New York City is the birthplace of Hip-Hop but when you venture further upstate you will find just as a deep love for the music birthed in the Bronx by Kool Herc and Co in the early seventies as you would in NYC. Buffalo is the city which boasts an MC with the ability and creativity to become more than just a ring tone rapper. FemaleFirst.co.uk talks exclusively with Edreys, a purveyor of good music and one to watch out for
Where does your love of music come from?
My love of music is internal, have never lived without it, truly. It's just in me. I was certainly inspired to be artistic (visual artist) because my mom and dad are both artists. But musically, no one in my family even plays an instrument or had a passion to pursue music. I grew up with some really good people and some really good music, but I think it was just in me from the jump. The feeling I get from it is unlike any other feeling. Music affects people emotionally; I like the psychology of music so to speak.
I consider you a creative soul, was this creativity something you had to nurture or was it something that came natural to you?
Definitely came natural to me. I used to neglect it and not give it much attention when I was younger because everything came to me so easy. I thought that everyone could do the things that I did.
It took a long time to realize that not everyone was equipped to do the things I could do. But with anything it has to be nurtured in order for you to master it and ascend higher.
"To whom much is given, much is expected." So I have to wear many hats and work very hard.
How hard is it to have an impact in Hip-Hop today?
Everyone is doing it right now. Its like the fastest growing DIY phenomenon, its ridiculous really. Basically, its like hitting the Lotto right now.
Talent has nothing to do with notoriety today. Nothing. There is no system in place to weed out the fake, the weak,the lame etc.
Back in the day, you had to earn your stripes man to man, or show and prove your worth. Today, your worth is determined by how many people viewed your "spoof" or home video tippy-tap-toe dancing' nonsense on Youtube.
We have all these artificial portals where people can become who they want and do what they want with no system of balance in place to say, "you know what..? you're quite lacking in skill...you belong much lower on the totem. Fall back! Let the pros do this."
There are so many talented cats out there, and some, the world will never hear of. Like Jadakiss said, "Why is there a cat upstate better than Jordan that aint get that break?"
Big Up to Kanye, but there are so many other Kanye's that wont see the level of success that he has. So, I say its very difficult to make an impact, and even harder to have a lasting impact since there is so many biters too.
Do you want to be seen as a role model?
Yes I do, but more than a role model, Im much more interested in being an inspiration.
I get much more from the feeling of being an inspiration to someone to see or find the good in themselves in all of their uniqueness, than to aspire to be ME! No man is perfect or without flaw, but yes, I am comfortable with carrying that load.
If you are a responsible and accountable individual, why wouldnt you want to be a role model. I have always stood alone and never followed and I am happy because of that.
These kids today need role models. Right now their role models are BET, name any magazine, and people in their hood whom they consider to have it going on.
How about 20 Million a film..thats what you call having it going on. I am talking about Will Smith. As Fresh Prince, some say he was corny, but he ALWAYS stayed true to himself.
So for me, he is a role model for me. Plus I have two boys myself. So I have no choice but to take on the role model hat throughout the rest of my life.
Give us some insight as to what you are working with when it comes to your new album.
The album is coming together beautifully. I'm in the zone and riding the wave. The songs really write themselves.
My faith in the creative source, the infinite intelligence makes the process easy. Whatever you want to call God, thats who I make room for when Im creating. It's so easy the way the songs come from me making the beat to writing to recording.
There is only one song out of say like 30+ songs that I have been sitting on. Only like 5 people heard it, because the song is such a hit, but so strange that i cant give it until its time.
But otherwise, I make them and share them with my people. Not to like it or dislike it...but just to share. I dont care who likes it, because I'm sure that there are millions of people out there on my vibe and level that would relate immediately, we just have to find each other. Beat wise, its very diverse. Some hard street records on which I always narrate my street tales of consequence, deceit, decision making etc. Then there are the life tracks where I kick it about life and what we should get out of it.
Then the straight spitting tracks, where no one can touch me lyrically, ya know..talkin trash. Then, lately there have been the future sounding joints.
Synths, ill bass lines and Clavinets and ugly tech drums. Its rounded and yet, still cohesively Edreys!
What will, in your estimation, make this album a success?
The one success is getting it out of my head and out of the studio.
One must understand the industry and I'm talking more than just the business, what's hot, fashion etc. I'm talking about, as a hip-hop addict, someone invested in and understands the foundation of hip hop...you must understand that part of it.
Its like a farmer must be able to read the clouds, the stars, the animals, the bugs and the seasons in order for him/her to know when to plant seeds, what he'll be able to yield from what crop etc.
One must be sensitive to the pulse of music. I have my finger on the pulse of music! I know there is always a season for everything, so to answer your question, I'm going to hit an artery...and its going to bleed, heavily.
It will be beyond anything I could estimate. So, minimally in success, nothing less than worldwide acclaim, longevity, inspiration and impacting lives.
Do you as a lyricist feel that you are being betrayed by Hip-hop with the more corporate route it is taking today?
Honestly, I dont take any of whats going on too personally. And every man and woman must be honest about the situation.
We speak of integrity and morals and such, but if an underground artist was offered the advances, the success, the boom, the exposure of some of the cats I wont bother to name...Cmon, the meal on the table may start smelling real good if your plate at home got dust and leftovers on it. So I understand the game.
I know why these cats do what they do and that its a job at the end of the day, but personally, I want to do things my way and not compromise the standard of my music.
Like if a label told me to make a song, a hot song about how dope the sandals on my feet are and make a dance up called the Spongebob,,,I guess I'll be starving...I couldnt do it...But like I said, I understand.
What is your first memory of hip-hop?
First memory of Hip-Hop, as cliché as it may seem was hearing Sugar Hill. My parents werent really up on the emerging sound of hip hop, but I remember the song coming on the radio, and I was like WOW! I gotta have that record.
My mom bought that record and the hair brush was in my hand and I was rapping in the mirror ever since.
Do you see the music as more influential than people ever envisioned?
If you are talking about Hip Hop, the answer is yes. The fact that it once was just this thing that pretty much was popular in NY, and now it translates to people around the world that dont even speak English, but they love the music...thats huge.
Also, the fact that large corporations McDonalds, Apple, Gap etc are using hip hop to do the talking for them...cmon, who would a thought.
People never looked to rock stars and even punk stars as role models why is it that the world appears to turn to Hip-Hop icons as role models and is quick to condemn them when they act the fool?
Rock stars glamorized death and darkness, and the drug high life, which def influenced generations of white kids, but black kids werent affected much, now hip hop glamorizes fortune, violence, sex etc and its just so much more attractive to the masses.
It's not just the black kids, its the Asian, the white, Hispanic etc. The influence is so much more broad, and impacting, so once its starts hitting other demographics other than black, then I think the red flags go up, like oh..this is an issue.
Then the rappers become responsible for every childs behavior. Thats the best way I can explain it really.
Does this make your job harder today as an MC?
No. Makes me think further outside the box. What way can I say things intelligence and still have the sound that they are comfortable with so they can digest it. I like the challenge.
FemaleFirst Melanie Cornish