For the edition of Who Dat, I had the pleasure of meeting
and talking to a talent young man. Who might that be? The Lower East Side born
rapper, EmAre. EmAre first appeared for me, on Tumblr. Tumblr the infamous
blogging website, where music and creative writing meets. Since I am on the
writing side of Tumblr, it’s still a mystery of how the hell he ended up on my
dash. But despite that, his music is the reason I made sure he stayed. It was a
hot Thursday evening, when I walked into the mildly empty Chipotle, and sat
down. I shot him a quick text, letting him know I had arrived. He replied that
he was also inside. Looking around, I spotted him. Must say, meeting him was
nerve-wrecking. Here before me was an incredibly handsome guy, who also was
polite and quiet like. His smile easygoing and bright. His whole vibe spoke of a
intelligent, creative thinker. After taking his seat, we got right down to the interview.
Q: For those who don’t you know, who are you?
EmAre: My name is EmAre, I make music, I battle rap, I’m from
the LES (lower east side). I’m up and coming.
Q: How did you come up with your name?
EmAre: It’s my initials. I wanted something close to home.
Something about me. Like how Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. Many rappers down the
line, goes through many name changes like Eminem was slim shady. His [rap] name
is his initials.
Q: How did you get into battle rap?
EmAre: I’ve always been competition. I’m competive. In high
school, I was into sports. I played basketball, football. Started watching
battle rap, seeing other perform and I just got into it.
Q: When did you discover that you had talent? When was that
ha ah moment?
EmAre: In 5th grade. I started writing poetry,
but my poems didn’t rhyme. Around 8th grade I started writing with a
tempo, and of course I listen to rap. I feel like I also get it from my family
too. My mom, my whole family is expressive, especially with words. So I get it
also from them.
Q: There was one battle where you mentioned all of these
rock bands. The crowd didn’t really respond. Then in your second round, you
started to dumb down your style. Do you regret doing that for that battle? Someone
commented and was like it went over everyone head. And I have to agree.
EmAre: Not really. About that battle, I was actually
supposed to battle someone else. I had already committed to memory what I
wanted to say. But they had switched my opponent. I had to wait about 7 hours
before I can go on and perform. Once I got to it, I had switch my own style up.
Q: How does your style differ then others?
EmAre: I feel like my material is directed more towards
teaching. My style is wrapped around teaching and urging people to learn.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your music?
EmAre: Giving people an insight to me. Letting them know,
they aren’t alone. That somebody else has been through it too. I talk about
stuff a lot of people don’t talk about.
A project I’m working is actually geared towards that.
Q: What is the project about?
EmAre: It’s about self-love and not being ashamed of the
skin you are in.
Q: How many of your songs are autobiographies?
EmAre: [pauses] All my songs have something about me. A
piece of me, even if it’s not directed towards me.
Q: That was your mother on the end of God Bless right? How
did you feel hearing your mom talk so beautifully about you?
EmAre: [smiles] Yeah, that was her. It was wonderful. We
have our differences, but no matter what, the love is there. She has come
through for me at times and that’s one of the reasons I wrote ‘God Bless’.
Q: Does it add pressure for you be best you can be?
EmAre: [nods head] It definitely does. It definitely
inspires me to work harder. [laughs] she doesn’t like the way I rap. The
cursing and material. If it was up to her, it would be all sunshine and
rainbows. [smiles] But she is getting used to it. It’ nice that she understands
that I have to keep it real.
His smile is super big at this point. I can tell that his
mom is a very important factor in his life. It’s nice to see that despite his
life with her, that the two love and adore each other. I believe from this
alone, that you can always build or rebuild a relationship with your parents.
That love is way stronger. We began to
stray off topic a little. We started to talked about music again, prompting me
to flip through my notebook. “So let’s play a game,” I smiled. He looked a
little curious. But it’s a game I like to call ‘Hip-Hop’ This or That. His
following answers to this game, were lit. Can tell he knows his stuff. He
asked, “do I give a reason?” I responded, “If you want.”
These were the choices (the bold words are his pick):
TDE or Slaughterhouse
Warren G or The Game
Biggie or Mos Def
Brand Nubian or The Lox
DMX or Bun B
Outcast or Wu Tang Clan
J. Dilla or Timberland
Missy Elliott or Queen Latifah
MC Lyfe or Roxanne Shante
De La Soul or Tribe Called Quest
Black Sheep or Mobb Deep
Big L or Kool G Rap
Raekown or Ghostface Killah
Method Man or Rah Digga
Kanye West or RZA
Redman or Lupe Fiscao
Ab-Soul or Danny Brown
Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole
Mannie Fresh or Pimp C
Just Blaze or The Alchemist
Nas or Q-Tip
Dj Quik or The Neptunes
[Sidenote: He gave reasons for the choices. Ab-Soul or Danny Brown, he agreed both were lyrical, but Ab-Soul was a lot more diverse. Kanye West’s producing is genius especially with the layering and format. The Lox because he like the gritty hardcore style the group has, TDE because they have purpose they are pursuing. MC Lyte has more consistent material, Queen Latifah was hardcore. De La Soul had better ideas, Kool G Rap was more consistent music wise. He loves both OutKastand Wu Tang, but he choose OutKast due to the diversity that the group has in music.]
