Today we’d like to introduce you to Ethemadassassin.
Ethemadassassin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I first started out in this music thing wanting to be a dj. I thought the dj was the coolest dude onstage because I could see how he was in control of the crowd. Of course, dj equipment costs a lot of money and my mom couldn’t afford it. The next best thing (which was most affordable) was writing lyrics because pen and paper was much cheaper… So at 12 years old, I began putting my pen to the pad. I was raised in North Carolina (with a healthy dose of the wrong side of the tracks of New Jersey and Ohio in my background during my formative and teen years) during the crack epidemic, so my writing style and subject matter reflects those experiences. So, if you really want to know ME, just listen to my music. My whole life is in there. I know a lot of artists say that, but it’s real. I know a lot of artists say that too…LMAO!!!
I formed my first rap group in high school (Many Heads Of Knowledge), and formed another in my college years (Circle Of Steel) with some of the members from my high school crew and with some others I met in college. I began my solo career in 2004 shortly after Circle Of Steel parted ways.
Official bio: With ten albums, 2 EP’s, numerous international collaborations, and over 15 years in the music industry, Los Angeles (by way of North Carolina) emcee, Ethemadassassin, is the physical embodiment of dedication, perseverance, independent artistry, and hustle.
Debuting as a solo artist in 2004 with the album, “Proverbs,” E followed up with 2008’s, “Tomorrow Never Comes,” and 2013’s, “Soul On Fire,” all of which E executive produced. During those years, E formed the now-defunct group, Veteran Assassins, with North Carolina emcee, Veteran Eye, and co-executive produced and released the albums, “Veteran Assassins,” in 2010, “Paint The Town Red,” in 2012, and, “G.O.L.D.” in 2016. Each of these albums, along with 10 Top 10 charting singles on Rap Attack Lives and Rap Network charts (USA and Canada), numerous guest appearances, a video on MTVBase (“Walk My Shoes” off 2008’s, “Tomorrow Never Comes”), a video on Ralph McDaniels’ Video Music Box (“Lemme In,” off Veteran Assassins’ 2016 release, “G.O.L.D.”), and international festival appearances (New Skool Rules, Rotterdam NL, Hip Hop Sonic, Groningen NL, Midem, Cannes Fr, StreetKrush, Gronichem, NL) have garnered international recognition, acclaim, and praise and helped catapult Ethemadassassin into position as an underground stalwart with a towering stage presence with a lyrical ability to produce uber-vivid depictions of the realities of his way of life.
Ethemadassassin had an eventful 2018, dropping 2 EP’s, (“Motivations” with Luse Kanz, produced by THE WDSMN, “Bear Handz: Magmatic” produced by QuakeMobb) and his 4th solo album (“Bear Handz 2: Bear Market” produced by Nazar).
Ethemadassassin started 2019 off with a super bang, releasing his 5th solo album, “Bear Handz 3: Animal House,” produced by ShortFuZe with features from Celinski The Mayor, J.Bond (of Illpo), O.G. Bobby Ne’gro, Pisto Pop, Sneek Rothstein, and Luse Kanz.
In August, Ethemadassassin is releasing, “Chain Reaction,” a collaborative EP with Los Angeles producer/emcee Diar Lansky. Immediately following that release, E plans to follow “Bear Handz 3” with his next installment in the Bear Handz series, “Bear Handz 4: Gram Newton,” produced by Akthentik, and then the final installment, “Bear Handz 5: Grizzly Addm’s.” Also on the horizon is an EP produced by long-time friend and collaborator, Gav Beats, who recently produced the 2019 summer smash, “Black Men Don’t Cheat.”
Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. The hip hop industry is very cutthroat and is a constant money pit until an artist scores a “hit.” I’ve done a lot of “unsavory” things to be able to afford the costs of buying beats, paying for studio time, mixing, mastering, traveling, performing for “exposure,” attending conferences, pressing my own vinyl and distributing to dj’s all on my own, and shooting videos. I’ve never had a “sponsor” or even a fully dedicated manager. Everything I’ve accomplished musically has been off the strength of my own grind and network I created with no real handouts…in addition to handling everyday responsibilities of survival. I’ve been in positions where I had to choose whether I would pay certain bills on time or put that money towards music or promotion. I’ve lost a lot of friends either to the street, or the sacrifices I’ve had to make to continue to be an artist. I’ve been in this game a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of artists quit because the path seems to have no reward at the end of it if you’re not attempting to make “mainstream” music. There’s no real blueprint to becoming “successful” at this, so you have to really search within yourself to determine if this is all worth it. For me, it’s still worth it… I love this shit. Also, one of the biggest obstacles is getting my music to the masses in this digital age and getting people to do more than just “like” a social media post, but to actually LISTEN… With that being said, you can find all my music on any streaming platform of your choosing.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m an independent hip hop artist. I am my business. I’m known for spitting in-depth lyrics about street life and having odd, but honest views most street soldiers can relate to. I’m known for being extremely bar-heavy (punchlines, shock value, wordplay, and flow). I’m most proud of the fact that my journey has taken me to different countries to perform and work alongside international artists, all from being able to write songs that people like to hear over beats that bang (I’m also known to have a great ear for beats). What sets me apart from most is my focus. When I’m not out making the capital to invest in myself, I’m doing something musically…be it writing songs, picking beats, networking for my next show or media placement, setting up interviews, setting up video shoots, traveling internationally to network and perform, etc…I don’t socialize much like the average person. Everything I participate in outside of obtaining capital is music related. With that being said, you can find all my music on any streaming platform of your choosing.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I honestly see the industry on a downward spiral for the indie artist. Yes, this is the best time for an indie artist to be able to release music on his own, but it’s also the worst so far as pay. Ever since the invention of the streaming model, artists have really been on the short end of the stick so far as pay. First, it was record labels directly jerking artists with bad contracts. Once the medium went from physical (tapes and cd’s) to digital, the labels had to figure out a way to stay in the game and make money. So they partnered with the streaming services so they can still make a buck, but they took the same mentality of paying the artists the least and now all the streaming services pay fractions of pennies for thousands of spins.
So now, the game is for artists to get their music on streaming playlists, and the playlist curators know they are the new “it” thing, so a lot of them have taken the old “payola” model and the playlists cost money to get on…so the artist has to find another way to get paid for their craft…i see a lot of artists taking the next step, which is trying to get their music sync licensed for tv and movies and video games. That’s probably the next big step for indie artists, especially as music does not sell anymore. It’s definitely one of the routes I’m taking. With that being said, you can find all my music on any streaming platform of your choosing…(see a pattern here? LMAO!!!)
- Website: www.ethemadassassin.com