Hello and thanks very much for the interest. You guys are awesome. I will do my best. Some things I won't answer.

FINAL EDIT - 3:08 AM - Pacific Standard Time - I thought i was gonna get another couple hours tonight to get to some more of these questions, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. I can't thank you all enough for participating. Have a good one!

I'll be lurking...

Best A.R.


Comments: 2967 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

unfortunatelyametfan1074 karma

In your song "Pigs", you say "If Noah had the benefit of hindsight on his ship, he could've snatched two unicorns and left behind the motherfucking pigs." But if there were no pigs, there would be no bacon. And that would be awful. Explain yourself.

aesoprockwins2183 karma

unicorn bacon

[deleted]568 karma

Holy shit my favorite artist on reddit doing an AMA! HUGE HUGE HUGE fan here, I've got a bunch of questions for you.

  • What is the story behind the hidden track "One of Four" ? (I really hope this is one you're comfortable answering, maybe help someone else who might be going through something similar)

  • Can you describe the writing process of your songs? Answered here

  • ~~ What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?~~ Answered here

  • What is your favorite song? What's your favorite song that you made yourself (or helped someone make) ?

  • Have you ever thought of doing more collaborative work with Slug of Atmosphere like in your Which Way Is Up track? I loved that track, it was fantastic.

  • When is your next album coming out? Can we get a single sometime in the future?

  • What's something about yourself that you don't think many people know?

  • What's your favorite book/movie/show/game?

I was in San Francisco last summer and I didn't see you, it was around the time you did your free show at one of the local parks. I was sorta bummed. I know it's foolish of me to think that I'd see you kickin' it just eating burrito somewhere, but I can still dream right?

EDIT: Do you think you could ask some of your friends (Kimya, Slug, Murs, etc) to do AMA's as well? I'd love the opportunity to ask them questions as well.

aesoprockwins493 karma

Thanks so much. really.

  • Not much of a story, just tough times. i was going through it and had some friends help me out. That's about the size of it.

  • answered elsewhere i think, unless youre looking for something more specific

  • same

  • Hm. This probably changes daily. Today i got danny brown "stupid ass" at full volume. As for my stuff, probably something new and not yet released. I just finished a song called "saturn missiles" for my record. it's the most recent and by default my favorite.

  • Me and Slug will surely do more.

  • No label or date yet. sometimes i leak snippets of stuff im working on at the 900bats website. I'm going to be doing that more soon, and now that i'm actually nearing completion I'll try to get some official info together asap.

  • I have ridden in a blimp.

  • I'm playing uncharted 3 now and it's awesome. favorite games are zelda64 (ocarina), Ico, and maybe uncharted 2. I like watching shows and movies where people use magic and swords.

  • I am always kicking it and eating burritos. always.

DustyBosie392 karma

First and foremost, I have to thank you for being one of the first artists to really get me to dive into the world of rap.

Secondly, how did the collaboration with you and John Darnielle come about? On paper it just sounds so bizarre, but with the song it comes out quite perfectly.

aesoprockwins544 karma

My brother introduced me to the Mountain Goats in about 1994 and I was hooked. John has always been a humongous inspiration to me. In '03 John put my Bazooka Tooth record on some year-end top 10 list that he wrote and I was floored. Flat out could not believe it. At his next NYC show I introduced myself and we nerded out.

Pardner65 karma

What's your favorite Mountain Goats song?

aesoprockwins88 karma

Faithless Bacchant Song

somedelightfulmoron218 karma

Wikipedia defines your music as new ground/alternative hip-hop. If you were going to classify your own music under a heading, where would you put yours?

aesoprockwins1136 karma

I rap. I make rap.

go_voltron_go162 karma

How do you feel about being the world's greatest male model?

Also, you rock, Mr. Rock!

aesoprockwins246 karma

it feels fucking awesome.

Actium137 karma

What is your favorite non hip hop song?

675675TEN103 karma

Have you heard your Ocarina of Time remix done by Team Teamwork?

