The prolifically verbose Aesop Rock likes to lower his lofty ambitions and get goofy sometimes, just to show he’s not the po-faced dictionary-sniffer he is commonly perceived as. After his light-hearted club banger “Take a Titty Out”, his latest happy-go-lucky offering, “Long Legged Larry”, focuses on the heroic exploits of a frog, the titular Larry, who may or may not be based on a real frog. In honour of American National Frog day, naturally. After last year’s critically lauded, shamanistic Spirit World Field Guide album and the recent tribute with Homeboy Sandman to the dearly departed MF DOOM, a little levity was probably needed for Ace Rizzle’s mental wellbeing.
“Long Legged Larry” seems to take the form of a quirky kid’s tale, and suddenly, after all these years, we finally see Aesop’s full potential as a teacher and guiding light to the youth. The beat hits that balance of understated funk and scuzz blues where Aesop Rock usually hits his stride, a balance which has happened a lot more since he has been producing all of his own beats. The song is an inspirational story of a frog who can jump as high as the clouds and the various ways he uses this skill to rescue animals in peril and serve his community. The video, a stop-motion affair created by animator Rob Shaw, adds to the legend of Larry by depicting him as a kind of amphibian Forrest Gump.
The whole thing is entirely weird but family friendly and fits in that Adult Swim demographic if they held back on the hyperviolence, sexual content and bad words. Adventure Time has definitely widened the horizons for the levels of surrealism kids can be exposed to, allowing a track like this to be passed on to their children by supercool hip-hop dads like me. If we had all been brought up on the teachings of Aesop, not the dumb one with the self-righteous fables, imagine the great things that would have happened and the horrifying things that wouldn’t.
“Now once upon a time there was a cat in a tree
Chased a squirrel up, been stuck since three
The fireman came, said "It's too high for me"
How's that cat gonna ever get free?
Young Jack Turner was a staple on the block
Said he knew about a frog with an XL hop
The neighbours started laughing, but Jackie wouldn't stop
Ran off, came back, guess who he got?
Well, it was Long Legged Larry, didn't open his mouth
Like a rocket to thе moon through a cumulus cloud
Touch down safe, lay the scaredy-cat on thе ground
If you listen real close, you can still hear the crowd”
As a kid who grew up on Roald Dahl, like many others, this is the kind of nonsensical rambling which informed a lot of my sensibilities. Kids will always love inspirational tales of animals engaging in uncharacteristically adventurous behaviour presented in a colourful format. “Long Legged Larry” doesn’t appear to be part of any upcoming project or multimedia hub, but that hardly matters. People have already written university dissertations on Aesop Rock lyrics and, following on from this track, I want to see Aesop in elbow patches, fully embracing his teacher role, leading the next generation into a less harrowing future. At this point I must legally declare that the Cult of Aesop is NOT A CULT.