Who DAT: EmAre

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 OutKast and 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 famous.

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 music.

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 though.

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 what’s popular.

Q: Who would you like to do a song with? Doesn’t matter the genre.

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 anyone really.

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 tho. [smiles]

Q: Every rapper has a humbling beginning. What do you feel is your most humble beginning?

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 them.”

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.

Want to keep up with the latest on EmAre?

Follow him on:

IG- thereal_emare

Tumblr- king-emare

Soundcloud- EmAre

Twitter- theReal_EmAre

YouTube- Em Are

Photo Credit: EmAre’s IG account

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