“Ian Matthias Bavitz 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.”
Born in Northport, Long Island, New York, 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 aesoprock.com while also working as a waiter. These two independent releases are widely sought after in the underground scene.
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.
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 2010.”