[Back to the questions]
Q: Your thoughts on hip-hop’s current state?
EmAre: I feel like it’s still healthy. People are too
focused on who is getting the most money. Lyrical rap isn’t getting the money. The
demographic surrounding rap is just getting smarter. But not everyone wants to hear
lyrical rap all the, most just want to party. If you want the music you love,
you will find it. Lyrical rap is still around and it is thriving.
Q: top four rappers dead or alive. They don’t even gotta be
EmAre: Nas, Mos Def, DMX, LL Cool J, Method Man
Q: Why LL? [Evelyn Lozada face]
EmAre: [smiles, chuckles] LL is known for his pop singles,
like “Doin’ It”. He crossed over, that’s how he makes his money. But his songs
like “Mama said knock you out”, his hardcore material is why he in my top five.
I couldn’t not agree at that point. It is easy to forget how
awesome an artist truly is when they cross over. LL’s roots in hip hop are
deeper than we remember, because all we seem to see mostly is his crossover
Q: Do you write your stuff down or you just freestyle?
EmAre: I write. I don’t do too much freestyling, like with
my battle rap, I don’t freestyle too much. Like I have a bad memory. So I write
it down, go over it and try to commit most of it to memory. Like I say the
words or phrases over and over. I just feel like it’s unnecessary. That one
thing that comes to mind, I hate that. I feel like my best thoughts are thought
Q: What do you think of XXL class list overall? Do you think
it be lit at all or it doesn’t really matter?
Em-aRe: XXL list very necessary, spotlight on new artist is
very necessary. Any type of spotlight is good new artists. I wouldn’t say all
press is good press. I think it depends on the situation.
Q: How do you feel about hip-hop magazines period? Do you
feel they still provide quality input and material on hip hop now a-days?
EmAre: No, not at all. These days I think they trying to
catch up, stay relevant, they lost “soul”. They only care about what’s new and
Q: Who would you like to do a song with? Doesn’t matter the
EmAre: [pauses, leans back to think] …Lion Babe, I feel like
she dope, Internet. To be honest, I don’t want to collab with any rappers. Or
I agree. Too many features or collabs can really dim a solo
rapper’s shine. If J. Cole can go platinum without any features, why can’t others?
Q: What kind of music do you listen to beside hip-hop?
EmAre: I listen to everything.
Q: Are you a dancer? Lol.
EmAre: …[hell]… no. I can two step the hell out of some shit
Q: Every rapper has a humbling beginning. What do you feel is your most
EmAre: [thinks for a second before he speaks] … I found
myself homeless a lot. I got kicked out. Lots of disagreements. My mom, you know, was under the influence and
couldn’t be the parental figure we needed. So her answer to many of our
disagreement, was to kick me out.
EmAre’s mom was addicted to drugs at one point. He and his brother
had actually been placed into a group home due to an overdose she had experienced.
She had died and was revived [thank God]. Years later, she had begun to feel
better and is doing loads better. The mother and son can be seen hanging out
together on his IG account. They have many photos where they are smiling and
having a good time. He even advertises her skill set in making pillows. You can
also follow the link on his IG. [The pillows are so cute and pretty.]
Q: Do you think artist, especially hip hop artist, has a
duty to speak out on our community and the problems we face everyday?
[With this conversation we talked about artists and their
responsibility to speak out about our community issues. Just in case you don’t
understand or get what he is saying, I will break it down. He believes that
artists do have the responsibility to speak out. But this conversation was also mixed in with thoughts on music’s current situation. Artists like young thug, 2
chains, asap rocky, they have a particular core base. They can’t do necessary
what J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar do, because their base is way different. This I
agree with. Party rappers can’t be lyrical rappers because that isn’t their
base. This is what EmAre is explaining below.]
EmAre: I feel like it’s everybody’s duty. Especially as an
artist, you have a voice. You have to speak out, that voice is very important.
As for some artists, they don’t speak about it because of the demographic. Like
you said before, you only listen to 2 chains when you turn up or go out. 2
Chains core base for example, is a party crowd. They like his music. Now if 2
Chains comes out and decides to make serious music, he will lose about good 30%
of his base.
We talked about a lot. But there was something I liked the
most that he had said. We were talking about battle and making music. Choosing
one or the other, he liked making music more. He also talked how music and battle
are different. I asked, “How?” He answers, “With music you can say something
that means the world to you, with battle rap it will mean absolutely nothing to
Creative art is expression. With EmAre, that proves true. There is a lot you might can take from him. His charm is certainly there, but the intelligence he expresses is what him a class of his own. It’s what makes him King.
First time to eat the world famous N'waleens beignets! ⚜💛😍
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Feels so great to be back in my second home #Nawlins ⚜The welcoming people, beautiful music, & delicious food reaffirm my love for this city 🎭 #NolansTakeNola #nolantwins #nola #whodat (at The Bourbon House - French Quarters)
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