re/visit: 16 bars with eternia-innerview from the past

16 Bars with Eternia*-talking rap with Angelica LeMinh

since i wrote the original intro to this piece, the following has happened: i totally forgot that E has more than 50 hats but know that her favorite rapper wears a skirt, Tim Hortons is no longer Canadian-owned (hence the Cold Stone partnerships and donuts that are sweeter than they used to be), we have hung out in montrill (though it wasn’t at a market) and toronto, homegirl has been on tours and tracks with a lot of folks that she named here, and there was that incident with Little Brother, and i think she may have found that one producer…

~100% writing, 0% freestyle. I know, it’s scary to admit it. I’m a writer, I always have been, and I always will be. I actually suck at just thinking on the spot. I am much more intelligent in print than if you actually speak to me. I can’t communicate as clearly that way, and it’s always been like that. I was writing songs and poems and stories before I was writing raps. But you know what? Nas writes, so I feel much better. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

~My government name is a fabric. I am married and have one child. I have toured Europe, Australia, and all of the U$ and Canada.

~ I agree that Americans know nothing about Canada, and that we’re much more well versed on them in terms of history and culture. I also believe that Canadians and Americans have more differences than similarities, or at least more differences than we would think. We are culturally very different, in my eyes, because Canadian culture nurtures a lot more individuality, independence, responsibility for the well-being of others, and freedom of thought than American culture. I find American culture to be very consumer driven towards fitting into the appropriate “uniform” (what they know as “fashion”) and generally working your whole life for material things. That just ain’t me.

~ Nah, Jersey is far from the “armpit of the U.S“. It gets a bad rap because it’s right next to NYC and New Yorkers tend to think they run the universe. NJ is cool, it’s a state like any other. Kansas is probably the armpit, or Omaha, something like that, LOL.

~Yes. The general neglect of hip hop is why I left Canada and Kardi and I have been talking about it ever since. We were simultaneously laughing in amazement but also in shock at what went down Juno weekend. I left Canada not because the fans aren’t there or aren’t dope, because they are, but because the urban music industry lacks the infrastructure to successfully sustain its artists. In layman’s terms, we just ain’t got enough dough to go around. I’m not trying to starve for life, I’m trying to hustle.

~ I don’t think I actively seek out Canadian films, but when I peep them, I really like them. I liked Breakin’ In-The Making of a Hip Hop Dancer, Elizabeth St. Philip‘s entry to the Toronto Film Festival last year. I knew about Love, Sex and Eating the Bones because my homie Kenny  “Bounce” Neal Jr. (who worked on “Balance” of my album) did the score. I love foreign films too, and though Canadian films definitely don’t belong in that genre, I’m not surprised. I find out about things that are dope (music, film, books, you name it) through word of mouth and I’m firm believer that I’m gonna hear about it if it’s worth talking about. Gil Scott Heron was probably right, but then again, love and hate exist everywhere.

“..now Jesus walks in the club, but kids are getting blessed at the bar, what’s that, a baptism?”

~When I say ..”you can’t make a name for yourself unless you lay tracks down with Kanye” it’s more of a reference to the name game in general. I detest that people in the industry don’t check for you unless someone popular or successful ‘co-signs’ for you (a la how ?uestlove nodded at Little Brother and then their albums were flying off the shelves, but they were still dope and still them before he came along, ya feel me?). I just wanna make good music and be recognized for that, not what big names I managed to weasel on my projects. I’m not really big on Kanye’s onstage/offstage persona, but I think he makes dope music.

~I am not a spoken word artist in the traditional sense. They are dope though, and I fuck with some spoken word artists for sure. I just turn the beat off when I need to be heard, ’cause I’m wordy as hell.

~I listened to Salt n’ Pepa, Queen Latifah, Roxanne Shante as a kid. When I got older, it was Ladybug Mecca from Digable Planets, and Lauryn in the Fugees. Lauryn takes the cake for me and she will always be the best. I listened to Lyte too, but late in the game. I didn’t have many people putting me on to shit when I was young let alone ways to be put on to shit when I was under the age of ten. But speaking of shouting out Vancity, Ndidi Cascade and my homegirl DJ Ariel are among the good people out there, along with my Nextra affiliates Sol Spirit and Rhek One.

~I can take it as a compliment if that’s how you mean it, and I don’t think Eve sucks, but I’d rather have a flow that’s in a category all of my own OR is comparable to the dopest emcess of all time (big words, I know, LOL ). I think I get frustrated whenever I am compared to other female emcees because that’s the only basis of comparison. It’s like saying two curly haired girls look the same because they both have curly hair when their faces look mad different, it’s for the sake of categorizing and association, and I don’t get with that. I don’t think I sound like Rah Digga, or Lyte, or Eve, or Lauryn, or Jean Grae, or any of them, and that’s not to say that they ain’t dope, but I sound like me.

~When I wrote that, yes I had been celibate for ages. Now, it’s not as true. Ages to me means anything over a year. I’ve gone longer than a year, I’ve gone a few years. People don’t know. It’s not their business really, I just put that in the song ’cause it’s a joke when people try to undercut you and belittle you as an ARTIST because of your sex life, which has nothing to do with shit, least of all your music. This ignorant treatment is normally reserved for female artists and I was just trying to make that point. Whether I am having sex every night with new partners, or once a year, or with the same dude for years, none of that is ANYONE’s business. But I feel like a politician in this business because I can’t live a normal life in case an ‘expose’ surfaces. LOL.

“forward thinking men are often not as forward thinking as they think”

~ I’ve done it more than once and I now have a rule: No Emcees. I’ll move on to producers…LOL. Joking.

~ OK. Let’s psychoanalyze myself. I was never aware of the human capacity to lie until I left home at 15. I was raised very religiously and somewhat sheltered before that point. I got kicked out at 15 for telling the truth (I was dating someone my mother didn’t approve of, but I didn’t hide it from her, I told her about him like a mature adult would have so she wouldn’t have to find out). I was shocked when I learned that people say things they don’t mean or don’t do what they say, or just say things for the hell of it. I’m not saying I’ve never told a lie, but I can honestly say that it’s been on a very rare basis, and I haven’t been proud of it when it happened. Most of the trouble I get into in my life is for telling the truth. I’m not a martyr or anything, but it’s a lonely road, especially in the music business. What you described in your question, my capacity for truth, is all I really know how to do. I don’t know how to do anything else.

~ How do you know about Hold On?! I didn’t leak that anywhere, did I?! I love that beat and that song, but it most likely will never be released. Here’s the hook: “hold on tight, when you got it, don’t let go, no/you never know when it could rain, it’s a downpour/hold on tight to your love, to your own soul/’cause when it’s ready to go, it’s goin’, it’s gone”. I love that song. I may work with Fusion, that remains to be seen. I’m really open to working with different people right now. I want that one right producer, but I ain’t rushing it.

~ I needed some comic relief on my album because I was mad self-conscious that the album was waaay too serious. So I roped Cesar Comanche (who I’m on tour with right now) into the booth to record the interludes. I didn’t even tell him what to talk about, he just elaborated from ideas that were in his head. The hidden track is an inside joke to those who worked on the album with me, my ode to Rez who was the engineer.

~ Well, I’m never satisfied. Right now, I’m on my first European tour, and all I think about is what I’m gonna do next when I get home, not “damn, this is dope!” But that’s the nature of an artist that has to stay hungry in order to succeed. And I’m perpetually starving. The timeline’s ok, but I’m never where I want to be. Never.

*this was my first official hip hop innerview and it’s been nice to keep kris krossing with this woman, whatever city we’re in. peace.


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