In 2011, Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic of Sonic Sum introduced their rap group Hail Mary Mallon with the spit kicker tour de force Are You Gonna Eat That? on Rhymesayers. As solo artists both rappers navigated murky waters of avant garde rap, both deeply-rooted in the dystopian and abstract. As Hail Mary Mallon, they put their artistic aspirations aside to write visceral missives against shadowy contenders who dared doubt their rap acumen. It was the closest either rapper had ever veered towards the traditional and yet remained futuristically sound.
After three years of touring as the deadliest tag team since Marty Jannetty and the Heartbreak Kid, Hail Mary Mallon returns on record with Bestiary, a new album dedicated to setting the dials to beast mode. On “Jonathan”, Hail Mary Mallon enter the arena to the scratch work of DJ Big Wiz encouraging them to “do that shit.” Aesop Rock sets the tone with “every couple summers / me and a couple hunters / like to row in from the island of astonishing mother fuckers”—lending assurance that Hail Mary Mallon would not return unless it was to trump their past shit-talking. As for the song title, Rob Sonic handles that by referencing the magician/comedian The Amazing Jonathan, who when you think about it, the two could be doppelgängers.
Hail Mary Mallon’s Bestiary is out November 11 on Rhymesayers Entertainment.