A$AP Rocky and Aesop Rock are synonymous to rap.

A$AP Rocky VS. Aesop Rock

Rap nerds have been scratching their heads over this one for a hot minute, so let's see how these two ARs size up to one another

A$AP Rocky may be the hottest new rapper on the block, but his alias is sure to give some hip hop heads déjà-vu. When asked if he was affiliated with Aesop Rock by Rap-Up, A$AP replied, “I didn’t even know who he was until people started asking me that. That’s my crew, everybody is ‘A$AP’ something.”

For those readers who came of age in the early aughts, you might remember a certain wordy emcee by the name of Aesop Rock. The former Def Jux first stringer was a heavyweight in the underground hip hop circuit, back when physical Fat Beats record stores still existed, and before Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine had the big doofy headphone industry on lock.

Well, Aesop has been absent for a while, but he’s prepping a comeback with his first solo album in five years, Skelethon, set to come out on Rhymesayers this summer. Problem is, with the other Rock currently dominating the rap world, it might be hard for some to tell the two apart. That’s why Mass Appeal developed this handy “A$AP Rocky VS. Aesop Rock” cheat sheet to help you differentiate which AR is spitting. Rock, rock on.

A$AP Rocky Vs. Aesop Rock

A$AP Rocky

Gov’t Name: Rakim Mayers
Named After Famous Rapper: Yes
Pseudonyms: Pretty Flaco
Age: 23
Birthplace: Harlem, NY
Rapping Style’s Birthplace: Houston, TX
College: School of Hard Knocks
Crew: A$AP Mob
Affiliates: Drake, Schoolboy Q, Danny Brown, Clams Casino
Years in the Game: 1
Solo Albums: 0
Solo EPs: 0
Solo Mixtapes: 1
Relationship to Rocky Balboa: None
Label: ASAP Worldwide/Polo Grounds Music/Sony Music Entertainment
Wifey: Iggy Azalea (Australian rapper signed to Interscope)
Aesop Rock Leather Jacket

Aesop Rock

Gov’t Name: Ian Matthias Bavitz
Named After Famous Rapper: No
Pseudonyms: Bazooka Tooth
Age: 35
Birthplace: Long Island, NY
Rapping Style’s Birthplace: New York, NY
College: Boston University
Crew: The Weathermen, Hail Mary Mallon
Affiliates: El-P, Cage, Slug, Murs, Kimya Dawson
Years in the Game: 15
Solo Albums: 5
Solo EPs: 3
Solo Mixtapes: 0
Relationship to Rocky Balboa: None
Label: Mush (2000), Definitive Jux (2001-2010), Rhymesayers (2011 – present)
Wifey: Allyson Baker (guitarist for indie rock group, Dirty Ghosts)



A$AP Rocky and Aesop Rock are synonymous to rap.

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  • Dontbenext

    Def Jux’s Aesop Rock is OG & is by far more talented than that new jack & his mainstream peers…That rookie ass Asap Rocky sounds gimmicky as fuck & the reason why hip hop is losing its strength…(real talk in the streets)

  • Frankbrenn

    A crap Sloppy can’t hold a candle to AESOP ROCK. Look at his stats. He’s a heavyweight, A$AP is a new jack toy with a million dollar contract. Pass.  

  • A$AP’s shitty gangsta rap doesnt even compare to Aesop’s talent and lyricism 

  • Gnarlyman1

    Aesop Rock is a lyrical genious  A$AP Rocky is just to cookie cutter for me… reminds me way to much of all the other stuff we hear today. I may not have grown up in the 90,s but Aesop is one of my favorite rappers along with slug, blueprint, sage francis, etc.. Rhymesayers are simply the dopest of the dope… 

  • Whatitis

    why not both?
    but i think A$AP Rocky’s popularity will pass, just like wiz khalifa

  • Since when did 
    wiz khalifa’s popularity pass?

  • BazookaNoose

    its like comparing apples and space ships filled with alien technology…Aesop is everything that hip hop should be while ASAP is part of the disease that has infected the scene for quite some time now.

