Way back in 2008, idiosyncratic indie-rap legend Aesop Rock teamed up with far-out synth-gloop producer Tobacco, one half of former Aesop Rock tourmates Black Moth Super Rainbow, on a song called “Dirt.” Now, more than a decade later, the two have teamed up to release a full collaborative album called Malibu Ken. And it’s great.
Aesop Rock and Tobacco have always been playful in their weirdness, but they’ve been playfully weird in different ways. Tobacco likes to take melodies and drown them in disorienting effects, making a psychedelic alternate-universe form of electro-pop. Aesop, meanwhile, is a virtuoso at twisting words up in strange and unexpected ways.
They bring the best out of each other. On Malibu Ken, Tobacco makes bloopy, head-ringing synth-rap beats that sound like absolutely nothing else. And Aesop sounds livelier than he is in years. He gets into subjects like his ’80s metalhead upbringing and the perceived grossness of his own body, and he rains syllables down all over Tobacco’s production with rare panache. We’ve already posted the videos for “Acid King” and “Corn Maze.” And now that the whole album’s out, you can (and should) stream it below.
Malibu Ken is out now on Rhymesayers.