Song of the Day: Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass

collage by Derrick Chamberlain

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Morning Show host John Richards, is None Shall Pass by Aesop Rock from the 2007 album None Shall Pass on Definitive Jux.

Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass (MP3)

Aesop Rock is incapable of dabbling with the same sounds for too long. After coming to the underground’s forefront with 2001’s Labor Days, Rock’s progressiveness hasn’t waned a bit. To shake things up this time around, he moved from New York to San Francisco and, in addition to recording the new album, took part in some interesting side projects. After being approached by Nike, Aesop Rock produced All Day, a 45-minute mix to make runners forget that they’re running. He also found time to work with San Francisco artist Jeremy Fish, who also did the album cover art, on a short story about the creative process entitled The Next Best Thing. The experiences of Aesop’s last two years have led to the best album of his career, thanks also to the production skills of labelmates Rob Sonic and El-P. Listeners will be both surprised and delighted to hear more live instrumentation on the record, including a kazoo solo on the last track. And instead of reaching out to hip-hop bigwigs, Aesop Rock chose to collaborate with the likes of John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, who appears on the song Coffee. The rest is Aesop Rock at his lyrical best, maintaining his relevance and stature for years to come. Aesop Rock appears at the Showbox 10/28. Check out his MySpace page for several other Northwest show listings — speaking of which, here is Aesop Rock performing the title track, None Shall Pass, during our broadcast from Musicfest NW earlier this month:

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