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Weekend Earworms: Aesop Rock

An estimated 98% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times that we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things ever.

We here at Nerdist are dead-set on bringing you those types of songs, if only for the weekend. We’ll be scouring the internet for the best earworms we can shove into your meaty brains!

Hey there, did anyone in the comments already try to make the case for Aesop Rock sounding particularly close to A$AP Rocky? If so, just ignore those people because Aesop Rock is… ahh… whats the word… “better!” Better than A$AP Rocky and I’ve had a suspicion the similarity of names was done intentionally in some way to try and garner better Google results.

Anyway, Aesop Rock is one of the better alternative hip hop acts of the last decade or so and even if you don’t recognize the name, he’s probably contributed to something you’ve heard even by accident. His incredible vocabulary in tongue-twisting and intense verses paired with catchy hooks make his songs incredibly earwormy. His lyrics have always had a vibe of being very stream-of-consciousness while still being thoughtfully written. While he continues to do some amazing things in his more recent endeavors like The Uncluded – which I can only delightfully describe as “Folk hop” – today’s article will focus on some older tracks. Listen to The Uncluded though. You’ll be saying “Boom-er-oomer-oomerang” for days.

None Shall Pass

Quite possibly one of his most well-known songs, 2007’s “None Shall Pass” had an amazing “Gilliam-esque” animated video and was also released on Adult Swim’s Definitive Swim (which features artists from the label Definitive Jux and is still available to download for free and well worth a listen if you’re a fan of alternative hip hop). The steady beat and strange sample making up its chorus drove itself into my brain those 8 years ago and it hasn’t let go. Sadly, most people were unaware because Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” came out the next month and took over the airwaves in addition to teaching your grandparents a dance that ended with allusions to ejaculating on someone’s back. Tale as old as time.

Rickety Rackety

Going a couple years further back, this track off of 2005’s Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives features two other powerhouses of underground hip hop – El-P and Camu Tao. Fast paced and just as lyrically complex, the song hearkens back to the the older days of hip hop groups each taking turns on verses and choruses. All three artists have songs on that Definitive Swim album that you should already have downloaded for free!

No Regrets

Call me crazy but I think it’s a shame that storytelling in hip hop seems to have taken a backseat to a lot of overproduced hooks in popular music. I’ve always enjoyed a good story in music and the one in this tune is both beautiful and inspiring. “No Regrets” tells the life story of a girl named Lucy and her love of art. Throughout her life she’s judged and ridiculed for having such laser focus on one thing – often to the detriment of other things that would be considered normal – but she never lets it get to her. The 2:56 mark has “Lucy” explaining her outlook on life:

“Look, I’ve never had a dream in my life/Because a dream is what you wanna do, but still haven’t pursued/I knew what I wanted and did it till it was done/So I’ve been the dream that I wanted to be since day one!”

We’ve all heard “follow your dreams” at some point in life but it’s clear we should take a page out of Lucy’s book and be right there with them.

What are your favorite Aesop Rock songs? Let me know in the comments below!

Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. You can be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)

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