Since rolling onto the scene stormfront-style with his group Cannibal Ox's 2001 debut, The Cold Vein, Vast Aire has been one of the most excessively talented and exciting rappers in underground hiphop. Even amongst the formidable skills of his Ox-mate Vordul Megilah and the totally weird and stunning production of El-P, Vast Aire emerged the most thrilling discovery yielded by The Cold Vein. Though sometimes characterized by his (relative to some) cool demeanor on the mic, VA's flow is thoroughly intense and salted with a sense of mental urgency and hyper-creativity. He deftly strikes an absolutely perfect balance between geek culture references, joyful linguistic fencing, and utter poetry. Some of the dissections of the hard knock life on The Cold Vein and his solo debut, last year's Look Mom…No Hands, are far more emotionally wrenching and beautifully scripted than pretty much anything the indierock world has to offer.
Conversely, Look Mom… contains plenty of moments of sheer silliness and "What Goes Up," the first proper track on the just-released The Best Damn Rap Show, packs in references to Spider Man's alien costume, House of Flying Daggers, and Curb Your Enthusiasm in the space of a few bars. In both modes though, Vast Aire delivers a sheer excitement that few rappers of any stripe can match; his verbosity and his artistry are both viscerally thrilling and, quite often, totally moving. On The Best Damn Rap Show he boasts, "If rap is poison, I'm the antidote" and one would be hard-pressed to refute it.