If you’ve ever wanted proof that life is art, just listen to Aesop Rock. Born Ian Matthias Bavitz in Northport, New York, this musician has set off a new wave of the alternative hip hop movement that first emerged in the late 1990s.
Who is Aesop Rock?
Little known to his followers, Aesop Rock’s style stems from a background in classical visual art. A painting graduate of Boston University, Bavitz spent his formative years maneuvering an inner-conflict between instinct and establishment. In an interview with Guernica magazine, he explains how his classical training as a painter ultimately inspired him to redefine the boundaries between expression and art.
When I was young I was always drawing and doing art. Then I started taking classes at night, drawing figures with perfect proportions, painting, that sort of stuff. I was also into hip-hop music and pretty into graffiti – the idea of it.
I’d go from Long Island to the city just to snap pictures. It was very technical and hard to get good at because it was illegal.
At school, it’s beat into your head that unless it’s a Rembrandt or a Vermeer, it’s crap. But at the same time, I was looking at graffiti and really kind of admiring it.
Often passed off as streams of consciousness, Aesop Rock’s signature tracks like Daylight and None Shall Pass leave a listener dizzy. However, it is his puzzling wordplay and homespun production that has earned him legions of followers.
Aesop Rock’s Impact
On the brink of a movement that has since gained popularity, Aesop Rock remains committed to creating art on the fringes of the mainstream. Insistent that impact is organic rather than imposed, he drives change within his industry by simply living his life as art.
Artists should stick to art. Cultures don’t begin because people sit around and say, “let’s start a culture”. They begin because intelligent people and the true artists feel a need to think outside every box in existence at the time.