Today [Sunday, June 5] marks the 40th year Aesop Rock has been on this planet. The New York-bred emcee has been gracing us with his unique flavor of Hip Hop for half of his life.

Born Ian Bavtiz in Syosset, New York, the current Rhymesayers signee was raised in Northport, Long Island. After high school graduation, he attended Boston University, where he released his first solo album, Music For Earthworms, in 1997. Soon he was off and running.

After his initial breakthrough success in the underground Hip Hop community, he was eventually noticed by Mush Records and obtained his first record deal in 1999, just a year after he graduated from college. In 2000, Bavitz released his first major album, Float, with guest appearances from Vast Aire, Slug of Atmosphere, and Dose One. Production was shared between Blockhead and Aesop himself, with one track by Omega One.

Bavtiz would go on to release five more solo albums, culminating with this year’s The Impossible Kid, one of his best. Produced by Bavtiz himself, the album is the result of years of hard work and growth, a testament to his unwavering love for the craft. Known for his often cryptic writing style, The Impossible Kid is one of his most straightforward bodies of work to date, which he admits in an interview with The Source, wasn’t exactly a conscious thing.

As he continues on tour in support of The Impossible Kid, The Source hopes he has a very, very happy birthday.