So, last weekend I gave you all a behind-the-scenes look at JusListen’s Listening Session, an exclusive event showcasing some of New York‘s best rising MCs. The event took place in NYC’s Meatpacking District and I got a special invitation to come and cover the event. I started off with Mike Jaggerr, a Brooklyn-based MC that’s been making major moves. Next, I got to hang out with Eric Sosa, a Spanish rapper straight out of Queens with a dope style and an awesome sound. The 23-year old has been going heavy in the world of music since he was little and all of his hard work is paying off. Also, he’s gotten featured on tons of blogs and online publications, modeled for a fashion lookbook or two, and dominated MTV2′s Sucka Free Freestyle Competition. If you somehow haven’t gotten to know him yet, check out what he had to share with me when I sat down with him and his band backstage.
[A TNN Exclusive: 7 Questions with Eric Sosa]
1. So, you got into music at the age of six and released your first mixtape in 2007. What all were you involved in, musically speaking, between that time (from the age of 6 to 2007) to get to the point of releasing Let the Pete Rock?
I started playing percussion at an early age, from like 2 or 3 years old. Around 6 is when I joined a marching band and I was lead snare. It was for a church. We were all extremely young, from like 6 to 12 years old. I played in the marching band for a good amount of time, for a couple of years before I actually dabbled into hip-hop around the age of 10 or 11.
And so from that point, you just started working on your tape?
Well, not right away. When I first started writing, I was just doing that: writing. I didn’t know format, 16 bars, verses, or 8 bar hooks, I didn’t know any of that, so I’d just be writing really long verses, you know, which a lot of kats call freestyles, up until the point that I got an opportunity to go into the studio for the first time and really start to see how you put songs together and structure and format and all of that.
2. As a Spanish rapper, what’s it like working in an area of music that’s predominantly black? And other than that, what makes you different from other artists?
*laughs* [A member of his band says, “He is black!”] I don’t even look at it like that. I don’t even look at it like, “oh, it’s majority black.” I don’t think we can put color on music… at all. It has no color, it has no features, it’s all one big thing. We’re all a part of it. I know what you’re saying though. I guess you could say I’m like the 4th Hispanic rapper that’s doing something or trying to do something. I think that alone makes me stand out. It’s like, “Oh this kat’s Spanish, let me hear something.” And then after that it’s like the point that I don’t have a style, like I pride myself on not having a style. Like, I do hip-hop, that’s the genre, but I do a whole bunch of different styles of hip-hop. So i think that helps me stand out.
3. You’ve worked with and alongside a lot of good rising and established artists, like LA, Cy-Hi, and Pusha T. You’ve been featured on a number of blogs, done shoots for brands, been covered by big media brands like MTV2, Essence, and Time, and the list of accomplishments go on. Do you stay connected with these artists and brands once the original interview, shoot, or collaboration is over with? How important are these relationships to your career?
Well, yeah, that’s the idea. I’m not saying that always happens though. A lot of times you lose contact or you’ll do something with somebody and, let’s say I open up for somebody and I don’t get the opportunity to get their contact for whatever reason, I mean that’s happened a couple of times, but the idea is always push to get the contact and keep in contact with people we’re looking forward to working with or even if it’s just a friendly relationship. Just to build with the person because they’re so down to earth and they’re such a real person. You wanna keep those people around you in an industry like this. You wanna try to keep real kats around you, so, yeah, the idea is to network and build relationships and that’s just how you grow.
4. You make a lot of moves. It seems like you stay pretty busy. How much time do you get for yourself and what do you do in that time?
*laughs* I don’t really have much time to myself cuz I’m either doing music, working a very part-time job, or I’m with my 4-year old daughter, so if it’s not one of the three, I’m sleeping. I don’t really do anything else. Once in a while I get the opportunity to chill with my friends for a couple of hours or do things like that, hang out with my daughter, take her to the park or whatever, but other than that, it’s really just [go hard now with the music], with pushing for that. We’re tryna get a couple things accomplished and we know without hard work it’s not going to happen.
You mean like attire? I have no idea. I just… I like these socks. *shows me his pair of orange socks, which you can see to the left*. I don’t know, I just do whatever. Whatever I think is hot. I had some cigarette socks on yesterday.
What are cigarette socks?
It sounds funny when you say it like that. Cigarette socks. They’re just socks that look like cigarettes. Like a big cigarette. Yeah, just being myself. Putting together whatever I think is hot. Once in a while I bring my stylist Yannique in to help me out. Other than that, I just throw whatever on.
6. Clearly, your brand has reached a higher level than a lot of other unsigned artists. What do you want people to think of when they hear the name [Eric Sosa]?
Thank you, first of all. I wanna… *thinks carefully about the answer* When they hear my name, I want them to get excited. I want them to anticipate something hot, like something ill is about to go down.Whether I’m throwing an event, whether it’s my birthday party, whether I”m performing in the studio, or I’m U-Streaming, whenever they hear Eric Sosa, I want them to get excited, you know what I’m saying? Like, yo, I wanna see what’s going on. I wanna tune into whatever the f**k he’s doing. Definition of the brand? I wanna say the next Hispanic artist that actually takes it all the way or takes it where all the greats took it to, whether it be Jay or Nas. I wanna be the first Hispanic artist to take it to that level.
7. What’s next for Eric Sosa?
Well, we took some time off from performing and now we’re getting back into it. We’re trying to do new venues and stuff like that. Venues we haven’t done before. Work and perform with artists we haven’t performed with or worked with before. And we’re gonna get back in the studio. We’re gonna release a lot of visuals for the Rhyme & Noodles: Vol. 2 project that came out in January. Yeah, we just took a couple months off to get everything together, get all the paperwork done and really just have everything ready before we come back and drop the bomb on ‘em.
To keep up with Eric Sosa, check out the following links:
And be sure to get your free copy of Rhyme & Noodles: Vol. 2 here.