written by Andrew Lunny
Since his first proper release of ‘Appleseed’ (since the earlier ‘Music for Earthworms’ was more of a compilation), Aesop Rock has been recognized as one of the underground’s sharpest emcees. Throughout ‘Appleseed’ and its follow-up full-length, the excellent ‘Float,’ Aesop established a reputation as a lyricist of vast intelligence but formidable abstraction. With last year’s awesome ‘Labor Days’ Aesop, perhaps influenced by his new Def Jux colleagues, worked on more traditional rap skills: brash flows and a more lucid, though still creative, approach to songwriting. The ‘Daylight’ EP pushes this further: taking one of the album’s more approachable songs as its starting-point, its probably his most likeable release yet.
Don’t get me wrong, Aesop’s still Aesop. But Aesop’s five new songs on ‘Daylight’ (discounting ‘Daylight,’ the previously-released ‘Maintenance,’ and Blockhead’s excellent instrumental piece ‘Forest Crunk’) demonstrate a harder, more aggressive style then we’re used to, both in the beats and the rhymes. The disparity is most evident on ‘Nightlight,’ a reinterpretation, more than a remix, of ‘Daylight,’ with a sinister new beat and a cynical line-by-line revision of the original’s hopeful lyrics. Life is a “BI-OTCH” this time instead of a beautiful woman; ‘Nightlight’ emphasizes the bleak reality over the ideal. The twists on each line are sometimes awkward and generally can’t match the original, but as a concept the song is perfectly executed, and a good intro to most of the CD.