As a connoisseur of underground hip-hop, I know an Aesop Rock song when I hear it. The internal rhyme structure, the critique of capitalism, the beat that sounds like it was made by a 1986 scratch DJ who only samples Squidward clarinet solos. You can imagine my surprise upon hearing such a specific landscape of sound emanating from my local bodega, only to find that it was not someone playing “Labor Days” from their speakers: It was just some schlubby white guy in a ballcap muttering to himself real fast. Could this genius be the next Aesop Rock? I decided to follow him around NYC and find out.
After a few minutes of watching this potential genius waddle around, he starts beatboxing super fast near the assorted jerkies. Then he spins around and says “CARBOHYDRATES, ketones on a pie plate, make my tummy vibrate.” Just as I was about to ask him what these lyrics symbolized, the dude just starts violently binge-eating all the store’s display donuts til the owner kicks him out.
The thought crossed my mind that perhaps this guy wasn’t spitting elaborate metaphors about American society, and was actually just craving carbs. But as an Aesop Rock fan, I knew there had to be a deeper meaning to all this. After all, if there is one thing Aesop Rock cannot resist, it’s making a huge impact then taking a mysterious hiatus. That’s basically the hip-hop equivalent of eating all the display donuts in a bodega and immediately getting kicked out. The parallels were just undeniable at this point.
After trailing this future rap superstar for a few blocks, I finally mustered up the courage to ask him where he gets his inspiration for such dope rhymes. He looked me dead in the face and dropped some of the illest bars to ever bless this earth: “Shmibity-Shmallet, I’mma steal your wallet.” Then, in a probably unrelated act, he punched me in the face and stole my wallet.
To this day, I don’t know where he took my wallet, but I assume it was to go to a recording studio and definitely not to buy more of whatever drugs he was on. Meanwhile, I have the rest of my life to try and figure out what metaphor he was trying to convey. Even for underground lyrical scholars like me, some musical mysteries remain unsolved.