A New State of Mind: An Exclusive Interview with Rapper E-man
I’ve been harbouring a secret. Most people don’t know this about me; but I was actively involved in the music industry before swaying my talents towards other creative ventures. Today I sat down with a good old friend, E-man, an artist (rapper) I previously worked with, to discuss the progression in his career and find out more about his new music video.
E-man is a rapper, songwriter, husband, preacher and businessman. He has been in the rap scene for over 10 years and runs an independent music label called Dynisty Entertainment. He has not only received a bulk load of poetry awards in the past but also attained his black belt in Martial Arts at a very young age. He has also studied IT (Information Technology) at W.S.U where he won achievement awards for both Entrepreneurship and Business planning. Three tracks from his previous demo, which included Stereotype, Silly Rabbit and Mother, received airplay throughout South Africa and climbed the radio music charts – an unheard of feat considering it was merely a demo recording. E-man recently released an EP, titled The Rookie (Episode 1), featuring four powerful tracks, including President Aboagye, The Undisputed, A New State of Mind and Tears from The Sky. The result was a huge uproar from the public demanding to know more about E-man.
Jarrod: Let’s start off with your story. Who are you, where are you from and how did you get into music?
E-man: I was always into music from an early age, but I didn’t really know that I wanted to pursue it until I met (you) Jarrod Saunders back in 1998. He was into making beats and I was into writing rhymes. That was really where it kicked off. Before that my brother had a major influence on the kind of rap I use to listen to. Currently I’m living in East London, but my parents are originally from Ghana and I was born in Zambia. So I do feel like a bit of a Nomad, but I’ve grown to be able to call South Africa home.
Jarrod: Haha (laughs). Would you call your music South African then?
E-man: No, by no means. That was never the vision we started with. I want it to be international. You should be able to play a Jay-Z or Drake track, like it and be bumping to that and switch to an E-man joint without feeling like the quality or style has diminished.
Jarrod: That’s a good point. Do you think other South African artists see it that way? Is the music industry here growing and heading in the right direction? Is there a bad connotation to the term South African music?
E-man: No, I wouldn’t say there is a bad connotation to SA music. It’s still very much trying to figure itself out. I think that it is still very much a baby in terms of the other giants like the US and UK market. But that is where the appeal is. Because they are still growing and there is currently so much turmoil in the global industry it pretty much becomes like the Wild West and that creates a lot of opportunities that didn’t exist before. And yes, I do believe it is heading in the right direction. I just came back from the Moshito Conference and things like that are really working to make a difference for artists and the industry.
Jarrod: So you believe your music is different from the rest of the South African rap?
E-man: Absolutely. I speak from the heart and from my experience. So if you can relate to that its cool, but you can’t duplicate it coz everyone is different. Plus I keep it clean – like the Motown of rap.
Jarrod: Clean? Explain.
E-man: No profanity in my lyrics. I don’t have to swear to get my message across. That already makes me different to 90% of the rappers out there.
Jarrod: Cool. You have a few Christian references in your music. Would you consider yourself a Christian Rapper? Or a rapper who is Christian?
E-man: A rapper who is Christian.
Jarrod: How does your faith play a part in your music?
E-man: It is who I am. So I am very conscious of what I put out there.
Jarrod: Do you think that limits you in any way? Besides not being able to curse.
E-man: No. The only limit is imagination. It doesn’t take much to curse and be vulgar. In fact you have got to be more creative in how you put things.
Jarrod: Very true. So you run Dynisty Entertainment as a business and you are a rapper. How do you find balance between being a creative and being a business man? And tell us more about Dynisty and your plans.
E-man: There is no balance. It’s more like seasons and swinging pendulums. What I mean by that is: there are times where I have to put on the business suit and there are times I have to be the artist. Depending on the day or the season I have to where a different hat. But what makes the difference is learning to work as a team and understanding the different players in the game. The future plans are to make more music and keep putting it out there. I’ll be working with some American producers on some new tracks and there is a young talent in the wings called BK, who does R&B, that I’m also looking forward to seeing on the map.
Jarrod: Tell us more about the American producers and how you came into contact with them.
E-man: You get the exclusive with me mentioning it. But I gotta’ keep it under wraps till the papers are signed and the tracks are done, unfortunately. But it is Hot, and it’s coming out soon!
Jarrod: Very interesting. Tell us about your current release, “A New State of Mind.”
E-man: It’s all about changing the way you think, and that transition into, for me what was really a hustle mode. Understanding that in order to make things happen I got take this as a business and get serious.
Jarrod: Well, it’s been great catching up. Thank you for your time. Do you mind introducing the music video for us?
E-man: Check out our latest video “A New State of mind”, directed by Dale Rueben - And I hope you enjoy it: http://youtu.be/xLTCWYadK8E. And one more thing: To download the track directly onto your mobile: SMS the following code: 28 56 35 59 to 3 33 33. Mp3’s cost R16.99 and T&C’s Apply.
Checkout the video below – And guess what? I made the beat (background music)!