eMusic Review 0
So many musical crimes have been committed in the name of "conscious hip-hop" in the years since Labor Days was released, it's become impossible to consider this gloomy forerunner with anything other than mounting skepticism. You've been in this situation before — returned to a book you loved in college only to find it hamfisted and overwritten, stared at your once-beloved Beat Generation box set with a mixture of dread and shame.
The good news I bring you is this: Labor Days is as good as you remember, possibly better. Aesop's million-syllable-a-second surrealism is still arresting: he lets loose a barrage of sound then yawns out the final word, a weird, disorienting cadence that remains stupefying no matter how many times you hear it. "Fantastic planet urchin putting work in/ Searching for pertinent verse, minus the murderous diversions/ Apologies won't lure me to the communal sob story," he yammers in "Labor," and that's as close to a statement of purpose as he comes.
This would just be a mere parlor trick if it wasn't for the production, which is uniformly breathtaking. A string of icy arpeggios scramble up the center of "Save Yourself," Aes presciently advising: "The next time you want to… read more »