Aesop Rock. The first time his booming voice graced my headphones I caught a head spin and nearly passed out. The man concocts fiendishly elaborate abstract lyrics, and subsequently bombards his songs with a multi-syllabic, multi-layered and multi-dementional delivery, with unparralleled depth and complexity.

Example: "This fallen angle could stitch a wing with a shoestring/prime directive selects reflective aviation bathed in mood swing/I'm broke/I know a walking corpse that spit icicle dagger to slit throat quicker than you can prove there's four letters in hope..."

Those are the first few lines of his first full length release Float, and they're indicative of the barrage of intricate prose and mutated metaphors that await the listener. As well as being a supreme lyricist, the New York MC / Producer proficiently handles eight of the twenty beats on Float, from the eerie to the eccentric, establishing himself as a hip hop artist in the truest sense of the word.

What process do you go through when creating a track?

Well, I usually never write a beat. I write in what spare time I can find. Usually I work with my man Blockhead. He makes tons of shit, so I'll go over to his crib and just listen to beats. We'll settle on one that fits the mood for the song I'm trying to do and work from there, try to figure out interesting sequencing and so on, so it is a song instead of just rapping to a beat. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes I'll write a track. Like if I'm producing it I'll have a lot of time with the beat so I just sit there and start writing if I'm feeling it. I got a little studio at the crib so it makes recording convenient. It sucks to have to go out to the studio at a scheduled time. I'd rather record at my leisure. It's lessed forced.

What is your basic philosophy, what rules do you adhere to when composing and performing a track, in the studio or on stage?

I just write about what I see and perform it with conviction. It's mad obvious when cats act deeper than they really are, so it doesn't make sense to do that. Just be straight and shit will progress naturally.

You studied art at Boston University and you paint, if what I've heard is true, do your artistic philosophies differ between mediums?

I haven't painted in a minute, but it is something I love. I didn't have time to completely focus completely on it and I didn't want to do it half-assed. Same philosophies apply. Just be honest. Don't come on some random shit because it shows. Get your skills up, learn the craft, then apply the emotion. Kids these days put the emotion before the skill in both music and art. That's wack. I don't want some drama queen shit with no merit.

What kind of things do you paint?

My last days of serious painting were large (like bigger then me) portraits. Pretty realistic. Big faces. Oil paint. I did a bunch of them and they look pretty funny when you line 'em all up next to each other. Mostly people I know, some others though.

Your lyrics have a lot of murky dark depth, what inspires you to write?

Yeah, I guess that's just the cynic in me: looking at shit with a stressed out pessimistic attitude. That's how I've always been. I try to write shit with visuals attatched to them. Even spitting battle shit or whatever, just trying to connect an image with each line. I like TV. And movies a lot, so I always try to have a pen nearby when watching so I can write some little shit if I see it. I'm just complaining when I write like everyone else. But I guess that's why people write. Life is hard. No matter who you are or where you're from you got shit to deal with that is not fun. So you try to take that weight and make something positive out of it. Like making a good song about something you hate.

Ok, after listening to your album, what do you want your audience to walk away with?

I don't know. When I make songs I'm more concerned with how I feel about it. I guess cats like this, which is still weird to me. Cats pay money to hear 70 minutes of my opinions. If they can identify with it or if it helps them get through a day then that's dope. I consider myself to be someone with a relatively level head, so maybe some crooked fool will take a message from it and apply it to life. Or maybe someone will just bump it on the train. I'm just glad heads feel it for whatever reason, because I never expected that to happen.

Has the success of "Float" and your hip hop career altered the perspectives you started out with?

Like I said I'm just happy cats feel what I do. "Float" was cool. It got the buzz bigger then it had ever been. Not I have my new project "Labor Days" about to drop. It is more refined. We were more critical about what songs go on the record and what songs don't. "Float" was a definite learning experience in many aspects. I'm just trying to take it as it comes. I'm getting to travel more, which is something I never was able to do much of. Hopefully going overseas soon too which is crazy. I just try to be calm. I ain't famous. I always remember who I am so if I ever seem like some egomaniac or something you probably just caught me on a bad day.


Mush Records