Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic
Metro Chicago 2/6/15
by Dan Scheiman
As expected due to the immense devout following Aesop Rock possesses, the Metro was entirely full of high energy, rambunctious fans. Aesop Rock shared the stage with fellow MC, Rob Sonic, and DJ Abilities. The two MCs have collaborated on two albums together now with their project Hail Mary Mallon. Busting out their satirical single about money, “Whales” from the most recent album, got the crowd fired up. Throughout the remainder of the show a fan on the balcony was raining fake money onto the crowd.
Between the 3 of them, they had a brilliant chemistry that seemed to project out into the crowd immediately; beyond that, they were incredibly tight and precise. For how complex and obscure some of Aesop Rock’s lyrics are, along with his unorthodox flow, this was especially impressive. You could tell these two have been working together for a while. At one point Aesop Rock said to Rob and the crowd “I can’t stop laughing and it’s hard to rap when you’re laughing. This is too much fun.” He didn’t stop smiling once throughout the entire show. The crowd erupted after a very simple question was asked: “Are you happy to be alive?”
Aesop Rock is known primarily for his unbelievably deep vocabulary and poetic brilliance, but to see him actually spit some of the tracks like “Coffee” and “Try Not to Die,” is nothing short of remarkable. Some dedicated fans actually had the ability to keep up with him word for word. When it was clear that the two lyricists needed a breather, they introduced DJ Abilities once more and proclaimed that he was going to take us back in time. This DJ proceeded to show off his incredible skills while sprinkling in samples of old hip hop artists like The Beastie Boys. The crowd loved every bit of it.
This wasn’t my first time seeing Aesop Rock, but I can guarantee I’ll be catching the show next time he comes to town. His liveliness and intensity has increased greatly over the last few years. He and Rob seem to be an excellent and creative duo. Aesop Rock also just recently dropped a new EP called Cat Food. Keep an eye out for any of the Rhymesayers crew coming to town; they never disappoint.