    If you appreciate rap you should buy an Aesop album, actually you should buy all of them, and turn your radio off.

  • Yuki Nagato


  • ZoDiAcKilLR

    A$AP Rocky your super wacky!!! How can you say that you didn’t know who Aesop Rock was? You know you goolge is name before you jacked it!!

  • monkeyman


  • penis

    he means it will

  • lucas

    I used to have an arrogant attitude about music, but then I began to be more accepting of other peoples taste in music. MAIN POINT: Don’t be an asshole who thinks that their music/musical taste is better than anyone else’s. People like what they like. Accept it. (also, I would like to point out that sounds change quite frequently, so comparing A$AP Rocky(newer sound) with Aesop Rock(older sound) would be quite foolish.

  • if you claim to love hip-hop music but cant tell the difference between Aesop and A$AP….kill yourself….

  • funktafly

    asap needs to credit aesop. he can say what he wants but he knew within the first 20 people he told his name too(if not sooner lol). he acts oblivious. thats not only shady but insulting to our intellgence as well. whatever,he’ll fall off(tomorrow please???). at the end of the day if you honestly give them both a listen asap is decent(a bit sterile in creativity), and aesop is a fucking hip hop legend. asap doesnt want to credit him but i do. go aesop!

  • ras

    Lol “pretty flaco”? He stole Mos Def’s name too!

  • A$AP $loppy

    Now that I know his first name is Rakim (i.e.”Rock-im”) I’m willing to give Rocky a pass on what seemed like a blatant attempt to profit from another (far better) rapper’s shine.

    Still though… he should come clean and own up to his shitty choice of name. Having this lyrical midget in the same sentence (nay, the same fucking book) as Aesop Rock is an insult to one of the absolute greatest lyricists alive.

    Also, what self-respecting rapper still puts dollar signs in their name??

  • E

    I’ve been an Aesop fan since labor days, and I don’t listen to the other kid. But you gotta realize that young black kids from the hood aren’t exactly scouring the internet to see if there is some weird white cat with a similar monicker, when they’re picking their rap name. Hardly anybody that REALLY listens to A$AP Rocky is gonna listen to Aesop Rock anyway. It’s an entirely different market. So kinda “No Harm, No Foul” the way I see it.

  • Peplow530

    Obviously A$AP Rocky hasn’t paid his hip-hop dues. When asked why he made his name so similar to Aesop Rock, he claims he had never even heard of him. That’s like saying who is this KRS-one guy? Clamming he’s a rapper without even knowing the masters, what a joke.

  • ryebanana

    Damn I’ve been hearing this A$AP Rocky guy on the radio and everytime I’m like ‘Why is the DJ saying rocky…it’s rock!’. Now it all makes sense!

  • catdog

    at first when i heard about asap rocky i first thought dam aesop is back! but no….

  • But Aesop is still making music. It’s not an older sound, it’s a different, more experimental sound. Aesop isn’t afraid to take Hip-Hop into other directions, while A$AP is just happy to make the money, like all the other cats in mainstream rap now. It’s all about the business of it, while for Aesop, it’s the love of it. I don’t like someone having a similar name when they represent something so different. And he should have known. I call BS on that one. I make electronic music. I make it my business to know just about every artist in every kind of electronic genre. For someone in the spotlight, he especially should’ve known. Now all the Aesop fans are gonna be like “who’s this clown?” It was an amateur move. But, he will still make money because he’s superficial, and superficial sells.

  • Thetrooth

    Lawls why is this page even a thing? Anyone who knows the name asop rock is not going to confuse the two…and one of who has not heard of asop rock is a radio kid who won’t understand why jayz is good and lilwayne can suck a dick.

  • Aesop Rock is real music. Im tired of hearing this fake shit named after him.

  • j

    I listened to like thirty seconds of asaps shitty 10 mil viewed song and asked myself “What the fuck?” jesus, aesop.