If no: here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEtSeiLhPRM

What do you think?

aesoprockwins130 karma

i have. i love it.

geneticdebris101 karma

I saw you and Kimya this year, and thought the combo was brilliant. How did you get together for the album?

aesoprockwins162 karma

I had emailed with Kimya years ago to say I liked her songs and to keep on truckin'. Then when me and some friends of mine started the 900bats website, I was curious as to whether or not she would be interested in contributing. Turns out she was, AND that she was working on her new album (Thunder Thighs). She asked me to do a beat for a rap song she wrote. We became friends and I ended up working on about 6 songs on that record. We have since been recording a group record together, and have done a bunch of touring this year.

hudsonshell65 karma

The show at the Triple Rock in MPLS was wonderful. Thank you for a brilliant show.

aesoprockwins170 karma

thank YOU

jtoj91 karma

Yo Aesop, love your work.

What was it like working with Murs and Slug on the last Felt album? They as cool as they seem?

aesoprockwins148 karma

They are both old pals. Both great people and very fun to be around, smart, funny. It was fun to have a block of time to just hang and do music, as we are all usually involved in our own projects. I was just sending beats to them as fast as I could, and at one point they met up in MN to have a large writing session. Once the initial writing was done they came out to SF (where I live these days) and we recorded here.

thejohnnyfine29 karma

A lot of people will ask you questions about your rapping but i would love to hear about your production on Felt 3. What inspires your beats?

aesoprockwins156 karma

i just listen to old music til i hear a sound i like - then i steal it. rinse, repeat.

cigarettesteve84 karma

What was it like working with Blockhead?

aesoprockwins133 karma

Blockhead is probably my oldest and best friend. Well maybe Ben is, sorry ben. But i've known Blockhead for a really long time and we kinda both came into music together. He's a hoot.

fila42979 karma

What tends to be your inspiration in the albums you write? What kind of major experiences in your life pushed you about them in songs/albums?

aesoprockwins249 karma

I think inspiration is not really something you can pinpoint. Your life is gonna wind around enough by itself to be interesting. I take a ton of notes - like if i hear something interesting, a word, a phrase, whatever. My songs end up being patchworks of a lot of these smaller ideas inspired over weeks or months.

ReverseJams78 karma

Ace, you're awesome. Thanks for doing the AMA

You used to live in New York, I used to see you all the time when you played live shows. Needless to say, live Hip-Hop in the city used to be a one of a kind thing. That being said:

  1. Do you feel moving to California has impacted your music the same way New York City did?

  2. How does Bay Area Hip-Hop compare to New York City's style?

3. What underground talent are you most excited to see release material, and could you suggest we check out any unsigned or new artists?

Thanks again!

aesoprockwins111 karma

    • I think moving anywhere and changing up your environment is a healthy thing for anyone. I think people usually assume when you move, it's the regional "sound" that will affect you most, but for me it doesnt really happen like that. I am more just affected by the basic change in environment, going somewhere i dont know, meeting people, not meeting people, getting lost, getting found, all that stuff that comes with uprooting.
    • both ny and the bay have consistently produced amazing talent. different styles is the spice of life. seeing people do what you do in their own way is thrilling to me.
    • If we're talking rap - Rob Sonic, Danny Brown, Despot, Hm i gotta think about this...

HigherConsciousness77 karma

Are you an atheist? Or better yet whats your thoughts on life? What do you think happens when you die? I see a lot of things pertaining to that subject in your music.

aesoprockwins348 karma

God shmod.

grizzsaw1262 karma

I know you have a million questions to answer so I will make mine a statement just hoping that you might read it...

I am a 5th grade teacher, I saw you and Kimya earlier this year and it inspired me to do something I have alway thought about doing; Using your music in the classroom. I showed my students 'No Regrets' and used it to start a unit on music as storytelling and it was a huge hit! So thank you, from the bottom of my heart for doing what you do and I hope that you can tell from the responses here just how influential you have been to so many people. Knock em out the box Ace!

aesoprockwins33 karma

thanks so much. that means a lot.

justamathnerd62 karma

What's generally your writing process like? Think of a topic and go? Start with some cool lines in the middle and build it from there?

