Aesop Rock [Bavitz, Ian Matthias]
- Jordan A. Yamaji Smith
[Bavitz, Ian Matthias]
(b Northport, Long Island, NY, June 5, 1976).
American hip-hop lyricist, vocalist, and producer. Aesop Rock began his career in alternative/underground hip-hop music with two self-financed albums that blended an eclectic approach to sample-based production with poetic, figurative lyrics. His creative output has helped to establish him as a prolific solo artist with a commitment to renovating the rap genre with politically-charged songs and experimental production techniques.
Aesop’s abstract lyrics have met divided critical responses: some dismiss them as meaningless wordplay, while others argue that more identifiable themes are present across his work. These include contemplations of urban life in New York City, consumerism, wage slavery/labor issues, religion in modern society, and media constructions of reality. Some songs clearly balance abstraction with thoroughly contextualized scenarios; for example, “No Regrets” from the Labor Days LP features the story of a young girl evolving from sidewalk chalk drawings through a full life devoted to her passion for art; and “One of Four (Thank You)” from the ...