Aesop Rock

Ian Matthias Bavitz (born June 5, 1976), better known by his stage name Aesop Rock, is an American hip hop artist and producer. He was at the forefront of the new wave of underground and alternative hip hop acts that emerged during the late 1990s and early 2000s. He is signed to El-P's Definitive Jux label and is a current member of The Weathermen. Regarding his name, he said: "I acquired the name Aesop from a movie I had acted in with some friends. It was my character's name and it sort of stuck. The rock part came later just from throwing it in rhymes."

Aesop initially recorded and released two self-financed efforts, Music for Earthworms (1997), a full length featuring underground legend Percee P on two tracks, and the Appleseed EP (1999), online at, a website that was active until April 2001 while also working as a waiter[citation needed].

After moving to the Mush label, Aesop released his first major album, Float (2000), with guest appearances from Vast Aire, Slug, and Dose One. Production was split between Blockhead and Aesop himself, with one track by Omega One.

Shortly after releasing Float Aesop Rock signed to Manhattan-based label Definitive Jux (commonly shortened to Def Jux), where he released Labor Days (2001), an album dedicated to the discussion of labor in American society and the concept of "wage slaves". This album was most well known for its single "Daylight." Because of its popularity, Daylight was re-released in 2002 as a 7-track EP, including an "alternative" new version of the song, "Night Light," whose paraphrased lyrics simultaneously refer back to, and stand in stark opposition to, the original's. The song "Labor" (from Labor Days) was featured in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, giving Aesop Rock more recognition.

Labor Days was followed by Bazooka Tooth in 2003. For the first time, production was mostly handled by Aesop himself, with three tracks from longtime collaborator Blockhead and one from close friend and Definitive Jux label CEO El-P. Guest appearances include Party Fun Action Committee, El-P, and Mr. Lif (all Definitive Jux labelmates) and Camp Lo. With this release Aesop hit a higher level of recognition, releasing "No Jumper Cables" as a single and music video, then another single, "Freeze", shortly after. A remix of "No Jumper Cables" was featured on Tony Hawk's Underground 2, furthering Aesop's recognition.

In February 2005, Aesop Rock released a new EP, Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives. The first pressing of the EP included an 88 page booklet with lyrics from every release from Float until this EP (the lyric booklet is titled The Living Human Curiosity Sideshow); later pressings of the album come without the booklet, but with an additional bonus track, "Facemelter". In addition, a limited number of albums were available direct from Def Jux with Aesop Rock's graffiti tag on them. In response to demands from his fans, Aesop did less production on the EP: three songs are produced by Blockhead, three produced by Aesop, and one by Rob Sonic. During this time he was asked to join the Weathermen to replace Vast Aire.

Aesop Rock was commissioned to create a 45-minute instrumental track for the Nike+iPod running system, entitled All Day. It was released in February 2007. Distributed via the iTunes Music Store and featuring his wife Allyson Baker on guitar and scratches from DJ Big Wiz, Aesop has described the release as "something that evolved enough that the sound was constantly fresh and attractive, as though the runner were moving through a set of differing cities or landscapes."

All Day was followed in August of the same year by Bavitz's fifth full-length album, None Shall Pass (2007). The album also contained original artwork by Jeremy Fish. About Jeremy Fish, Aesop Rock said: "Man that guy is my hero. We have a friend in common who hit me up a while back saying that this guy Jeremy Fish had an opportunity to pitch a cartoon to Disney and wanted me to be involved in the music side. I flipped out cuz I was also a fan of his, and owned some of his work." Aesop Rock also teamed up with Jeremy Fish again in a project called Ghosts of the Barbary Coast. Aesop Rock made a song called Tomorrow Morning, to go along with a slideshow of drawings that Jeremy Fish drew. This was displayed in San Francisco, but was also made available for download online.

In 2009, Aesop Rock produced Felt's third album; Felt 3: A Tribute To Rosie Perez. Aesop recently announced via twitter that he is working on his next studio album, due to be released in 2011.


Single: Pigs

27 Response to "Aesop Rock"

  1. I'm loving this age of self-made musicians, especially online DJ's. A little production value may be lost, but artistically it goes a long way.

    Wow you really know your shit! Well detailed and very informative.

    Do any other rocks exist?

    Chris says:

    Interesting character for sure

    JamesPat says:

    awesome stuff, really vast knowledge there. Keep it up! Following now

    totally blowing my ears

    Joey says:

    very huge aesop fan and underground hip hop fan in general... big fan of felt 3 as well. great info on aesop. following :D hope you follow back

    Vapor says:

    Oh wow, I haven't thought about this guy in years.

    Choms1337 says:

    yeah, I don't know him too.. :D

    becca says:

    wow i just learned something new

    That is very informative and really interesting.

    I can smell what the Rock is cookin'

    nice vid

    Jordan says:

    follow back bro

    miecak says:

    Like the name.

    J-G-B says:

    Interesting post, I will be sure to check that out more.

    Anyways thanks for your comment even though you said I was a schizo lol.

    Following and supporting.

    Nice post... Aesop is pretty tight. You pack a lot of info in your posts!

    My posts aren't quite as substantive but you might like something anyway...

    A says:

    Thanks for turning me onto this band, i am following your taste in music

    Dorgee says:

    Great post and great band. Ima follow you.

    Always up for some new music to listen to, definately following you :)

    TunaSpam says:

    Great writeup! Following for sure!

    Chris says:

    Interesting read. Following for sure.

    MEANDI says:

    very interesting read man. Sweet blog

    Isaac says:

    ive listened to him before, good stuff

    i love his music

    Great article, Great read!

    Check out my blog: - Daily Tech/Design/Random Stuff

    Aesop is legit, now I know his story. "Water" and "None shall pass" are great songs.

Post a Comment