Anyways, big fan, love your voice over blockhead tunes.

aesoprockwins131 karma

Thanks very much.

I have a pool of notes in my phone, shit i wanna say at some point, basically. Once I have a beat I want to write a song to, I will pull from the notes and do some new writing on the spot to help link the ideas. I also always have a lot of songs being worked on at once. I will sometimes do bit on one, then work on another, etc. I'm not very good at just sitting down and writing a song.

drostyles52 karma

Hey AR,

First and foremost I'd like to say that you were the reason I got into underground hip-hop in 2004. I somehow came across 9-5ers Anthem, and then Daylight shortly thereafter when I was in 8th grade and I haven't looked back. Although I've expanded my tastes to other genres underground hip-hop is where my true love is and I sincerely thank you for that.

On to my question: Did you have your parents full support when you told them you wanted to be a rapper? As an aspiring musician myself, sometimes I find it hard to break away from the traditional life path that I think my parents expect me to follow. Did you ever have any struggles with following your dream in terms of what family or anyone else thought?

aesoprockwins129 karma

Definitely. I had a pretty strict upbringing and even though by the time I chose to quit working and attempt music full-time I was well into living on my own, I still had a really tough time making the call home. In hindsight, it's pretty nuts that as an adult i was so nervous to make that call, but such was my situation. I think they supported me in the same manner any parent would support a martian baby - cautiously.

Edifice_Complex51 karma

Are you a redditor normally or just here for this AMA?

aesoprockwins146 karma

always read, never contribute.

wful48 karma

Hey Aesop,

I'm a huge fan, I did a tattoo of you a long time ago and sent it to you on Facebook but you never replied. So here it is. http://imgur.com/ToTuA Also If you are ever in southern California and would like to get tattooed I would gladly tattoo you for free.

aesoprockwins75 karma

holy crap! i totally have that in a folder on my computer. i am not on facebook, it is a fake me. thank you or your kind offer!

Theolodious41 karma

I remember reading a book that featured the protagonist talking about your music. I don't even remember the name of the book, but your music has stuck with me since.

So, what are your influences? What albums do you consider your favorite? What contemporary artists are you a fan of? Just tell me about your musical tastes.

aesoprockwins99 karma

Hm. I don't know that I have a favorite album of any genre. I always was always exposed to a mix of hip-hop and punk/skate type shit growing up. My iTunes "Recently played" is 70% stuff i'm working on. Aside from that there is... some Danny Brown, the new Tom Waits record, Hanni El Khatib, Pusha T mixtape, Shabazz Palaces, Jeff Lewis.

kaleyA39 karma

On your forearms you have your lyrics "must not sleep..must warn others" what is the significance behind the lyrics? Also, what other tattoos do you have? Your music has made a huge impact on my life. So much appreciation for doing your thing, man

aesoprockwins112 karma

The arms seemed like a good mission statement.

I have a king of hearts playing card on my left arm with my friend Camu's birth and death dates. He was writing a record called "King of Hearts" when he passed. I have a bunch of bats on my right arm as they kinda started popping up in a bunch of areas of my life (900bats site, wrote new song called 'bats', etc..) I have a skull with wings on my chest and stomach for general badassery. Adam Duritz portrait on my back because fuck you.

Joseph_Pesci38 karma

what is your process? (drums, then synths etc? or vice versa) what equipment do you use? (logic? pro tools? nexus stuff?) how do you write? (freestyle? with internal rhymes in mind?)

i saw you in some documentary and you talked about how you turn off your phone and just make songs and it was dope man

aesoprockwins64 karma

I can play a few intruments pretty badly, and have some synths and guitars and basses and such collected from over the years - but i would say i still do half of the work on the ASR-10. I always start with it. Even if i'm not looping long passages, i just like how samples sound, mixing sound from different sources, etc. I then layer in other things, some live stuff, beef up a bassline, whatever. I do a ton of the finer editing on Pro Tools, and treat that almost like a sequencer. Even the stuff that gets played live is usually chopped or moved or something at some point.

