Aesop Rock is known for having the most verbose emcees in hip-hop. With his intricate wordplay and wild imagery, he has become one of the most fascinating characters in the genre for me. His willingness to embrace the weird and experimental has led to this new collaborative album with TOBACCO, who is recognised as Black Moth Super Rainbow, an experimental electronic project that has released some of the most innovative music within the genre within the last decade or so. Together, they released the album Malibu Ken, a surreal hip-hop album with swirling synths and dense poetry that match the cartoonish and freakish cover art that accompany it.
Whether it’s the humorous and clever lyricism on “Tuesday” with “I can’t even keep a cactus alive when I’m present/When I’m gone, it’s a groundbreaking botanical epic/From desolate to Little Shop of Horrors in a second/It’s weird knowing life thrives more when you exit,” or the gruesome imagery “The pizza face is pepperoni, carbuncle, and caper/I’m bunions and contusions, bumps, lumps, and bruises/Discoloring and other things I can’t reach with the loofah,” it’s Aesop Rock’s surreal and dark message that is what attracts me to this project. As for TOBACCO, his off-kilter, 80s-style synth-led production brings a perfect soundscape to this experimental body of work.
It’s wildly different to what I’ve covered in terms of music so far, but I absolutely love what Aesop and TOBACCO did on this album, and I can’t wait to see where they go from here. Listen to their collaborative album Malibu Ken below via Bandcamp, and make sure you support! Released via Rhymesayers Entertainment.