Essobama: The Champagne CampaignMay 25, 2007 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Interviews | Leave a comment
Written By JawZ
What’s up, if you haven’t heard yet, the next hottest thing out of NY is here. Esso is a native of the world-renowned Harlem (Uptown) part of New York and is a graduate of Howard University. He hit the music biz by storm 2 years ago with his sudden popularity amongst music business insiders and media alike. Esso says “The way my buzz is looking, you got to call me Obama”, that should let you know in a nutshell that his hustle is very serious.
Recently, I sat down with Esso about his new mixtape “Essobama: The Champagne Campaign” hosted by Cipha Sounds. We also chatted about upcoming projects, his music and basically yall are about to find out who this cat is if you don’t already know!
So what up Esso, how you living?
I can’t complain…everything’s looking real good right now. We got the Champagne Campaign moving real strong right now. Preparing for The Champaign Convention concert coming up in NYC. Just working, getting it in.
Cool, for those few people that aren’t aware of you and your music, can you explain to them your sound and what new flavor that you bring to the game?
In a nutshell, I’m me. That’s the easiest way to describe it. I’ve probably been through a lot of the same things as a lot of people my age, so people seem to relate to what I’m saying in my music. People respect honesty, and that’s something that I bring. At the same time, I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of things the average person doesn’t see…so I bring that to the table also.
What I liked most about you when I first read up on you, was that you went to college, and was proud of it, today a lot of people in the Hip Hop community kind of play off the whole school thing and focus more so towards the streets. Did you ever think by being a college grad and being from the streets, that your educational background would somehow hinder your chances of making it?
Nah, u know what, honestly, I’m really not even supposed 2 be here now. The reason I was so into school at the time was that I was playing baseball at The Univ. Of Michigan, and then Howard. So really I thought I was gonna be somewhere playing professional baseball right now. I never think to myself that me going to college makes me any more or less real than anyone else. I’m still from Harlem regardless of wherever life may take me, yanno? People have the concept of what’s real all wrong. Real doesn’t equal gangsta. Real just means authentic. And I would dare someone to say I’m not authentic. The streets respect people who aren’t afraid to be who they are. They would respect me much less if they never saw me bust a gun or move a pack, and then come out sounding like Young Jeezy.
Aight, So lets get into this new mixtape you got out called EssoBama: The Champagne Campaign. Why did you name it EssoBama?
I was watching something on TV, and they kept saying that Barack Obama was probably the most charismatic candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but that the only thing that might hold him back was his experience level since he’s only been in the Senate 2 years. Now I’m 2 years almost to the day into the music industry, and I started seeing a lot of similarities between the 2 of us in terms of what we’re trying to do. The press loves him, and I’ve gotten a lot of press myself to be an unsigned artist. The music industry isn’t that much different than politics, so it made sense.
I get it, that’s unique man, very innovative. I listened to your first mixtape “Essocentric” , you got a song called “Being Me”, It stuck out to me, very radio friendly but still on a mixtape vibe, you ever thought about releasing that song to the public as a radio track given the feedback you got from it?
Yea man “Bein Me” was just one of those songs where everything clicked. It’s funny you ask that because the other day I was talking to my cousin about how a lot of the new artists from the South that have these huge first singles had those songs out a year or 2 before we ever knew about
them in New York. It would be crazy for Bein Me to be my first single knowin that to me it’s almost a year old now.
What’s so different about this new mixtape, EssoBama, that we didn’t hear on Essocentric? And is it still a Sickamore project?
Probably the first difference between ESSObama and ESSOcentric is that the majority of ESSObama is original music. The first time around I wanted people to get used 2 hearing me, so I used a lot of beats that were familiar (industry beats). This time around I wanted to give them a chance to see where I’m really trying to go with it, and to do that I had to go more towards original production. I got a lot of dope production this time around…Ron Browz produced this joint My City that I got Skyzoo and Stimuli on, my dudes, The Faculty, out of CT did 3 joints on there also. Out of the 15 songs on the second mixtape 10 are original. There weren’t any features on the first one, this time there are 4 or 5 songs with features. Plus my homie Cipha Sounds co hosted…and I can’t
remember the last time I saw his name attached to a mixtape.
Aight, you did a lot of press to say that you’re new to the game, I saw you on MTV Sucka Free, I know you’re doing showcases, you hooked up with DJ Sickamore and the whole “I can make you famous” imprint, and that’s just the surface of it, how did you get this many connections and
exposure so quickly?
Just grinding to be honest. It’s not just about working hard, you have to work smart. I just put myself in a position to meet good people, and never rushed into anything. I met my manager through an event I was at, met Sick through a performance, met Cipha through his show on SHADE45, and that led to MTV. Some people call it luck, but luck is only preparation meeting opportunity. I’m always ready whenever an opportunity may pop up.
What’s next for Esso? Are there any labels getting at you? I know you can’t really answer that last one, but let us know what you got planned next, is it going to be another mixtape or is the next move an album?
Most everything that’s up next I can’t really speak on, a lot of behind the scenes things being put into motion. There also a possible summer tour, which I should know about real soon. I’m thinking about doing one more solo mixtape, probably around September/October, just to close out the ESSOcentric Trilogy. I got the Azzure Denim ad campaign running right now, you can check that out on AzzureDenim.com, and we’re gonna have The Champagne Convention in NYC late May or early June. So I’m definately not sitting on my ass waiting on people to find me. The real work starts after the deal anyway.
For that kid reading this at home thinking that he doesn’t need school
in order to be a rapper or a better person, or maybe he wants to break
into the game but doesn’t understand the hustle, what advice would you
give him as a rising artists and college graduate?
The best thing I could tell anyone on their comeup, regardless of what that come up is would be to understand the game they’re getting into, have a plan, and execute on that plan. There’s no real formula anymore as far as gettin in the music game, so you really gotta know what you want, and
figure out how to get there. If you want to be a lawyer or doctor, there’s a set path that you already know about way before you get into it. The music industry ain’t like that. The grind aint glamorous, but going through what you go through on the way up really shows you if you’re built for it or not.
Thanks for your time Esso, always keeping it real, any last words? Where can we get that mixtape and what’s the myspace page/website?
Thanks to TheSource.com for reaching out, and all The Source staff. Especially Julie Als, Big Ced and Bum. My manager Ralph, Sickamore, St. Paul, Tory, Gutta, the whole ICMUF, Cipha Sounds…everyone that helped make ESSObama possible.