If I were to tell you that a man named Ian Matthias Bavitz had mad rapping skills would you believe me? Probably not, just because it doesn't have that gangster feel to it. Unlike rappers such as 50 Cent, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg Ian Matthias Bavitz is a white boy name. I can't imagine another thug rapper going up and saying "Yo, this cat named Ian Bavitz has some tight rappin' skills playa." I mean you can't even shorten a name like that to give it a gangsta feel, let's face it, Ian Bavitz is already in trouble before he even started.
Now, if I were to tell you that Ian Matthias Bavitz is also known as Aesop Rock would that interest any of you? Maybe, that all depends if you're into hip-hop music or not. I'll give Ian some credit for referring to himself as Aesop Rock just because it sounds much better. To be honest that's not the real reason why I give Ian so much street cred, the main reason is because of his hip-hop album Labor Days
First things first I'm going to analyze Ian's rapping skills. He has an extremely deep and smooth voice, it's both nasty and rebellious. The man slurs his words nicely and spits them out with authority, he has a ton of energy and sounds quite pissed in most of these tunes. If I heard this man rap without ever seeing a picture of him I would immediately assume that he was an African American. His booming voice is so just so damn soothing and smooth, but the thing that makes everything work is the phat beats that he is rapping over. The music consists of deep bass-lines, crafty beats and some sneaky trumpets, guitars, and various electronic effects that make their way into the music. The interesting instrumentation works well because the music still has a tight rap feeling while Ian still has the ability to be creative.
is a chill out/relax type of hip-hop album. It's not very aggressive and rough, it's more slow paced and Ian's gangsta voice creates a deep, and night club type feel. Labor Days
is the kind of hip-hop album that you can just put on and let it roll all day. It's extremely addicting and soothing, it's also fun just to kick back and sing a long to some of these tracks. Aesop Rock is a perfect example of laid-back hip-hop music at its finest.
The album kicks off with one of my favorite hip-hop tracks of all time, Labor
. It's propelled by a deep, easy going bassline that is repeatedly played throughout the whole entire song. Ian's voice takes control of the song right away, and his rapping is quick and very mellow. The easy going beat is hardly noticeable because of the pounding bass work and the mellow vocals. The following track, Daylight
is much more uplifting and bright than Labor
. It features a melodic electronic guitar riff along with some stuttered beats. It's much more quick paced then anything off the album and the chorus has a nice little flute line to go along with it. Ian's voice is smooth as hell on this one, he sings nearly every minute of the song and keeps everything upbeat yet mellow. Save Yourself
explores areas that the album hasn't seen yet. It takes eerie sounding female vocals, along with a gentle little guitar riff and forms a haunting little riff. The "oohhhing" backing vocals are bone chilling and Ian manages to mix in some various electronic effects throughout the song. The first three songs are all obvious highlights.
Other highlights would obviously include Coma
. It's the simplest track off the album, comprised of a simple bass line and a steady beat. Funky guitar riffs make their way into the song at points and the song will force you to nod ya' head. No Regrets
is a trippy hip-hop tune, and Ian takes turns rapping with another guest rapper. The main focus is on the simple yet effective beat. It sounds like a combination of a harp and a light sounding grand piano. The two rappers spit out words at a quick pace and the beat goes on throughout the track. Some turntable samples weave in and out of the music, but for the most part the song is comprised of just a beat and some deep voice rappers. Aesop Rock at its best.
Other then these five tracks nothing else really stands out amongst the album. I'm not saying that the rest of the songs are not worth listening to but nothing is really up to par with the other five tracks that I mentioned. Flashblood
is as close to electronica as Aesop Rock gets to. It's another track with a deep pitched beat and Ian's rambling rap skills. The thing that makes it slightly different from every other song is that it has a gentle, spacey vibrating riff throughout the song. I really enjoy the whole "space" feel to the track even though Ian's rapping doesn't synch up to the beat, nor the various electronics. One Brick
is sort of a watered down version of the opening track. It is propelled by practically the same bassline and has almost the same exact night club feel to it. Boombox
is the big single that was released off the album. It's the most inventive track off of the album featuring hissing noises, dynamic beats, and some monotone vocals. The thing that takes the song down a notch is that it runs over five minutes long and nothing seems to change up that much. Ian decided to go with just one formula and stick with it for the whole song. Battery
is another that suffers from being to lengthy. It is extremely addicting at first, it has some African sounding timpani beats, some coohing noises in the background and Ian goes back to his monotone vocal delivery. If the song wasn't stretched over five minutes long then it would be much more effective. Aesop Rock have some brilliant ideas, and the production is very well done but they could have easily shortened some of these songs down.
That's basically all I have to say about Labor Days
. It's a great hip-hop album, and I wish I could reward it with a higher rating because there are some amazing tones, beats, and basslines. The album is very well done musically, but at points Ian lets a certain beat go on for to long and recycles some material which just kills the album. Ian's vocals are deep, booming, and mellow and the only problem is that he tends to ramble on and on over the music and it just doesn't fit very well. That being said when Aesop Rock creates a good tune it is jaw dropping good. There are about five or six amazingly good rap songs and Labor Days
is extremely relaxing, soothing, and fun to sing a long to. If you enjoy rap music in general then I think this is something that you should defiantly look into. Although Ian Matthias Bavitz doesn't sound like he can rap it up with tha true gangstas 'n thugs, his rap skills are superior to most of them and this cat truly represents.