Music critics and rap fans alike have labeled Aesop Rock too verbose for his own good, accusing the rapper of writing nonsensical bars that require the aid of a dictionary. It's true that with an Aesop song, you often have to listen over and over and over again to make sense of the words he's strung together — and then listen again to unpack the message. His wordiness is even proven: According to a May 2014 study published by data scientist Matt Daniels — wherein he compares the vocabularies of 85 rappers — Aesop does indeed have the biggest vocabulary in hip-hop.
Photo: Chrissy Piper/Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment
"I think I've always been a kid that, like, when I heard a word that I didn't know, I looked it up," Aesop says. "When I write stuff, I want it to be unique....I just like hearing words, I like hearing how they fit together. There's a million little things that you can tweak within the English language that will really put a lot of weight on different aspects of your sentences and different aspects of your rhymes and lyrics. It's part of the deal to me; it's part of what I like about it."More »