San Francisco resident Ian Bavitz, better known as Aesop Rock, is a hip-hop maverick with a quick tongue and sharp wit. His je ne sais quois coolness seems to increase exponentially with every move he makes, from collaborating with Atmosphere’s Slug to peppering his rhymes with obscure science fiction references to touring with alternative folk royalty Kimya Dawson to giving haircuts on stage, to writing a song about Grubstake, Polk Street’s notorious greasy spoon and late-night vomitorium.
Unfortunately, in July the rapper had to cancel his show at the Fillmore because his van was broken into. We caught up with Aesop in preparation for the rescheduled concert on September 16.
San Francisco Bay Guardian Welcome back to San Francisco! How do you feel about playing hometown shows?
Aesop Rock Thanks. Feels great playing in this town. SF has been awesome to me for a lot of years and I really like putting on a good show here. We were crushed when we had to cancel last month after having a bunch of gear stolen – so to be able to makeup the gig in a couple weeks is awesome.
SFBG How did you bounce back from having your gear stolen?
AR It sucked. For the whole next four to five shows we were all in a rut, trying to pull the show back together. Having that happen on literally the second show of our tour really took the wind of our sails. That night I was home on some 'I just wanna quit.... wahhhhhh'. Once we got back into the groove, the shows picked up nicely and its started to feel OK again. I'm just happy we were able to get it re-scheduled. Canceling is such a giant bummer.
SFBG You've been keeping busy lately with your brand new album 'Skelethon' and side project Hail Mary Mallon. Do you have any other projects in the works?
AR Yeah, I have a group record with Kimya Dawson under the name the Uncluded that's getting mixed now, should be out sometime next year. We'll probably keep touring for Skelethon and then go into touring for the Uncluded project. Hail Mary Mallon is starting on their 2nd LP, and I plan to start writing new solo stuff very soon as well.
SFBG How often do you actually eat at Grubstake? What are some other favorite local spots?
AR If I'm around town I'll eat at Grubstake once a week or so. I like [Taqueria] Cancun. I like Citizen's Band for something a touch more pricey but delicious. I love Hard Knox Cafe. Mama's. I love many places!
SFBG What does a fan have to do to get in your barber chair?
AR Just sign up at the merch table at the top of the night! We only have time to do one cut per night, so it's a bit of a lottery, but you can't win if you don't enter! You can also bribe us and we will rig the act. Bam!