“Zero Dark Thirty”
Rap, understandably, always has placed an emphasis on lyrics, but most rappers are content to find the cleverest way to proclaim their sexual prowess and/or ability to rap well and call it a day. Rapper Aesop Rock (born Ian Bavitz), a veteran of now-defunct label Definitive Jux, doesn’t aim so low, shoving allusions, metaphors, and symbols into a motley band of verbosity that’s unmatched in hip hop. This is rap on hard mode. Don’t expect to understand everything he says on first listen (or tenth), a fact that’s earned him both praise and contempt. Case in point: one of the biggest selling points of a 2005 EP was a fat book of his collected lyrics. He returned this past July on Rhymesayers with Skelethon.