By now Slick Rick's "Children's Story" is a frat party standard and KRS-One's elementary style is a page in hip-hop history. With The Next Best Thing, a Jeremy Fish-illustrated picture book and read-along 7-inch by Aesop Rock, the duo are reinventing hip-hop storytelling for a new generation. A monologue on creative frustrations ("To my heart of gold medics with aesthetics on a string you will forever by employed by the next best thing."), Fish represents the main character as a skull-headed everyman who travels through a surreal world populated with symbolic bunnies, turtles and lightbulbs. Like the '70s-era kids books it takes its inspiration from, "you will know it is time to turn the page when you hear the chimes." Buy it for $25 from Upper Playground.