Oh and to answer your question, I guess drums is always a nice place to start. But not always.

As for writing I usually will start once i have a basic shell for a beat. maybe just a loop or something simple that gets the vibe across. I will often record to just that frame, then build the music up around it, then re-do the lyrics at the end (to match the song's builds, and because i usually will have read it off paper the first time).

_shazbot_35 karma

What process do you go through in writing? Does it all just come to you in an epiphany of inspiration, or do you pound away for hours to get it perfect, or what?

aesoprockwins83 karma

It takes me forever to write solo songs, but when i do collaborative work, like the album i just did with Rob Sonic, or the stuff I'm doing with Kimya, I am able to write quicker for some reason - and I dont think It's necessarily a lower caliber of writing. I think i put a lot a pressure on myself when i do official 'solo' material, which sometimes makes me nitpick more than I should.

t_b30 karma

Oh man this is awesome, I'm glad you decided to do an AMA.

I don't personally have any questions right now, but I just want to say that your style has really grown on me over time. I first listened to None Shall Pass a year or two ago and I just couldn't get my head around it. Needless to say after a few good listens it just one day clicked, and blew my mind.

So yeah, just some thanks and support from a fan down in Australia!

aesoprockwins38 karma

thanks! just had a blast in Australia a couple weeks ago.

heretics29 karma

Not really a question, but I was too broke to buy tickets to a show you played in Orlando with B.M.S.R. a few years back. It was outdoors though, so my friends and I were able to sit on this connecting building walkway that was over the stage. We yelled down and said hey to the B.M.S.R. guys and they snubbed us big time, but when we yelled down to you, you were super friendly and shouted back and forth to us for a little while. Thanks for not snubbing your fans. I'm not a broke teen anymore, so I will definitely be a paying in support next time you come around.

aesoprockwins67 karma

thanks very much. BMSR are great people, do not judge them on a long distance walkway snubbing.

Sober_Off29 karma

I honestly can't believe that you're doing an AMA... I seriously listen to Daylight on a regular basis to get motivated to do shit. You're awesome. I have two questions:

1) Was there a bottom-line social/political message in None Shall Pass (the full album)?

2) Have you gotten life's pussy?

aesoprockwins50 karma

1 - to me, the main idea of that record had to do with judging others, and being judged by others, and judge whopner.

2 - not enough

AnOddName29 karma

Couple questions;

Any chance on seeing a new solo album?

Also, what ever happened to "Two of Every Animal?" I was really looking forward to that.

I met you in Pittsburgh, it was a great show

aesoprockwins44 karma

I have a great majority of my next solo record done. I'd like to write one more really solid song for it. With that and the Kimya record in the works, I have not had much time to work on the Two of Every Animal project, but it is definitely something I would like to see happen.

Thanks for coming out to the show!

[deleted]28 karma


aesoprockwins141 karma

I don't want to talk about my peg leg

gurzil28 karma

How did you survive the wooly mammoth population bottleneck effect?

aesoprockwins55 karma

i hid in a laundry truck

Infrmnt26 karma

Do you strongly believe that Pluto should be re-instated as a planet, or was it just a good sample?

aesoprockwins69 karma

it was just a toast to the underdog. the sample is me anyway.

VANNROX26 karma

The way you flow is so bizarre. It's almost slurred and yet so concise. Is that actually how you've always rapped?

aesoprockwins53 karma

no i used to rap terribly. I think over time one learns how their individual voice works best, and what it's capable of. Then you apply that to the vibe of the piece youre writing and you hope something happens.

beadzy26 karma

Can you talk a little bit about writing Daylight/Nightlight? There are lines in BOTH songs that are on the top my list in terms of lyrical ingenuity. And the continuity/discontinuity between the two makes them hit all the harder.

Also, I've seen you a few times in person, and you always seem to be a real awesome guy. Good looking out, and thanks for that.

aesoprockwins33 karma

thanks very much!

when me and blockhead made daylight we kinda thought it was cheesy and it got a lot of laughs from us. people seemed to like it. Once the original lyrcs were written, it wasnt too difficult to make the nightlight flip. the lyrics were essentially 60% done already.

