Aesop Rock has been an influential and prolific underground hip hop presence since 1997. It may have been a few years since his last solo outing, Skelethon, but he has always managed to keep himself busy with projects like Hail Mary Mallon and The Uncluded. Now he has returned to the scene of his solo music, packing a punch with the fantastic The Impossible Kid.
Of all the admirable albums in Aesop’s discography, The Impossible Kid may be his finest hour. He’s reached this achievement by maintaining his catchy earworm hooks, crystal smooth flow, and challenging yet undeniably fun lyricism, while also crafting a record that is deeply heartfelt and personal.
Aesop maintains a coy sense of humor and playful self-awareness while also wearing a lot of thoughts and early memories on his sleeves. Songs like “Lotta Years” and “Shrunk” gleefully make snarky asides at his own ego while remaining honest about those insecurities and their roots. Some songs like “Water Tower” or “Dorks” are less playful about the subjects of depression and mental illness but are never unbearably heavy. The singles “Rings” and “Blood Sandwich” as well as the track “Get Out Of The Car” are so personal they are essentially auto-biographical. Rock admits to regrets, reminisces on childhood memories, and gives his brothers a touching tribute. Particularly in “Blood Sandwich” Rock’s fascinating lyrics and attentive eye for detail paint a perfect picture in the head of the listener, putting them in the middle of highly realized scenes like the gopher execution at a little league baseball game.
What makes this album so great is that absolutely everything about the record is tied together so perfectly. All tracks are expertly ordered to flow seamlessly together, guided by a musical tone that is distinctively Aesop Rock, but with a strange new electronic note that makes it sound like it would fit perfectly as a soundtrack to a dystopian science fiction film. This music is complimented by album artwork that reflects and partners itself with the music of the album in a wonderful way. Like any great album that is remembered through the years, all aspects of The Impossible Kid work with each other and seamlessly mix and match. The Impossible Kid is a product made by a musical veteran who has honed his skills over years and years and has revealed what could possibly be his magnum opus.