music morsels indie music December 2006 


by Mark E. Waterbury


# OF CDs SOLD: 500 of latest release
FAN BASE: approx. 3000

MM: How did you get into rap?

EL: The first time I heard Biggie Small’s CD “Ready To Die” I discovered I had a love for it. But it wasn’t until I was about thirteen when I started actually writing and really getting into it. It started as kind of a joke, but it got serious real quick. I took it from there and worked to be better and better as I went along, and then decided I wanted to do this as a living.

MM: Did you start by coming up with the lyrics first, almost like you were writing poetry?

EL: I think God must have been involved in there. I have no control over when I start writing; it just comes to me and I write it down. I have people around me who help me come up with ideas and we all brainstorm about it, but after that it is all up to me. I just write it down, whatever comes to me, and put it in with the subject. There is no formula to it, it just happens and I am thankful that it does.

MM: Did you start recording or performing first?

EL: I started recording first. I was in a group first, and we went into the studio and started laying songs down. Not long after that, we opened up for Trick Daddy and Trina, and it started rolling from there. We became friends with the promoters that brought them into town and that is how we got on that bill. Then we went to Florida and performed at a music fest where we met some more folks. We went to Vancouver not too long ago, and Baltimore...we went all over the place.

MM: What did it feel like the first time you were on stage?

EL: It was nerve racking before I went on stage, and I think it is like that for a lot of rappers the first time. But as soon as you get on stage it all goes away. You know what you gotta do and you just do it. As soon as I got on stage, it felt natural, that this was what I was supposed to be doing. It was the best feeling in the world.

MM: How did the crowd react to it?

EL: Afterwards, we signed autographs and heard their own little reviews. That was a great feeling to me, keeping people happy, and I would like to do it over and over again.

MM: You have been talking about meeting the crowds, meeting other rappers, is that something that you feel is very important for your career - connecting with your fans and other musicians and building those relationships?

EL: I feel that the fans make the rapper. If you don’t have fans or appreciate fans, then you are nothing without them. It is very important to meet the fans and make sure that you talk to them and understand where they are coming from, because they are there because you are there. You have to make sure that they feel good about you being there. Meeting other rappers is good as well. I am from New York, but I moved to the South so I have different influences. A lot of rappers who have come before me have influenced how I rap and how I go about rapping. Overall it is important to meet as many people as you can because it can only help you out. It makes you a better person, period, not just a better rapper.

MM: I know you previously said that God inspires you, or you just get sudden inspirations to write that come out of you. Do current events inspire you as well, like world events or maybe events that are more personal?

EL: If I feel a certain way about things that maybe I think isn’t right, I tell it to my notebook. I write it down and see how I feel about it, and it may become a song. Another thing that influences me are other genres such as rock, blues, anything I can hear that sounds good to me and I can turn into something. I love music in general and I love to sit down and say hear a country song and turn it into good music. That’s all it is about, making good music. 

MM: Beyond getting out and playing in all these markets and interacting with your fans and other rappers, what else have you done to market yourself and your CD?

EL: I have been to the local radio station many, many times. We are out in the streets pushing the CD, talking to people, getting their reactions. We are doing everything we can do, there is no stopping that. You have to keep pushing when it comes to selling CDs. We have flyers, promotional pens, a PR company, photos, autographs, everything necessary.

MM: I know rap gets a bad rep sometimes with the violence associated with it. What do you have to do just not to get lumped into that general stigma?

EL: I believe people who don’t listen to rap enough have that image that rap is degrading to women and violent and generally negative. I don’t think a lot of people actually sit down and listen to what is going on. It is more of a movement, and it is entertainment. Sometimes people want to hear that, hear the struggle and the violence that these people had to rise above. I try to keep that part away a little bit, it is something I don’t do that much, but you have to make sure you explain and let people know that this is entertainment. You can’t always put the blame on rappers because they are doing their job. It is almost like you have to get a community involvement so everyone can enjoy and understand rap in a good situation.

MM: With the general state of rap today and with all these sub genres that are out there, do you think that rappers need to just get back to their roots?

EL: In my opinion, it does need to go that way. I believe everybody has the right to make songs the way they feel they should. I do feel that it is now starting to turn more back towards how it used to be. More lyrical with better lyrics. Right now the state of rap is very shifty. It is a big time for rap in general, where people can come in and be able to make a statement. It is so wide open right now with the exception of some of the great ones that are still around. It is going to be fun for the next couple of years.

MM: There has been that progression of innovators; Public Enemy, TuPac, Eminem, Jay Z, 50 you feel that now is the right time for another innovator?

EL: I definitely feel that way. It is wide open so if another innovator comes along to turn it into another direction, that would be for the best because it will only make it better. Others will follow in his footsteps and use those stepping stones to make it even better.

MM: Do you think you can be one of the leaders of that innovation, and what will it take to do that?

EL: I would love to be one of those innovators. I feel I am not so much a rapper as a student of how the game is working right now. I listen to everybody whether I think they are bad or good. I don’t discriminate between them because that will only make me a better rapper. Right now I feel I am really good and I know I have to get out there and get myself heard and make sure that everyone hears what I have to say. It is going to take a lot of hard work, because even though rap is wide open, it is flooded right now. Everyone and their mother is a rapper and it is hard to break into the business. I feel that I do have the talent to do this, and I love it so much that you can’t keep it away from me. I found that I have to keep working, keep moving, keep making records so someone who loves it as much as I do may want to back me on it. Being one of those innovators is up to me, and I feel that I can do that...I AM doing that right now.


Entell - E=MC2

North Carolina-based Entell appears poised to lead a new generation of rappers with his debut disc. Entell weaves different modern regional styles with old school flavoring, augmented by tasteful beats and samples. The lyrics are thought-provoking, sometimes edgy and street smart, and others more on the fun side. At their core, the words are accessible so the listener can experience what he is trying to say. Entell also possesses a muscular voice reminiscent of Chuck D, with the capability of toning it down when the song's emotion calls for it. Perhaps the song “I Luv Hip-Hop” says it best, because the true passion put into this CD is obvious.

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