Following a five-year hiatus, San Francisco-via-NYC hip-hop artist Aesop Rock recently returned with his first solo album since None Shall Pass. Released by the Rhymesayers label, Skelethon is the rapper’s effort to come to terms with the death of a close friend, as well as the deterioration of several friendships and close relationships. “Death has become commonplace in my life,” he says. “The past few years was an endless period of skeletons. But, hopefully, Skelethon will help put all of this behind me. It’s like a giant purging—like finishing a chapter and preparing to jump into the next one.” Aesop will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our recent feature on him.
Aesop: Somewhere along the line I think I turned into that guy who really doesn’t identify with most new music. When I discovered Brownsville rapper Ka‘s Grief Pedigree LP from earlier this year, it became the one album I didn’t stop playing.
The record sounds like a guy going through old records in his room and piecing together eerie loops to zone out to. You can really hear the process in there as much as you can hear the finished product, and while I find that so much of today’s rap music is too crispy clean for me, this record jumped out as something much more personal. You can tell Ka made it because that’s just what he does—whether or not you ever hear it.
The rhymes are for the most part really visual tales from growing up in a difficult area of Brooklyn, but it’s not your average N.Y. thuggery—it feels more like well-written tales from a tangible struggle. So many great lyrics on here, and song-wise there really isn’t a weak link on the whole album.
Ka has at least one other solo LP out before it, and was part of the ’90s NYC crew Natural Elements, but for me, Grief Pedigree is where it all seems to come together. I can’t recommend this record enough, and I really look forward to hearing what he will do in the future.
Video after the jump.