Fly Earthworm Demeanor

"My name is Ian Mathias Bavitz. I was born in One-Nine-Seven-Six, at Syosset hospital, located in Long Island, New York. I am 6-foot-4, I weigh Two-Zero-Zero pounds. I have brown hair and green eyes. I enjoy writing songs, painting, movies and diner food. I have two brothers, Chris and Graham, and two parents, Paul and Jameija. In august of Two-Zero-Zero-One I went crazy.."

So begins the song '1 of 4', one of Aesop Rock's most lucid lexical exhibitions in which he details his ascent to the precipice of madness, and thanks the four who clutched his collar as he teetered on the edge. I've mentioned this man before in my blog, spoken of his speakings, perhaps even cited his statements, but I have yet to dedicate a full blog post to his microphone mastery, his lyrical insanity. I speak so not to be hyperbolic, much of his music is directly concerned with the loss of rational thought and the mindstate of an individual who has lost that very thing.

I've long felt that this particular artist was one I was meant to find, one that the universe placed in my path. Years ago, I was writing a song called Ocean's 40, a grisly yet poetic presentation of thievery. I intended to sample 'Welcome to the 40 Thieves' for the chorus, contrast it against the grim tone of the lyrics. From there, though, I needed another sample for the bridge. I did a Google search for song lyrics including the phrase '40 thieves', and found '39 Thieves', which contained the line "Like I walk in front of 39 thieves in a V'. Not one of his greatest tracks, but regardless, that is how I first met Aesop. I was humbled, silenced, immediately enamored. I looked deeper into his catalogue, searching for a song to listen to next. I came across a title I simply could not deny, 'Commencement at the Obedience Academy'. This song also includes the phrases he wears on the inside of his forearms, "Must Not Sleep...Must Warn Others."

My appreciation for this artist grew exponentially with each song that breached my ears. The strange tone of his voice, simultaneously gruff and melodic, lends a psychotic circus miasma to his music, an atmosphere I endlessly enjoy. And his lyrics astound me to this day, such elaborate metaphors, such fantastical phrases. One would think that he'd necessarily sacrifice tempo and pacing for such vivid and visceral vernacular, but he only ever intentionally misses beats, and his lines get pretty deep in diction. Even more impressive, though, than his wealth of words, is the characters and occurrences he conjures in the consciousness. He'll speak of an impossibility so convincingly, with just a small component of corporeality to keep it real, and it fits into your mind like a dream. For example;

"I used to have a rope ladder, but tattered were the rungs. I strung it form the highest willow, trying to hug the Sun. The seventh level buckled and I tumbled from the summit. Now I'm back to re-climb and this time light my cigarette from it."

"Now If, I polish off the poison with a sip. I know my orphanage mass, it will help you lift my casket. With a drip of this B-Positive and ominous laugh cackle, bury me beneath the cherry tree, bow, and run for the castle."

"And I'm sleeping now, (wow), yeah the settler's laugh. You won't be laughing when you're covered wagons crash. you wont' be laughing when the buzzards drag your brothers flags to rags, you won't be laughing when you're front lawn's spangled with epitaphs."

"Now the dizziness is similar to whimsy with a pretty twist, if pretty is a bidding war of meteors of iffy sniff, and cigarettes and pills on the speaker silhouetted by the muted television and the rickety venetians."

"These are the unregulated rabbit holes, barrack homes and taverns built for Devil's acre opium enthusiasts and baritones. Marigold, the garish allure of the burning Barbary. Underbelly born of 40 thieves on whorish harmony."

Being five albums and three EP's deep, plus features, online albums, and other miscellaneous auditory efforts, Aesop Rock's catalogue isn't exhaustive, but it's considerable. He is also on two group albums that will be coming out soon, one by Hail Mary Mallon (Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz) and one by Two Of Every Animal (Aesop Rock and Cage). I am as we speak composing curses to ensure that he releases another solo album sometime in the near future. This man changed my understanding of Hip Hop, cracked my cranium wide and doused my cerebrals with metaphors of malady and the wickedest of wordplay. I am ever thankful.

(drawing by Dave Crosland, courtesy of


Anonymous said...

Aesop is my spiritual leader.

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