Rock's Hard Place

Aesop on turning 30, getting hitched, and leaving New York

Ironically, while critics were accusing him of being too obscure, some longtime fans accused him of pandering to the masses. Last year, to Internet grumbles, Rock made an unusual foray into corporate America by composing a 45-minute-long track for the Nike+iPod Sports Kit. (For those legions of indie rap enthusiasts, apparently.) Meanwhile, upon its August release, None Shall Pass sold 13,200 copies in its first week — more than any previous Rock album — and debuted at number 50 on the Billboard 200. In its third week, it got a bump when Rock was chosen as MTV's Artist of the Week. Indie-mentality fans peppered the comments section on Rock's MySpace page with quips such as "That sucks you had to sell out for MTV."

"I can't really pretend that I understand that," Rock responds. "It was funny, and somewhat to be expected, but it made zero sense. You think [MTV] paid me? Of course they didn't. [But] we're not going to turn down that much free promotion. I still have some old bills at home."

Whether it's stepping gently into the mainstream or moving across the country, a more apt phrase to describe Rock's behavior might be growing up. This applies to the future of his songwriting as well. "I want to try to do rap songs about things that have never even been discussed in the world of hip-hop," he says, mapping out plans for possible projects down the line. "I had this vision of songs that feel like they should be told around a campfire — ghost stories or tall tales kind of things."

Aesop Rock is getting into the West Coast vibe
Chrissy Piper
Aesop Rock is getting into the West Coast vibe


Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Wiz, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Blockhead with DJ Signify perform Saturday, November 10, at Studio A, 60 NE 11th St, Miami. The show starts at 8:00 p.m., and tickets cost $18. Those 18 and older are welcome with ID. Call 305-358-7625, or visit or

There are subjects even scarier than turning 30 and getting married, it seems.

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