In 2014, data scientist Matt Daniels published a chart of rappers who used the most unique words in their first 35,000 lyrics. DMX bottomed out the list with a paltry 3,214. Artists associated with Wu Tang Clan skewed higher, with GZA using 6,426 unique words. Way up at the top of the list is Aesop Rock at an embarrassingly high 7,392 words. For context, Herman Melville's Moby Dick falls at 6,022.
Critics are at odds as to whether it's a good thing even the most erudite listeners have to consult their dictionaries when listening to Aesop Rock, but that hasn't diminished his popularity—his puzzle-box songs rife with ill AF rhymes have made him a cause celebre.
In April, Aesop Rock released his seventh album, The Impossible Kid (Rhymesayers Entertainment, April 2016) and, as part of the Hey Kirby tour, Sunday, Nov. 27 he'll be at The Knitting Factory for the first time since Treefort 2016 with Rob Sonic and DJ Zone.
The bookishness of Aesop Rock's rhymes aside, his shows get raucous.