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Aesop Rock

Background information
Birth name Ian Matthias Bavitz
Born June 5, 1976 (1976-06-05) (age 33)
Origin Long Island, New York, United States
Genres Alternative hip hop
Occupations Rapper, producer
Years active 1997 – present
Labels Definitive Jux
Mush Records
Associated acts The Weathermen
Blockhead
The Orphanage
El-P
Felt
Website Definitive Jux Biography

Aesop Rock (born Ian Matthias Bavitz on June 5, 1976) 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." [1]

Contents

Career

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 on "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.

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." [2]

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. [3]

In 2008, Aesop Rock was named the 19th most influential artist of the decade, according to betterPropaganda. 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.

Personal life

Aesop Rock performing live

Bavitz grew up in Northport, New York and attended Northport High School. He married Allyson Baker, guitarist of San Francisco rock band Parchman Farm in 2005. They now reside in San Francisco, California.

He has tattoos on each forearm. His left arm says the words "Must Not Sleep", and the right says "Must Warn Others," which are quotes from the classic 1956 sci-fi movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Aesop Rock has used these quotes as lyrics in the chorus of his song Commencement at the Obedience Academy: "Must not sleep; must warn others / Trust blocks creep where the dust storm hovers." He also used the them in his song "Antisocial," in the line "Must not sleep; must warn others / I'll tourniquet your turbulence then trample on your stutters."

The "Daylight" EP contains a hidden track at the end of the disk where Aesop discusses a period of severe depression. According to the song, "In August 2001 my seemingly splinter-proof brain bone scaffolding imploded. I kept it on the hush, but nearly tumbling to the cold hard concrete on near bodega trips for cigarettes and soda shook me to casper. Dizzy with a nausea chaser, motor sensory eraser agoraphobe tunnel vision, guilt, self loathing arrangements."... Simply put: "I don't know what happened, or what's still happening, but I literally feel like I'm teetering on the blunt edge of my sanity." The song is written in dedication to four people who helped him with his problem.

Bavitz is a graduate of Boston University where he studied painting.

Lyricism

Bavitz's lyrics are generally seen as complex and abstract. Critics state that the use of words can be so detailed that it becomes difficult to determine their originally intended meaning.[4] The interpretation is highly subjective, because the messages conveyed are not always clearly defined. The lyrics are sometimes inspired by events which have occurred in Bavitz's personal life.[5][6] Questioned about his lyrical style in an interview, Bavitz responded:

It’s probably because it’s not the most accessible music in the world. It may pose a slight challenge to the listener beyond your average pop song. I'm no genius by a long shot, but these songs are not nonsensical, that's pretty preposterous. I'd have to be a genius to pull this many nonsensical records over people's eyes. It's not exactly fast food but when people pretend I'm just spewing non-sequiturs and gibberish I can’t help but think they simply haven’t listened and are regurgitating some rumor they’ve heard about me. Even if it's not laid out in perfect sentences—is any rap?—you’d have to be an idiot to not at least grasp a few things from these songs. Or have had no interest in pulling anything from them in the first place.[7]

Selected discography

Albums

EPs

Compilations

Recent Releases

  • Ghosts of the Barbary Coast, released with Jeremy Fish (2009)

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Aesop Rock (born Ian Matthias Bavitz in 1976) is a hip hop musician, rapper and producer.

