After shocking critics of underground rap with his 2001 Definitive Jux debut, Labor Days
, expectations for Aesop Rock's second DJ album Bazooka Tooth
were high. Make no mistake, the classic Aesop Rock nasty flow is there, the beats are dense, the bass-lines are dark, the effects are crisp. It is all there. But there is something missing.
The edgy lyrics that defined his 2001 success are still strong (when you can actually make them out), but the beats are lacking the right kind of feel, and ultimately that is the big problem with this album. It seems Bazooka Tooth
takes on a different approach, using basement-level beats, rather than the catchy samples that defined Labor Days
. He almost seems out of his element at times, producing beats that rival only paint drying or grass growing in terms of excitement. Anyone with any sort of an attention span realizes that this album is lacking musically.
If there is one saving grace for Bazooka Tooth
it is the lyrics. Each song is a detail-driven narrative, and the use of clever rhyme schemes and wonderful wordplay throughout. Make no mistake, there is nothing that Ace Rock won't use to paint his picture to you, and he assaults you with every idea he can think of to the point where if you don't have the lyrics in front of you, it is a lost cause.
The lyrics really have some substance behind them, but the casual listener can't be expected to appreciate them. For example, at first listen, a song called "Babies With Guns" comes of as glamorizing guns. But upon a closer inspection of the lyrics, he makes quips like "if your Jesus piece around your neck is bigger than your pistol, it makes homicide okey-dokey, and your God will forgive you. Just show the saints at Heaven's gate you should be on the list. 'I heard he overlooks manslaughter for a tattooed crucifix.'" or "Running from a rabid ring-wraith click basilisk serpentine, in and out of traffic jam and murder scenes. Scrub blood of the AF-152, pick up first degrees. Some toddlers smuggled Tommy guns and crack into the nurseries. Dog, there's a ****ing baby at the door asking for wallets. And those ain't twin Beanie Babies inside his pockets. 2010 sonograms showed the Magnum formed directly out the fetus. Evolution for the young killer convenience.", and the song becomes a intense social commentary on the state of guns in our society. The tough thing is, this album comes with no lyrics :( , and there is no way to comprehend every detail that Ace spits without them.
While the lyrics are the strong point, and the beats the low point, there are still many quality songs on this album, they just have to be appreciated in a slighty different way than his previous album.
"Babies With Guns"
"The Greatest Pac-Man Victory In History"
"Cook It Up"
Overall, I would probably reccommend this album to someone who enjoyed Labor Days
. It isn't quite as good, but it is still strong. Another plus is the fact that my copy came with a free Def Jux bonus CD which is also pretty good.