There are many who have fell victim to the latest adage: Hip Hop is Dead. I beg to differ, due to the fact that there are a lot of artists who are out in the trenches making noise on various fronts in keeping the banner of balance and good music alive. E Reece is one of those who have been holding the banner of honest music from the days when he would frequent my “Love Is The Message” parties, hustling his music to the masses and eventually making a name for himself that is placing him as one of the top shelf Hip Hop artists to check for in 2009. I had a chance to rap with E Reece and here is the rundown:
A-Ski: How are things in your sphere man?
E: Everything is everything. Living and learning.
A-Ski: How long have you been an MC?
E: I’ve been rhyming since about 1990, but have been pursuing it professionally since 2001 when I moved to LA.
A-Ski: You know I been a fan from the gate, whats your secret to concistency?
E: Just making music that I like. I have a good ear so most people like the tracks that I make. And staying true to myself and keeping my integrity with the music.
A-Ski: Where were you born?
E: Born in Kansas City, MO and raised in Montgomery County Maryland.
A-Ski: Who were your musical influences?
E: Prince and Michael Jackson were my first influences. Prince is my all time favorite artist though. I was also influenced by Run DMC, Special Ed and KRS One, as well as Gerry Mulligan and Charlie Parker, to name a few. I love the cool jazz period.
A-Ski: What is your drive and inspiration as an artist?
E: What drives me is to make the best music I can make, while keeping it positive in the hip hop vein. People need to know that there are artists out there who won’t sell their souls to get on and I’m inspired by everyone who gets something from my music, whether big or small. Knowing that I’ve touched someone with my words is inspiration enough.
A-Ski: What separates you from the rest?
E: I don’t just rap. I grew up playing jazz saxophone and jazz was actually my first love in music, so I’m a musician as well. I’m not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve and let the listener in to some of the hardest times in my life, with an honest perspective. I tell the truth!
A-Ski: Do you feel there’s an overkill in putting out “underground” records rather than putting out a “good record” and how would you differentiate the two?
E: Records are only underground because they don’t have the marketing and promotion. Most underground records are “good records” and better than mainstream records. Just because someone is “underground” and doesn’t have a million fans and doesn’t do world tours doesn’t mean that the music that they make isn’t good. I’m considered underground because I don’t have a big machine behind me yet, but I still make high quality, good music.
A: What is your goal in this pursuit as an artist?
E: I want to be a working musician meaning that I want my art to be my livelihood. I don’t want to have to do odd jobs here and there to make the ends meet. I want art with commerce, while staying true to myself and making the music I want to make.
A-Ski: How do you maintain the “feel good” factor in your music?
E: I can’t really explain it. Its just how I live and it manifests itself in the music I make. You gotta keep it positive and on the up and up and I guess my music reflects that mindset.
A-Ski: How did this latest release come together?
E: Well I’ve released a couple EP’s and an LP since ’03 while working with a lot of dope producers. I formed a live band in ’05 because I always knew that’s where I wanted to take my sound. The band has gone through many incarnations being that there’s a high level of turn over when you have to pay cats out of your own pockets. I auditioned cats from Craigslist and have finally found a solid crew who all get along. I’m very blessed in that fact actually. So I took out a loan and got everyone in the studio and we just did it all in one day. We’d been playing the songs that I wanted to put on the LP at shows for a while so it was really easy. I did it initially with the Japanese market in mind because I knew that they have an appreciation for jazzy, quality hip hop, but the record also will do well here in the US. Mic Life Recordings in Japan scooped it up. The meat of the Japanese and US records are the same. The Japanese version has some exclusives, while the US version has some other exclusives. Two dope records. I’m putting out the US version myself and it will be on line everywhere come January 27, 2009!
A-Ski: Who are the collaborators on this album?
E: Well this record is re-creations of tracks with the band I had already done with various producers over the years. Some of those producers are Leggo, DJ Soups, T.i.M, Tycoon and DJ Face. I also have remixes from Presto (Concrete Grooves), The Beat Ventriloquists and Brian Boland, with me as executive producer.
A: Are there any dream artists and producers you’d like to collaborate with?
E: I’d love to do something with Prince! Some MC’s I’d like to work with would be Black Thought, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, Little Brother, KRS One and Pharoahe Monch. Some producers would be DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, Nicolay, Oddisee and Ohmega Watts.
A-Ski: Where can we catch you performing next?
E: Come out to The Root Down at Little Temple in Silverlake on Thursday January 29th for the official album release party! Its gonna be crazy! After that I’ll be booking as many gigs as possible to let heads know about this Organic Hip Hop and to promote the album. Remember “L.I.S.n 2 This Live.In.Studio.”will be out on Elevated Mental Recordings on January 27th, 2009. Check “http://www.myspace.com/ereecemusic” http://www.myspace.com/ereecemusic for updates on the latest. Stay up and get wit it! And thanks for the support and love!