When the online metal community is asked what their favorite albums of the year are thus far, one wouldn’t expect a hip-hop album to pop up anywhere. I, however, boast a current list of favorites that includes hip-hop artist Aesop Rock‘s latest opus Skelethon in the top five. As strange as it is, Aesop Rock is quite an outlier in my music library; he’s the only rapper that I consider myself an avid fan of, having jumped on the bandwagon as soon as I heard his previous effort in 2007’s None Shall Pass, one of my favorite non-metal albums ever.
- A humorous guide to mummifying your dead cat on ‘Homemade Mummy’
- An ode to Aesop’s favorite donut shop on ‘Fryerstarter’
- A poem about a dog saving a drowning infant on ‘Ruby ’81’
- Getting an awesome haircut and a lesson in motivation in ‘Racing Stripes’
- A clever telling of a child’s refusal to eat his vegetables on ‘Grace’
See, Skelethon finally reaches an apex in Aesop Rock’s writing ability. His out-there verbosity meets legitimate storytelling, possibly a direct response to the criticism Aesop received, being accused of stringing together serial non-sequiters. While he has always spoken out against these criticisms of his enigmatic lyrics, there’s no denying that Skelethon makes a larger effort to take a narrative approach.
Open minded metal fans may find something of interest in Skelethon. At the very least, you might end up with a newfound appreciation for the possibilities of a genre you may have wholly discarded long ago.