Aesop Rock’s ‘The Impossible Kid’ Explored: Interview with Alex Pardee

Aesop Rock: The Impossible Kid and His Artistic Journey

The Curious Kid and the Lush Forest

One day, an adventurous kid decided to explore beyond the boundaries of the bustling metropolis where he spent his entire life. Curiosity drove him to venture into an isolated forest, far from the overwhelming cityscape. It was in the enchanting woods that he conquered his fears and unexpectedly found solace in an old barn.

He soon encountered a mystical cat named Kirby, and together they embarked on a series of awe-inspiring adventures. Their days were filled with self-discovery, treasure-hunts, newfound animal friendships, and the power of imagination. Although it may sound like the plot of a captivating Cartoon Network show, this is the real-life story of my friend, Aesop Rock.

Aesop Rock: More Than Just a Rapper

Aesop Rock willingly embraces the label of a rapper, but it is the term “artist” that truly encapsulates his essence. Throughout his career spanning since 1997, he has released six solo studio albums, collaborated with numerous musicians, and showcased his creativity and vast vocabulary. Aesop Rock’s music has resonated with countless individuals hungry for inspiration and has left an indelible mark on the music industry.

An Artistic Journey in the Woods

Recently, I had the privilege of accompanying Aesop Rock to the lush woods of Washington as he prepared to continue his journey to Portland. During our time together, I worked closely with him on art direction and design for his upcoming seventh solo studio album, “The Impossible Kid.” Amidst his conversations with raccoons, birds, and even the trees themselves, I managed to squeeze in some questions of my own.

The Origins of the Barn in the Woods

One of my burning questions for Aesop Rock was how he ended up residing in a barn in the middle of the woods. He shared that he had reached a point of stagnation in San Francisco, feeling unproductive and disconnected from the social scene. With skyrocketing rent prices, he contemplated returning to his hometown of New York. However, the exorbitant costs led him to consider alternative locations where he could temporarily live frugally and focus on creating music. Portland surfaced as an affordable option with familiar faces, but it was his friend in Washington who presented him with an intriguing opportunity – renting a barn with a small studio apartment to serve as his home for a year. Aesop Rock saw it as the perfect chance to seek refuge in an unconventional setting, immerse himself in his work, and save some much-needed cash.

Decoding “The Impossible Kid”

With the release of his new solo album, “The Impossible Kid,” Aesop Rock explored various meanings behind the album’s title. In the song “Get Out Of The Car,” he refers to himself as “The Impossible Kid,” showcasing his endless and often challenging quest to find contentment and peace within himself, his surroundings, and his art. The album delves into the pursuit of happiness and satisfaction, while also highlighting the resilience and stubbornness that define him as a creative individual.

Crafting Intricate Songs

Aesop Rock’s songs have always possessed a highly constructed feel, comparable to meticulously painted artworks rather than quickly scribbled sketches. When asked about the average time it takes to create a song, he explained that his process is not linear. He doesn’t start a song and complete it in one go; instead, it evolves gradually over time. Lyrics begin as simple words and notes, while beats start as basic loops. Aesop Rock follows these seeds of ideas, expanding the beats and adding more lyrics as inspiration strikes. He often works on multiple songs simultaneously, allowing him to switch between them when he feels stuck or needs a change of pace. This method ensures that his songs grow organically, resulting in a body of work that resonates with him before he re-records the vocals for consistency.

A Dilemma between Art and Music

One of the intriguing aspects of “The Impossible Kid” is the allusion to Aesop Rock abandoning an art career to pursue music, which seems to evoke a hint of regret. During our conversation, Aesop Rock revealed that he had always been passionate about art since childhood. Drawing and painting captivated him, and he dedicated years to honing his skills.