Indie-rap hero, Aesop Rock is an endless Rolodex of articulation. His defining linguistic patterns are analogous to legendary playwrights, with lyrics layered in allusion. Recent narratives include longtime collaborator Rob Sonic to form the group ‘Hail Mary Mallon’. We caught up with Aes during the Massachusetts-leg of the Bestiary Tour.

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photos: Andrew Livingston
concert photos: Samer Khudairi

You have been doing a lot of interviews lately?

A little bit. I try and poke my head out a bit when I’m on tour and accept the fate of the job I’ve chosen.

 

This is your old stomping grounds. You went to BU (Boston University) as a student.
What did you study there?

Painting. I have a Painting Degree from Boston University collecting dust somewhere.

 

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You have had numerous of artists work on your album covers including Caro, Aryz, and Jeremy Fish. Do you have a new artist working on your next album?

I have something coming together now but I haven’t narrowed down who I’ll be working with yet or which direction to take. I am not totally sure. I think that because I am sort of a failed visual artist and I went to school for it, but went in this weird direction, that now I just try to befriend those people in that world. Art is equally where I get inspiration from and I incorporate that a little in my work. Especially nowadays when the packaging game isn’t that big of a thing because physical product isn’t that big of a thing anymore.

 

But speaking of physical projects, how was translating your creative vision for your ‘Whisker’s’ Project?

I got invited from kidrobot to design a toy. That was just an opportunity that popped out of nowhere. Luckily, my friend Galen, who was the Creative Director at the time, was a fan. He hit me up and I was like ‘Fuck ya, I’ll do that!’. I had that character I had envisioned over the years and after getting drawings and photos of sculptures and mock ups and each time I saw the process I thought it looked awesome.

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What sandwich best describes you?

Sandwich? Probably like a Rueben. A classic. Some red meat in there. Some salad dressing to make it extra fattening.

 

But you’ve lost so much weight. Do you have any tips or tricks for getting fit? 

Oh fuck I don’t know. My natural state is not one that I’m worried about that shit. But I am 38 years old so maybe I should keep an eye out on this stuff. I force myself to the gym…to just run as much as I can. The thing is, I grew up skateboarding. So it was very easy to ‘exercise’, ‘cause I didn’t even realize I was exercising. I was just skating constantly.

You still skate?

I stopped in my mid twenties. When I was done skating, I needed to find another hobby that was physical and that was equally as fun.

 

The Hail Mary Mallon ‘4AM’ Video is basically a skate video?

We try to do a bunch of cheap videos if we can pull them off. Growing up skating, I wanted to do a skate video for a while that was not much of a music video. They tried to get a couple scenes of us rapping in it, but it didn’t make sense. I just wanted to capture late night skating in New York City. Just the vibe of it. It didn’t need to be the most amazing skaters in the world, but these kids were good East Coast guys and were pumped.

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Well a skate video is always good to pass the time.

I am super excited about it. When I get to lock down something that corresponds to something that used to be more a part of in the past, either skateboarding or visual arts, it’s probably my favorite thing in this career. It’s perfect for me and exactly what I was looking for.

 

What was the last thing that made you say ‘WOW’?

We were just watching the [NBA] Dunk Contest. That was fairly ‘WOW’. They were just showing old clips of Vince Carter… But this whole tour has kind of been wow. When I get to the show and there is actual people there. I mean, I guess I should expect people to be there, but I don’t. I assume the worst. I usually am in the middle of rapping and my brain starts to wonder, and I think, ‘I can’t believe these motherfuckers are here to see me?’

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Really?

It’s me versus me. To a degree. I definitely try not to get comfortable with this thing working out. Because even though its been a long time now I still realize that it is a weird job to have, and I’m lucky to have. And if people are still coming, than I’m still going. And we’re still going.

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OUT IN IN PRINT: BITCHSLAP NO 23