EMCEE 101: VAST AIRE
I’m Muttpop Bob, another dude that’ll be posting on this board. I’ve been asked to focus a bit more on Emcees and lyrics since it seems that I’m more drawn to that than a few of my peers like Huey and Bruce.
I’m going to revisit a lot of personal classics…songs that may not necessarily be widely embraced for their brilliance…but that I’ve grown really fond of as a fan of hip-hop music. It seems that a lot of people struggle with breaking down why a particular Emcee is appealing to them. I hope to dissect things a bit further than just, “Yo dude…he’s SICK!”…and am totally open to hearing your thoughts.
Hopefully I’ll be able to make this into a weekly thing…where I post a bit on Emcees and stuff that I’m really digging. But before I get ahead of myself, I’m going to start off with this first post!
Okay, this first song ("ATTENTION SPAN") is off of Aesop Rocks’ FLOAT album. Released in August of 2000, Float was the album Aesop did BEFORE he became a staple member of El P’s Def Jux Label. But, this isn’t about Aesop; I want to focus on VAST AIRE.
Vast Aire is best known as a member of Cannibal Ox, a hip hop group from the NY based Atom’s Family collective that had their first and (at this point) only album, “Cold Vein”, released from Definitive Jux in 2001. Vast Aire also released the solo album “Look Ma, No Hands!” in 2004.
"Attention Span" (linked below) is the epitome of Vast Aire. His airy nasally flow sounds like a preacher using timing and silence as a means to emphasize his clever rhymes with emotional emphasis that makes already great lines even greater.
For every Emcee the beat is the backbone of their delivery. Everything they say needs to fit within the timing of the beats and rhythm of the musical production. Most Emcees play it safe and keep their deliveries very close in tune and time with the beat/drum (the most dominant sound of the production) to ensure that they sound complimentary to the music.
Vast Aire does the opposite; he pushes the rhythm patterns of his delivery as far out as he can to ensure that the power of his vocal delivery can emphasize his rhymes and lyrics. His deliveries sound like the solo riffs of an advanced jazz musician…pushing the limits of the music with various pauses and vocal delivery speeds that simultaneously lets the music and his own delivery breathe.
The lyrics speak for themselves. The underlying attitude is typical braggadocio, but Vast Aire brings so much energy that his delivery matches that very confident energy of producer Blockhead’s musical production.
Aesop wisely scales back and tightens his slurry intense flow to create a conflicting dynamic that highlights the extreme differences between him and Vast Aire.
Here is my favorite segment of Vast Aire’s lyrics (practically his whole bit):
Yeah yeah I (w)rap tight like Saran
Plus enter battles talkin shit like Look mom, no hands!
I'm tired of cats tryin to sum me
You can't add that far yet, that counting is far fetched
I treat MC like canines
Throwin words at they face to see if they bite when they catch
I told you my poetry sponsors Gillette
Now you standing there wit razors in your head like barrettes
Man, if the mic had ass cheeks
The sticker in my hand would say priority seating
And man, I dunno if it was me or you
But your girl was on my dick like she was teething
You play the role/roll, I'll play the poppy seed on top of you
The Godspeed is actual, that doesn't mean I act usual
One of the first MC's to give the crowd full attention
Cuz you need love and affection
[MP3] Aesop Rock feat. Vast Aire :: Attention Span