I always remember loving the Casual remix of Del's "wrong place"


because instead of just swapping out the beat, Del redoes the verse in a totally different way than the original. While i changed some of the lines in night light, i think the idea was similar - to make a new version of the song instead of a textbook remix.

Gr1ml0ck24 karma

AAESOP!!! Long time fan, dude. So glad you're taking the time to do this. Seriously.

My questions ...

What would you be doing if you weren't a musician?

What's your best pickup line?

And waffles or pancakes?

aesoprockwins40 karma

  • not sure. hopefully something creative. I went to school for painting so maybe i would have concentrated on that more.

  • you likeum fuckum me yes?

  • pancakes

aesoprockwins41 karma


youve_seen_a_ghost24 karma

Wow, this is crazy. Seriously one of my favorite artists... Have a million questions but no point in being a hog...

Who has been your favorite person to work with?

If you had one point of general advice to give to the world what would it be?

What is the song you are most proud of?

aesoprockwins61 karma

  • Loved working with my friend Camu who died in 2008 from cancer. His energy was absolutely one of a kind. Never a dull or even remotely quiet moment. These days Rob Sonic And Kimya Dawson are both just super fun to work with. Really creative, really like to laugh a lot, and really respect their craft. The only time I ever really called someone i didnt know out of the blue was when i worked with Camp Lo. I got lucky, as they were both extremely cool and we hit it off really well. Where I am in my head now I probably wouldnt reach out to anyone I've never met to make a song.

  • oh man, don't come to me for advice. especially if you're the world.

  • pshjhdhhhhhhhhhskjhdkjksjkdsd hmmm. i dunno.

CharlesDeGaulle23 karma

What musicians are your biggest inspirations? That being asked, I love you man - keep up the great work

Edit- I also wanted to add that I'd take a bullet for you even if the only thing you ever did was write the song Daylight.

aesoprockwins33 karma

probably if i had to boil it all down it would be EPMD and the Mountain Goats.

lexiloop22 karma

Please tell me working with Murs and Slug (edit: on Felt III) was as magical as I imagine it!

aesoprockwins110 karma

like a pegasus in a cauldron

dabox21 karma

How long have you been writing? Is No Regrets about someone you know or is it a metaphor?

aesoprockwins35 karma

i guess writing rap lyrics since about junior high sometime. i never really wrote much else. No Regrets is a made up story.

JohnDiesAtTheEnd19 karma

Hey, I know you already have almost 100 comments to answer, but mine really doesn't require one anyway.

I was at the Michael Larson Memorial last year and seeing you and Kimya up there made a huge impact on the entire atmosphere. You really brought the crowd together and by the end of the show, I was moved to tears.

Thank you so much, you meant so much to a lot of people that night.

Keep it real.

aesoprockwins26 karma

i really appreciate that. that was the first time me and kimya had performed the song "walk like thunder" which is in on her new record. Super nervous that night, but the whole thing ended up being really nice.

serials18 karma

"Are You Gonna Eat That?" is BY FAR the record of the year. Any plans for another Hail Mary Mallon record?

aesoprockwins46 karma

yep, we've already started.


PanecdotesJM18 karma

Aesop Rock you method of rap is so unique, and your voice flows well with your beats. Ever think of doing a song with a member of the Wu Tang Clan? Assuming you haven't

aesoprockwins20 karma

Yeah i was on the "wu-tang meets the indie culture" disc, as the poster below me linked, but I mean... Wu Tang are like heroes to me. When it comes to this collaborating stuff, I'd often rather not go there even if I somehow magically got the opportunity. I like to make music with friends. I have made exceptions, but i think less and less as I get older.

inibrius16 karma

Wow...I was listening to 'All Day' in the gym today. Great timing.

