an even flow throughout. The lyrics are complex as usual, "Tomorrows extracurricular punching bag will finger daddy's widow maker out a brown lunch bag...," and Aesop's excitement is transcended strongly through his energy on the track. "Number Nine" features a drumline-like beat while "Zodiaccupuncture" floats around a rock/synth guitar that blends with a tube-organ. Aesop's second verse is very tight, and it's hard to even tell if he breaths. On "Holy Smokes" Aesop's quarrel with the Catholic Church comes full circle, "By the time I was old enough to know what religion was, I was Catholicism-numb and truly didnít give a f***..." This track is very reminiscent of the vibe on Appleseed. On the Rob Sonic-produced "Winners Take All," Aesop reaches a new plateau as an artist. Written from the perspective of a confused, unprepared soldier thrust into the heart of combat, the track is an utterly convincing--and unexpectedly devastating--condemnation of war. The album immediately feeds off the momentum of "Winners Take All," and even amps it up further with "Rickety Rackety" featuring El-P and Camu Tao, but it's Aesop who brings the most fire, "...pitch black lung and a purple heart, then you kick back once the inertia starts..." "Food, Clothes, Medicine" will definitely catch the ear of the b-boy nation with its amplifying beat, and inspiring lyrics. Fast Cars, Danger, Fire And Knives is not as monumental as Daylight or Appleseed, but is definitely on par with Bazooka Tooth. Mad props if you got a hold of the eighty-eight page lyrics book, it truly is an artistic coffee table centerpiece for an hip hop head. My only beef with the EP is that it's a bit of a tease; in addition I recognized a few verses from freestyles Aesop Rock has spit over the past year and a half, but then again, perhaps it's my imagination, because who the hell can seriously remember this man's rapid fire, contra-command delivery?
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