Review: Aesop Rock And Tobacco Are Malibu Ken

By: Alvindra |

Aesop Rock might not be a household name in the music industry, even in the mainstream Hip Hop media. However, the Big Apple rapper has a cult following, predominantly of those who have followed him since his New York underground days. Known as the man with the largest vocabulary in Hip Hop, Aesop has released seven studio albums prior to his newest one. On January 18, 2019, Aesop and producer Tobacco released a joint project, Malibu Ken.

The 10 song, 34 minute joint combines Aesop’s underground flow, quirky, humorous lyrics and word choices, with Tobacco’s trippy Electronic beats, which works out really well. The album revolves around many issues Aesop faced, most of them talked about ironically using his peculiar vocabulary choices. Lyrics “I can’t even keep a cactus alive when I’m present / When I’m gone, it’s a groundbreaking botanical epic / From desolate to Little Shop of Horrors in a second / It’s weird knowing life thrives more when you exit” – the track “Tuesday” clearly represents the issues Aesop are facing everyday, such as not being able to take care of even the smallest things in his life. He also explores social problems in United States. The lyrics “None of his bills paid, all of his ilk romp / Half of them uninsured, all of them film cops / Call of the wild kid, trade a cow for seeds / I’m in the clouds smelling blood from the cowards beneath” from the song “Save Our Ship” paints the social injustice happening in America, where many people are unable to receive proper wages and adequate healthcare, the criminal justice systems are corrupt, violence dominates the country, and big corporations rack up wealth on the expense of the people. Other tracks discussing this matter includes single “Acid King”, which compiles societal and systematic problems of America with the twisted story of murderer Ricky Kasso. The album’s heavy topics are accompanied by joyful, yet weird psychedelic production from Tobacco, which adds to the appeal of Malibu Ken.

Overall, this is a solid project by Aesop Rock and Tobacco. Both of them know their niche market and successfully utilize it. Lyrically, the quirkiness and unexpected depth successfully delivers the vision Aesop and Tobacco are creating and is pleasing most of his cult followings. Although sonically it can come up as predictable and repetitive, the album is still enjoyable, thanks to its production, as well as Aesop’s exceptional performance on every tracks. Malibu Ken might not be an album that everyone would enjoy, yet it’s still a very recommended project for either alternative Hip Hop enthusiasts or music enthusiasts who are not opposed to expand their musical horizons.

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