Aesop Rock (born Ian Matthias Bavitz) is an emcee and producer from Northport, Long Island, who currently resides in Portland, Oregon and calls Rhymesayers Entertainment his home. Originally studying art in college, Aesop gravitated towards pursuing rap music as more than just a hobby, following meeting future collaborator, Blockhead, while attending Boston University. When graduating in 1998, he had already recorded several projects, including 1997’s Music for Earthworms, helping lead him to securing his first record deal in 1999 with Mush. Shortly after the release of his first major album, Float (2000)—which featured Slug, Vast Aire and Dose One, as well as production split by himself and Blockhead—he gained the attention of Def Jux, signing to the label and releasing Labor Days a year later (2001).

Following the success of these early projects—with Labor Days becoming the first to appear on the Billboard Independent Charts (peaking at 15) and his track “Labor” being featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4—Aesop began building a name for himself. His recognition grew steadily with each release. As he added to his discography in the early aughts, Aesop found himself being commissioned to create a 45-minute instrumental track for the Nike+iPod running program. He then collaborated with artist Jeremy Fish, with Fish creating album artwork for Aesop’s fifth full-length, 2007’s None Shall Pass and Aesop crafting a song, “Tomorrow Morning” to partner with Fish’s gallery Show in San Francisco.

After a four-year hiatus, Aesop went on to create a joint album with anti-folk singer, Kimya Dawson, and make his Rhymesayers debut as a solo artist in 2012, with the release of Skelethon. With the release of his seventh studio album, The Impossible Kid, in 2016, many fans have held Aesop Rock in high regard as an artist who is not only getting better with age, but also consistently reinventing his sound and fostering his creativity.

Aesop Rock: I really always go back to that Homemade Mummy song on Skelethon for some reason. I don't know why. After all, it was really just a special moment for me, and I don't know why but that one came exactly how I wanted it. It's not too long. I can tend to be way over wordy anyway, so two verses in and out, and it's just this simple concept that I really always go back to that one as one that I like to do. I didn't play it today, but it's kind of my go to. If I ever have to immediately perform a song, I just put that one on and do it.

Speaker 1: Yeah, exactly. In terms of, I would say that phrase too, I never had a dream in my life [crosstalk 00:00:49]. Do you still really feel like you're living the dream? Or what dreams are there to come?
Aesop Rock: The song was a story about somebody else, so it doesn't ... It's nice to think that way and to try and approach life that way, but it doesn't ever fully really work that way, you know? Sometimes it's a dream, sometimes it's a bit of a nightmare, but I do have to remind myself that I'm pretty lucky to have been doing this for this long. I'm about to be 39 next week. I quit my last day job 15 years ago, 2001. So I do, during the times when I'm not enjoying it, I remind myself of those things and say, you know, this is what you wanted.
Speaker 1: You got what you wanted. You have the-
Aesop Rock: Yeah, you know, when you're in the middle of it, you can't tell ever. Sometimes it takes someone else to be like, "Hey, you're doing pretty good", and you're like, "Oh, I guess so. All right. I should probably look at it like that." But it's hard to just say I'm being an artist and I'm happy and I'm successful. That shit doesn't come out of my mouth very often, you know.
Speaker 1: Especially as you're getting a little bit older. I'm getting into my mid-30s. I was talking to Jeremy about like, you're at a point like this is what I do, there's no other Plan B and to figure out how to keep that going.
Aesop Rock: Yeah, I was telling someone the other day, for a while you think this is what I'm doing and what am I going to do next? And then you realize you're pretty much, you're already in next. You know what I mean? There's no turning back at this point.
It's just how to keep it exciting and try not to run out of steam. There's nothing worse than seeing someone that you really looked up to doing this stuff, and you kind of watch them fizzle out of steam. And they're still trying, but you know it's just not quite the same. So I try and keep myself excited about it. I'm a fan of rap, so I still try and keep up on new stuff, and try and ... You know, you're not going to ever have that feeling you did when you were a teenager, but I try and psych myself up and still get hype off of it, you know. You just got to try and keep it exciting, or else ... I mean, I can see how people get bored and it's like a fork in the road every couple months, and you're like I got to choose the right path and make sure I'm still in this, because I don't want to just go through the motions of it.
Speaker 1: Exactly. Exactly, but I always keep saying like ...
Speaker 3: Wait, let me ask you something. Who wrote, who did the one listen review on my album?
Speaker 1: Lucas, one of our writers.
Speaker 3: Dude, that shit was ... Man, I was like damn, I'm feeling real good right now.
Speaker 1: You like that shit? Good, man, good.

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