The roots of Hip-Hop originate in the underground scene and those who helped pioneer and showcase the talent within this arena in Hip-Hop will forever be cemented in Hip-Hop's illustrious culture. One of those amazing artists is Brooklyn's own, "Ian Bavitz" who is better by his stage name, "Aesop Rock", born on June 5th, 1976. The greatness in Aesop's music comes with the mystique of having to decode his music through his rapid fire rhyme schemes that masterfully disguise his deep and genuine content that has made him one of the most impactful underground MC's of the 21st Century.
Along with the phenomenal MC, "Slug" of the Hip-Hop duo, "Atmosphere" and the cofounder/producer of Def Jux records, "EL-P" they would collectively release some of the best music that the backpack rap scene has ever witnessed. In this interview from 2002 with mvremix.com, Aesop details that his stage name originates from a character he played in a movie he acted in for his friends and it stuck so he just added "Rock" to the end of it to illuminate what he does with his music. Rock would not begin to start rhyming until 1993 and would not start making his own beats until 1996. In 1997 and 2000 Aesop would release his first self-released debut projects in, "Music for Earthworms" & "Float" that showcase Aesop's incredibly raw talent and obvious room for development technically on the microphone. Although Aesop would suffer from anxiety shortly after releasing his second project, he would continue to use his music as a medium to vent his emotions and thoughts with his critically acclaimed classic project, "Labor Days" under Def Jux's record label. This album truly showcases Aesop's skills as an MC with his blisteringly fast and enormously impressive calm flow while simultaneously hitting a subject over luscious production that all of his fans can forever relate to in working a day job. This would be Aesop's recipe for success as he would go on to release 4 more solo albums along with 4 EP's and a handful of collaboration projects as well.
Rock even did a continuous mix for Nike that spans 45 minutes of non-stop music from Aesop himself that was designed for a Nike Running Campaign for the brand. Aesop's originality in his content that concerned growing class disparities and why money even really mattered in the grand scheme of the journey of life is what makes him someone to be revered musically.
One of the most impressive feats for Rock's career, although maybe not so intentional, was the record he broke for the largest vocabulary in Hip Hop with 7,392 unique words within his first 35,000 lyrics. Most lyricists ended up within the 4000 word range but himself, along with many of the Wutang Clan, were some of the only MC's to break 5,500. Check out the full article here, as they provide an interesting visual chart comparing a wide range of artists.
Be sure to check out some of his music below from this underground legend!