On The Impossible Kid Aesop Rock offers a collection of highly detailed narratives over his guitar-heavy underground hip hop sound aesthetic. The production highlights Aesop’s rhythmically advanced flows making for a very smooth, cohesive piece.
Lyrically, the album touches upon themes of Aesop Rock’s history of isolation. On “Dorks,” Aesop finds himself discussing the characters he’s met in the rap game and makes a point about how artistic people seem to find it hard to fit in: “I think we’re all a bunch of weirdos on a quest to belong.” Aesop paints a mysterious aura about him with the line, “Always been a private dude who couldn’t keep a tally of which lies to tell who” from his song “Supercell. Beside these thematic points, Aesop weaves stories in excruciating detail. On “Blood Sandwich,” Aesop gives insight to his family life through a basic story about a little league baseball game. In this particular instance, Aesop’s brother is in the outfield being distracted by some sort of animal, which frustrates his couch as he allows a homerun to pass him by: “New left fielder give a fuck about a homer/Got a homie, little rodent, head and shoulders out his hovel.” He then makes a connection between his brother’s cluelessness and his grandmother’s cluelessness as his grandmother continuously shouts “Go Cubs” throughout the song; Aesop then specifies that the “Cubs ain’t playing.”
As far as production goes Aesop favors darkly tinged soundscapes very heavily leaving little room for contrasting ideas or standout tracks. Distorted guitars and reverberated synthesizer sounds are rampant throughout. The beats are generally very acoustic sounding avoiding the electronically tinged trap beats of modern hip hop, resulting in a somewhat throwback sound. His lack of vocal features allows for the album to remain subdued throughout, but he also doesn’t create any ear worm hooks or standout tracks. Although catchy hooks aren’t necessarily a requirement for good songwriting, Aesop’s sound also isn’t very experimental or unique resulting in an album that’s fun to listen to, but not very memorable.
Overall, the album seemed to serve as a good rundown of where Aesop Rock is as an artist. He’s a strong producer and lyricist. The album entertains from beginning to end, however, it’s certainly not breaking all of the rules or providing the world with any radio hits.