Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman released a sequel to their mixtape Lice on Sept. 29 titled Lice 2: Still Buggin’. Independent rap giant Aesop Rock has never been one to shy away from the abstract and outlandish, and once again he and Homeboy Sandman deliver in this regard. Whether or not you are into this type of rap, you have to acknowledge both Aesop and Homeboy’s talents for producing creative and unique songs.
Homeboy Sandman immediately hits the opening track, “Zilch,” with a fierce verse, attacking the beat with rhyme after rhyme, with a smooth and seemingly never-ending flow. That is an aspect that his voice shares with his counterpart on this mixtape, as well as the ability to hypnotize the listener. And yes, this talent is very consistent throughout the five tracks. Aesop has done it so well in the past, and he continues to do it through his amazing alliteration, similar sounding phrases and convoluted images.
Their voices and styles complement one another. Even though they both rap in monotone voices, their verses are far from boring. Aesop’s voice is warm and alive, whereas Homeboy’s is dry and lifeless. In addition, both make use of natural meter rather than changing their word rhythm. Seldom does Aesop deviate from this, but when he does, he leaves a brief silence. This may seem insignificant, but it changes the flow.
Compared to Homeboy’s fast-paced style—and all of the other stylistic differences and similarities—the duo makes each track musically more complex. Their lyricism is more poetic than much of the other rap and hip-hop artists of the time.
Even if you are not able to sort through the meaning of the lyrics at first, the musicality of these two artists is spectacular. They put so much effort into filling their verses with alliteration, rhyme, meter and more, and this effort shows.
The beats across this mixtape are incredibly unique. Variation is important, and these tracks offer many different beats and types of backing music including electric guitar, drums and piano. Each song has a distinct sound to it.
Furthermore, despite the beats being odd at times, they help create a mood that fits with the lyrics. For example, in “Mud,” the beat sets up a feeling of anxiety, and in “Stop the Bleeding,” the intense noises mixed into the beat creates a mood of emergency.
The track “Couple Things” stands out above the rest because it shows how well the beats go with the lyrics and how Aesop can mold meaning through abstract phrases and how Homeboy can execute smooth over his verse. It also shows how their voices complement one another.
Together the duo can create fantastic verses through their extensive use of musical elements to send the listener into an auditory trance. However, if you are familiar with Aesop and his music, you know that things can get weird and that does happen a few times throughout the mixtape. Despite these moments, one of which is the repetition of the phrase “oatmeal cookies,” both Aes and Homeboy demonstrate their ability to tell stories through rhythm, rhyme and meter. Lice 2: Still Buggin’ scores a seven-and-a-half out of ten. This style of rap is not for everyone, but if you are curious, give it a listen. It certainly is worth it.
Contact CU Independent Arts Writer Benjamin Vernon at firstname.lastname@example.org.