Unsourced

  • The water ain't safe; the land's made of water. I hung a half-empty glass, my dignity's tryin to pawn 'er. I'm tryin' to see the future in a teacup and a saucer but, I'd rather be drinking coffee with my cigarette foster.
    • Water
  • I'd rather live it, cuz dreamers always chase but never get it.
    • "No Regrets" from the album Labor Days
  • Must not sleep, must warn others, trust blocks creep where the dust storm hovers
    • "Commencement at the Obedience Academy" from the album "Float"
  • And lucy knew what people thought but didn't care, cuz while they spread their rumors through the street, she'd paint another masterpiece
    • "No Regrets" from the album Labor Days
  • Look. I've never had a dream in my life 'cause a dream is what you wanna do but still haven't pursued. I knew what I wanted and did it 'til it was done, so I've been the dream that I wanted to be since day one.
    • "No Regrets" from the album Labor Days
  • There's smoke in my Iris but i painted a sunny day on the inside of my eyelids
    • "Battery"
  • Til priests laps are slapped with parental advisory warnings, I'll be auditioning gods in my office on Monday morning.
    • "Holy Smokes" from the album Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives
  • See every now and then I love life but hate to admit it because it spreads the jinx of the sleeping cynic.
    • "Mayor and The Crook" from the album Float
  • If you want to push then I'm ready to push, but if your pulling while I'm pushing then why'd you ask me to push.
    • "I'll Be OK" from the album Float
  • I told this cat the earth was flat, he walked 'til his beard grew long enough to strangle himself for being stupid.
    • "Flashflood" from the album Labor Days
  • See, my sexy sabotage seeks defensive action to save the race, you land in hand on board to mention magma (Blaze the place).
    • "Mars Attacks" from the album Bazooka Tooth
  • ...but damn, kum bai fucking ya dog.
    • "Zodiacupuncture" from the album Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives
  • Scrub blood off the AF1 fifty two pick up first degree some toddler's smuggled tommy guns and crack into the nurseries dogg, there's a fucking baby at the door asking for wallets and those ain't twin beanie babies inside his pockets 2010 sonograms show the magnum's worn directly out the fetus evolution for the young killer convenience.
    • "Babies with Guns" from the album Bazooka Tooth
  • Jiggy-jabberjaw vitamin idol and primal rages. When bible page verse tidal waves begun (Water one, I wrote the book that shook America to splinters in a winter wasteland Icicle-bound barren township. Call Baron Munchhausen's proud gimps to clinch this chemical war pig, delinquent sinkin' like a paper tugboat well beneath your holidays. Beached on a red tide infested shore corroding eastern seaboard beauty. I'm a jigsaw slab, but all the pig saw was dirt bag.
    • "The Yes and Y'all" from the album Labor Days
  • Inorganic pat on back. trim the panic flat on backer. Back to back like Mad Hatter magic rabid mastiff collaborative splatter bachelor fabric fatter with Cabbage Patch lit.
    • "The Greatest Pac-Man Victory In History" from the album Bazooka Tooth
  • I pace the game for zero hour completion cretin, splash. Duke of early retirement picket dream. American nightmare hogging the screen. I’ll hold the door open so you can stumble in if you’d stop following me ‘round the jungle gym. Now it's an honor, and I spell it with the ‘h’ I stole from ‘heritage’. Merit crutched on the wretched refuse of my teaming resonance. I promise.
    • "Daylight" from the album Labor Days
  • And on his journeys found the secret to world peace: kill every motherfucker but me. You cool with that? Cool. Bang. You cool? Hang. You? No? Uh...bang. Cool. Sorry dog. Rules is rules.
    • "Fast Cars" from the album Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives
  • Wanna be a fighter pilot driving that childish early Wright brothers experiment prototypic model fossil. Sittin', sweatin' bullets on a console busting accidental dirt bike donuts outside the most ridiculous poison-tongue-brain-silo.
    • "Boombox" from the album Labor Days
  • Fumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen, Pour myself a cup of ambition and, Yawn and stretch and my life is a mess and If I never make it home today, God bless.
    • "9-5ers Anthem" from the album Labor Days
  • Life's not a bitch, life is a beautiful woman. You only call her a bitch 'cause she wont let you get that pussy. Maybe she didn't feel y'all shared any similar interests. Or maybe you're just an asshole who couldn't sweet talk the princess.
    • "Daylight" from the album Labor Days
  • Just a little bruise in the back of the pews. Acting amused with a mask on them Vatican blues. For in the eyes of the organization I was raised in, Aes is just another cynic-brick in Hell's basement. Cubicle adjacent to the killers and rapists. For what? Drugs and fucking is part of growing up.
    • "Holy Smokes" from the album Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives
  • I am human. Hear me rise above material incarnal sin. They shot me in the face. Mars wins.
    • "Mars Attacks" from the album Bazooka Tooth
  • Welcome to Bazooka Works. Halogen halo eyesore. The revolution will not be apologized for.
    • "We're Famous" from the album Bazooka Tooth
  • We the We the American working population hate the fact that eight hours a day is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn't us. And we may not hate our jobs, but we hate jobs in general that don't have to do with fighting our own causes. We the American working population hate the nine to five day-in day-out but we'd rather be supporting ourselves by being paid to perfect the pasttimes that we have harbored based solely on the fact that it makes us smile if it sounds dope.
    • "9-5ers Anthem" from the album Labor Days

External links

Wikipedia
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