Only when I pedaled past him

Here’s an all-timer for ya. (Edit: Originally, this post linked to Aesop Rock’s Labor Days, but that audio and video has since been removed from Youtube. Go find a copy and listen to it immediately. Second edit: It’s back.)

I spent my time in college quietly assembling a nice collection of underground hip-hop. It became a personal well for demons and dreams and guilt and ambition, the sort of altar that one keeps in a musty basement and only visits when the umbra of reality encroaches and demands relief. When I interviewed Slug a few years later, he told me that hip-hop saved his life. I just think it’s a home for some of the most creative artists in the country right now, and I’m happy to tune in.

This album, though, in particular, blew my mind open a long time ago. I have all sorts of rough-draft High Fidelity “top five” lists in my life, and this one always make the Albums category cut. It’s a beautiful album, one that Aes uses to work out his thoughts on *how* to spend time and life. Namely, we could decay on the banks of others’ dreams or we could create wonderful new realities and explore uncharted human frontiers. Life is a choice. The second song on this album, “Daylight,” flips that message succinctly.

Blew my mind open.

Makes me think of another fine sentiment, this one from the Good Doctor: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”

Been a good weekend. Saw some old friends. Played some long-forgotten card games. Sat around a late-November fire. Ran into a lamppost in the service of humor and ripped my jacket. Etched a story on a chalkboard.  Told a lie about blood. Watched 22 Jump Street, which, wow!, is hilarious. And, blessedly, surgeons saved my friend’s life. Thankful for much.

Go change the world.

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