Building on the rapping style of eccentrics Kool Keith and Del the Funky Homosapien, Def Jux headliner Aesop Rock became one of the hottest MCs in the post-millennial underground. After a pair of self-released LPs (Appleseed, Music for Earthworms), he recorded Float for Mush in 2000. The former Ian Bavitz then issued a pair of singles -- "Coma" and "Boom Box" -- for another underground rap label paragon, Definitive Jux. His second full-length, 2001's Labor Days, earned positive reviews and featured production from El-P and Blockhead. The Daylight EP kept his name in the papers, and his Def Jux follow-up, Bazooka Tooth, was released in September 2003. A seven-track EP, Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives, followed in early 2005.
In early 2007 Aesop Rock composed a 45-minute piece for Nike's Original Run series, a continuous track meant to be listened to while jogging (other artists included LCD Soundsystem and the Crystal Method), and by September his much-anticipated full-length, None Shall Pass, which included guest appearances from El-P and John Darnielle (from the Mountain Goats), came out. A year later, Def Jux would be put "on hiatus" by label head El-P, but Aesop would remain busy, producing major works like Felt's 2009 effort Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez and working on a collaboration with the Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson dubbed the Uncluded. He would return to his solo career in 2012 with Skelethon, released by the Rhymesayers label. The album featured a guest appearance from Dawson along with Rob Sonic and Allyson Baker of Dirty Ghosts. ~ Greg Prato