None Shall Pass

  • Record Label: Def Jux
  • Release Date: Aug 28, 2007
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. None Shall Pass envelops the sounds of hip-hop’s spiritual home more than any album in his notable career.
  2. Beats-first, lyrics-second people have enough here to return to, and lyric freaks know there's plenty here to unpack.
  3. Aesop Rock’s terrifically brooding new record.
  4. There's actual substance to unpack in the album, but Aesop's indomitable presence on record and his knotty co-production with Blockhead and El-P make what he says incidental to how he says it.
  5. The talent, both of Rock and his guests (which, besides El-P, also include Ron Sonic, John Darnielle from the Mountain Goats, Breezly Brewin', and Cage) is impressive, and makes None Shall Pass an album that deserves a lot of attention, both inside and outside the hip-hop world.
  6. Essentially, it’s the effects of Aesop’s modesty that keeps him afloat above some of his equally skilled contemporaries. (This, in addition to the dope factor, more than makes up for the moment when the album overwhelms and shapes into a part-primal/part-industrial drone.)
  7. Almost certainly his best effort since 2001's "Labour Days," None Shall Pass finds Aesop Rock at the top of his game with a consistent piece of work rather than simply a passable album.
  8. None Shall Pass may or may not be the best album in Aesop Rock’s discography, but it might be the most fun to listen to. Call it his San Francisco Renaissance.
  9. It doesn't take anything away from his historical weirdness to say that None Shall Pass has some of his most understandable hip-hop to date, as long as you don't worry much about what he's trying to impart.
  10. Let the bloggers cry about the change all they want but None Shall Pass is the most focused and dare I say accessible album of Aesop’s career
  11. When None Shall Pass drags late in the first act, it's largely due to tracks that seem intended to reprise the contemplative vibe of the Float era. A few Jukie guest spots, brazen as the production, round out the way the album works best.
  12. Aesop's verbose mike heroics take center stage here, but there's ample creativity to be found in the tasteful and striking accompaniment as well.
  13. Aesop's fables still require a decoder ring, but the plainer settings make them more effective as post-Beat poetry.
  14. You can't decipher most of what he's saying, and sometimes you're better off. And the beats, provided variously by Blockhead, El-P, and Aesop himself, are rarely more than serviceable. Still, when things come together, as on the title track, we're reminded why many consider this guy the reigning champ of indie rap.
  15. Aesop Rock's None Shall Pass is filled with precise lyrical detail and head-nodding production, and the result is his most accessible record of his career to date.
  16. None Shall Pass is a record you can listen to over and over, simply in trying to decipher exactly what's being said, adding almost infinite replay value.
  17. Aesop's preference for boring "live" beats tends to hit somewhere between the Roots ('Getaway Car') and Linkin Park ('None Shall Pass'), but that hardly matters: it's his delivery that commands the attention here.
  18. This hour of hip-hop defines itself as a mess of parts: Rock's speed-shifting delivery, lyrics that deliberately tangle, the jumble of rich instrumentals and detached voices he and his partner Blockhead bring to production.
  19. Under The Radar
    80
    While not as thrilling as his last few releases--it is another stellar chapter in a brilliantly penned book. [Summer 2007, p.87]
  20. The album isn’t without its faults--its probably too long, and though the production may differ from other albums, it blurs together somewhat over the course of the album. However, there’s one song on this album that renders all such complaints irrelevant--the title track. None Shall Pass is undoubtedly one of the best things Aesop has ever done
  21. It's good to hear our man Aes no longer forgoing pleasure in the pursuit of ambition.
  22. Spin
    70
    [Aesop Rock's voice] Paired with the Long Island rapper's abstract, self-aware lyrics, it makes None Shall Pass a challenging, rewarding head trip. [Sep 2007, p.122]
  23. That said, Aesop Rock’s album is all the better for his apparent hard-headedness, consisting as it does of occasional bouts of self-mythologizing meant to arouse curiosity while simultaneously knocking the cluetrain off its tracks and, of course, paeans to the ubiquitous Sucka MCs among us.
  24. Entertainment Weekly
    91
    It's heady but funn stuff, eased along by bluesy, turgid grooves from frequent collaborators Blockhead and El-P, as well as Aesop himself. [31 Aug. 2007, p.65]
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Sep 10, 2011
    10
    Great album, with masterfully blended lyrics. One of my favorite albums of all time, you will listen to this only understanding half of theGreat album, with masterfully blended lyrics. One of my favorite albums of all time, you will listen to this only understanding half of the things he raps. All his songs will need 5+ listens to begin to comprehend his lyrics. Full Review »
  2. tomuncle
    Nov 19, 2007
    10
    good stuff.
  3. Jan 8, 2016
    9
    A classic. I loved this album and still listen to it all the time. I think it is one of Aesop's best albums. Hard beats and complicatedA classic. I loved this album and still listen to it all the time. I think it is one of Aesop's best albums. Hard beats and complicated lyrics. Some classic songs and great featured artists. And not for every hip hop fan either. It is very unique but worth a listen. Full Review »