  • JayBlaze9

    Let your ears taste the talent, and your mind will let you see the truth.


  • Jon G.

    So I had to look it up, A$AP vs Aesop. Thought maybe due to hiatus Aesop changed his name. Nope. Shoulda known better. The one thing that speaks for itself is 5 comments on the A$AP track to the numerous comments on the Aesop track. Stoked for Skelethon.

  • Werd. I went to see Aesop at Amoeba in SF last year, went to get pizza after and some kid in line was all, “what the fuck was that shit, i thought this was an A$AP Rocky show?” I had to hold back not to punch him in the face. One of my favorite quotes from Slug, “Oddly enough, I’m happy I ain’t famous
    Imagine waking up to the fact that you’re simply entertainment
    I bet god thinks you’re amusing” A$AP is just the doofus stealing a legit artist’s name to get dolla dolla bills.

  • Aesop Rock is for pseudo-intellectual Backpack Hip Hop nerds who are generally White, have beards, and wear olive green army jackets while hanging out in parts of the city that look somewhat grimy but “not too hood”; there’s graffiti and trash around, but it’s in the newly-gentrified trendy area of a former slum.

  • Nick2sicks

    I thought someone was fucking with me when they asked who’s better Aesop Rock or Asap Rocky? I didn’t know who he was until they started to compare the two. Aesop put in work. Asap who?

  • JustSayin

    When I first heard of an A$AP Rocky, I was confused. Aesop Rock should sue this Rocky dude for infringement. Confusion is obvious.

  • AliJacc

    lol @ aesop and stuck up underground faggits. F’ Aesop Rock and everybody trying to squeeze meanings out of all that garbling. A$ap before Aesop lol


    only reason I see for comparison is that A$ap can easily get confused with Aesop. Bcuz when my friend first put me on to A$ap rocky I thought it was he was saying Aesop.

  • Millenial Fail

    So ASAP Rocky is 23 and didn’t think to Google his handle to see if it clashed with anyone elses?

  • Kevin Fiddick

    Which is funny because zero dark thirty by Aesop rock actually talks about how reckless and drugged up these new rappers are. In the song he describes them as “Sitting in the shadows of immoral magnets. Are we supporting the artist or enabling the addict?”

  • Kevin Fiddick

    People are so afraid to analyze music… A$AP you can listen to and think it sounds good. Same with Aesop. But, the difference is with Aesop, he actually talks about something that makes you think, while if you look up A$AP… He doesn’t seem too well educated

  • Kevin Fiddick

    You are the dumbest piece of garbage hahahaha

  • shmite67

    Pretty sure A$AP had a solo album come out this year…

  • blowiejay

    but it seems aesop profited, not asap…. i doubt he intended to bite the name.

  • Thugsareidiots

    Aesop Rock…no competition. Only little “gangsta hard-core thugs” like that idiot’s music. Aesop Rock is creative A$AP ROCKY (like a generic rapper today) raps about his cars and how much pussy he can get. Really, today’s “thugs” don’t notice they can’t rap in old times but today’s standards are SOOO low that it’s acceptable. These “Thugs” today are retards disguising themselves by saying any generic shit generic rappers spit out.

  • MLG

    Ke$ha! Ha, Ha.

  • Ognox

    How soon people forget Common and Biggie had to change their names. A$AP Rocky is too close.

  • Zeus

    That reminds me, wheres Dead Prez at these days. I cant take the moral disembowelment of Hip Hop from these ‘new jacks’

  • efrdg

    I am unbiased in the fact I haven’t heard a lick of music from either of them, but I got 20 seconds into the first guys song and finished the whole song of the second guys. If those songs are supposed to represent the best material of the artist then Aesop definitely wins.