Anyway, you gonna do anything else with Jeremy Fish?

aesoprockwins38 karma

i just did dinner with him. we will inevitably do more artsy crap together too.

philsebbens15 karma

At what point did you know that you wanted to do this for the rest of your life?

aesoprockwins52 karma

i have never known that. i'm just trying to make it all work one day at a time.

youratowell15 karma

Not a question. You have a wonderful beard.

aesoprockwins15 karma


[deleted]15 karma

I once read an interview where you claimed that you didn't read & most of your lyrics came from watching tv. Is that true? It's always kinda baffled me because your vocabulary is so deep.

aesoprockwins51 karma

ha. i don't really read novels. the only thing i really read is science magazines. i do like movies a lot. like almost any movie, doesnt matter.

edit - i do like shows like deadwood (sniff) or anything where the dialog is just insane and fun to listen to. I also mostly enjoy watching things that take place in other time periods. i also like most movies with dragons.

nogutsnoglory14 karma

What are you working on right now?? Who have you been chilling with in real life? Much love

aesoprockwins47 karma

priorites are the solo album and the collab album with kimya. also just did a song with Busdriver last week for his new record. Today i sequenced a song im producing for Blueprint. Gave some beats to the new Grayskul album. Beats on the Rob Sonic album.

in real life i am chilling with a jimmy dean breakfast bowl

FerociousMoo12 karma

How did the Bazooka Tooth alias originate?

aesoprockwins24 karma

I just wanted a new character to throw a fit with. I dont even rememeber where it came from.

CuseTown11 karma

I think you're awesome, just saying. I have labor days in my deck now. Don't be afraid to hit the wescott theater at Syracuse University!

aesoprockwins42 karma

I am not afraid.

aesoprockwins48 karma


Lazerface8410 karma

Your production abilities have gotten ridiculously good and your recordings always sound great. Can you tell us a little bit about your home studio?

aesoprockwins19 karma

thanks so much. i spoke about some gear elsewhere.

branbrann10 karma

Judging by the depth of your songs, and the fact that i have to do research to understand half of the references you make, I'd guess you're probably a well read guy. What are some of the books/films that have had the most influence on your work?

aesoprockwins22 karma

i'm really not well read at all. i just always looked up words that i didnt know when people said them, esecially if they were fun to say or hear. I still do. I just react more to the sound of them than the sight. I would remember something you say to me before i would remember it if you wrote it on paper and had me read it.

maxlgold2510 karma

What's the worst job you've had?

aesoprockwins26 karma

for me maybe being a cashier at a grocery store, which i did in high school. i really hate having to interact with that many people throughout the day. it's one of those places where people let their ugly side show, they arent afraid to treat you like shit. i always preferred manual labor with headphones kinda jobs.

3R1CtheBR0WN9 karma

What is your view on music piracy (torrent, filesharing, etc)?

aesoprockwins20 karma

It's hard to have an opinion on this from where i stand. i dont mind the idea of people sharing music. I also wish the industry i made a living in didn't die. such is life.

Erthale9 karma

When in your career were you most flattered by someone/something?

aesoprockwins22 karma

RIGHT NOW. Maybe meeting Chuck D. and having him know specifics about me and my songs in the conversation. It just bowled me over and was one of those ok-i-can-retire-now moments. He has always been really nice to me. Super flattered.

therealistic7 karma

Hey Aesop

You have a really distinctive, abstract and at time obtuse style. I often interpret your songs in a way that other people don't. Is such variance in interpretations something you try to foster? At times I can't help but feel you want the listeners to be confused at times!

Love your stuff, keep going!

aesoprockwins13 karma

thanks so much. these songs all have a specific meaning to me but i of course realize with the level of crypticness and metaphor and analogy and stuff, people will make them fit into their individual scenario. i wouldnt say it's something i try to foster, but its just something that happens no matter what, and i'm definitely into it. anytime anyone connects with this stuff in any way at all it is an awesome feeling.

tmoraca7 karma

Ace! This was my profile pic back when I had myspace! From years ago in either D.C. or Baltimore, I don't remember. Your parents were there and you felt weird about cussing in front of your adorable mom. You are so beautifully talented and humble. I love you.

aesoprockwins10 karma

thanks very much. my mom doesn't like cursing.