It’s no secret that artists these days are doing it for themselves. Between indie mixtapes, Myspace spins and blogger recognition, there is no real need for a deal these days. Just ask Harlem rapper, Esso. He’s been in this game for almost seven years and his work ethic is unmatched–giving us seven full projects to see the scope of who this man is. Back in ’04, it was his networking skills, while working in college radio, that got him shaking hands with the right people. Esso started performing any and everywhere they’d let him wrap his fingers around a mic. He’s been seen and heard by the likes of MTV, BET, The Source, YRB, and AllHipHop.com, just to name a few of his many credits. Esso is the epitome of a grind that just won’t quit. He’s proof positive that hard work pays off. The AntiSocialite himself sat down the Chronic to chat about his current projects, the work he’s put in and why you need to support your favorite artists.
What’s been going on in Esso’s world?
I signed a licensing contract to start being able to push things to TV and film–like video games. That just started. The “New York, New York” video just debuted on MTV. That was pretty big. It’s the first video we shot from The Antisocialite. We’re getting ready to shoot the second one. I just did an interview with MTV for this thing called the Hot Seat. I don’t know when that is going up. Besides that, I’ve just been continuing to push the project. I’m recording–not for anything in particular–just to keep myself doing music while I am promoting the project that’s out now. That’s been good too.
What project do you have out right now?
Ok and that’s a mixtape or album?
It’s somewhere in between the two. A majority of it is original music. I don’t want to call it an album until I’m selling it. You can call it a mixtape. That can mean pretty much anything in this game. The AntiSocialite came out about a month ago. It’s kind of like what I envision my music to be–my own sound and creation. Everything that has come along in the last year and a half feels that much better because I know we did it ourselves.
What type of work do you have to do as an independent artist?
Everything. You get to a point where you start to be able to have a team around you that takes some of the weight off of you. I think most of the successful independent artists are those who know every single aspect of what it takes to make whatever it is that they’re pushing successful. Then you get to a point where you find people [that] you can delegate some of those things to. If it really came down to it, I have to be able to know what each person that is working with me is doing so I know what they’re doing is getting done right or if I need to step in a little bit more. Because it’s our company–even though I’m the artist–I play an executive role.
What are you bringing to hip hop that hasn’t been heard already?
It’s so hard to be from New York right now because so much of the success is not happening here. New York isn’t really used to that. I’m not saying that in a whining way; I’m just stating the facts of what it is. Every other region aside from us is winning. I approach it differently. A lot of New York artists thrive off the history of New York and what we’ve done. I want to be someone that creates what we can do. I think there are some people doing that–people like Theophilus London, Mickey Factz–thinking a little more forward. I think that’s something I bring to it. If you listen to The AntiSocialite, it gives you the same feeling of all of those songs and memories of what New York was, but I wanted to create that same feeling without it sounding exactly the same. I want to be innovation. Let’s not be afraid to do some things that might be risky. Low risk, low reward. I could be either incredible wrong or incredibly right; I just have to have enough faith in myself to know I’m incredibly right.
What can we hear on The AntiSocialite that fans haven’t heard you bring on your previous work?
**to read Esso’s response and the full interview, click here**