"Rings" shows Aesop Rock at his most lyrically venomous and rhythmically psychotic.
Pryor Stroud: Backed by a twisted, downtempo, virus-ridden beat downloaded from some dark-web marketplace, "Rings" shows Aesop Rock at his most lyrically venomous and rhythmically psychotic. His flow never sounds easy, but it's hard to turn away. The characteristically hyper-articulate verses sound like a mouthful, like crumbling rocks in his distended cheeks, but it leaves you mesmerized, committed to decoding the lexical grime that collects in your tympanic membrane and refuses to dissipate. [7/10]
Chris Ingalls: Brash and confident, Aesop Rock spills out rhymes with a killer half-time beat and a weird, psychedelic harpsichord-sounding pattern. It all seems perfectly suited to announce a return after a four-year absence. Brilliantly executed, the whole thing comes together effortlessly. [8/10]
Emmanuel Elone: Aesop Rock comes once more with some nice rhymes, dope lines, catchy hook and intricate wordplay. The distorted electronics and throwback DJ scratches add a nice touch as well. "Rings" embodies all of the great characteristics that Rock brings to the underground hip-hop scene, even if he's not necessarily stepping out of his comfort zone with this new single. [7/10]
Chad Miller: Aesop Rock projects powerful and relatable reflections as he raps of leaving art. The musical focus is put right on his verses where all of the magic happens. "Rings" is undeniably a rap, but it doesn't seem to belong to hip-hop as much as it sounds like an extension of twenty one pilot's "Car Radio". [7/10]
Aesop Rock's new album, The Impossible Kid, releases April 29th via Rhymesayers Entertainment.