  • nonogood

    Here’s the problem with underground hip hop. Its so damn judgemental and fucking self righteous. I grew up on aesop rock, company flow, can ox, weatherman radio MFDOOM and any other ” underground” artist you can think of BUT i grew up in Houston Tx I came up on the Screw Up Click, Scarface and the Geto Boys too. You know its possible to like both right? ya’ll know y.u’re not the decider of what is considered “good music” right? Underground hiphop has been so much us verses them its really stifled itself when life at that cut and dry and neither is music. So since their names are similar what? they should sound alike? one HAS to be better then the other? How bout to each his own and get off your goddamn pedestal. FUCK this shit annoys me.

  • Troubled Water

    Let’s analyze the names for just a moment here. A$AP has a dollar symbol in the name which would indicate to me that he is trying to get an economic reward as soon as possible. The name is then followed by Rocky. Now, which Rocky is it? Rocky from the cheesy 80’s boxing saga featuring the one dimensional Sly? Or Rocky from Bullwinkle? It’s all very confusing to me. Now AESOP, would indicate to me that his name was inspired by the mythical Fable writer of Ancient times. When you listen to his work you get the correlation almost instantly. Rock, because he rocks this shit if I may be so bold. I think Mr A$AP needs to change his name as soon as humanly possible. Bittin’ A$$ Ma-aFaq

  • both… you seem like a “both” lol

  • jj

    I always goolge is name before I jack it.

  • A$$ApeRapey

    A$ap Rocky is to Aesop Rock as a prolapsed chimpanzee cunt is to a golden vajazzled angels stinkless mystical space vigina from the next dimension of intelegent rymesay, why no tallent cats like A$ap bend over for the anal fist industry $$ I do not know. Is it so hard not to be a generic nigative crime glorifying cliché biter?

    Just goes to show, you can spend a life time trying to make the world more arseholeproof and the whole time some A&R prick is making better arseholes….greed vs tallent greed always wins.

  • puma

  • Fread

    Let me tell everybody the REAL difference.
    Aesop Rock went to University, A$AP Rocky did not.

  • Joe

    I like Aesop, but that was the funniest shit I’ve read in a long while xD

  • Floyd8

    You should read more often, perhaps invest some time in reading the lyrics that these two artists write. The difference in skill set should be immediately apparent.

  • Arthur Collins

    that username though

  • Robert Joseph Music

    Not nearly as much as your mindbogglingly ignorant opinions are to every intelligent human being. You’re a goddamn embarrassment to evolution.

  • Robert Joseph Music

    Who the fuck cares? Aesop spits more lyrical genius in sixteen bars than that name/pillow biter will if he puts out 50 albums this year.

  • Robert Joseph Music

    You faggot bitch, we all know that you’re A$AP Mocky’s toy of a gaping asshole for “him/her” to stick “his/hers” dick-sized clit in. He’s so low in the game that his monkey-ass can’t even pay you for it! A bitch-nigga dicksucker is all you are, and you’re just as retarded as your precious A$$fucker so Aesop Rock is waaaaay over your puny skull.

  • Robert Joseph Music

    A$AP is only followed by pretty-nigga clowns that obey whatever the radio tells them to listen to. You’re just another Uncle Tom house-nigga, sayin’ “Yes massah mainstream, whatevah’ the corporations say I sure gonna’ do.”

  • The Truth Hurts

    I don’t even listen to A$AP. So what you say about A$AP listeners means nothing to me. Seems like my comment hit close to home and you were trying hard to come up with something. You were even lame enough to like your own comment. LOL. I guess you need all the “support” you can get.

  • mitchbetterhavemybunny

    hyperbolic much?

  • pat

    loool asap who??? reminiscing about the first time i heard this goofy fucks name that was clearly bitten…

  • Tom Bremner

    You sir, have fantastic interest in music. Much respect

  • Wesley van Steenis

    Who gives a flying fuck about the difference in skill. That’s not even what this article nor this man’s comment is about. Aesop is a conscience rapper who attracts a different crowd than a$ap, who just raps whatever the hell he feels like. I enjoy em both. Sue me. Don’t feel better than someone else because you have a different taste in music. Nobody likes a smartass.

  • Wesley van Steenis

    U say it like it is dude.