Since its release in 2016, ‘The Impossible Kid’ from Aesop Rock has become one of our most replayed rap records. It was a monumental moment for underground rap as it brought the scene to another new generation and reaffirmed Aesop Rock as the movement's veteran.
For an album with no features and produced entirely by Aesop in a barn, it’s aging like fine wine and shows no sign of wear. It’s a 15-track odyssey of introspection, honesty and anxiety laced with his fantastical imagery and abstract references to the magical. It broadly details his journey since ’Skelethon’ (2012) where he moved into a barn, got a cat and went to therapy. Innocuous things to a lesser artist, but AR turns this into a journey into the vivid mind of a once-in-a-generation artist.
The retrospection of past endeavours on ‘Rings’ is one of the most colourful tributes to days gone in recent memory, and the compelling honesty of the short ‘Get Out Of The Car’ marks a truly touching point of direct vulnerability for the almost constantly abstract MC. And on the tail end of the record, there’s the excellent ‘TUFF’ which shows Aesop stepping back into a trademark almost indecipherable allegory.
However, with the album having one foot in every day, and the other in the lands of ‘Labour’ and ‘None Shall Pass’, the proceeding track ‘Defender’ is about a neighbourhood watch against wildlife. The album can’t be faulted for its lack of colour or personality as Rock shows a more personal side of himself as he works his way through his past and fears.
Near seven years after its release, it remains a staple of the underground and the perfect introduction to Rhymesayers, Def Jux and potentially Mello and Backwoodz.
Essential listening and an absolute masterpiece.
‘The Impossible Kid’ is available in the Store now.