Hip Hop is, in my opinion, the most truthful art form of poetic justice. It can either hit you with the narratives that flash you to personal memories, or take you to a moment that captures others' lives. It is a beat and a rhythm that embodies the history of jazz, funk, R&B, and rock and roll. It has been a scene that has grown to shoe deals, clothing lines, and even sports drinks. Our era has seen the jump from days of B.I.G. and 2-Pac street raps, to Kanye and Drake's global domination. We see those in the lime light so often that it's nice to be humbled to the truth of hip hop. It is a struggle just like any other art form. IE-z has passed struggle and is now on the uprise that will set him apart from those who are working towards their dream to someone who embodies success. But don't let the success fool you. Dude has been on the scene for a while and has a lot to share. We skimmed the surface with a short Q&A in this month's CUL-DE-SAC interview.
Be sure to check out IE-z soundcloud for his latest projects.
And Click here to see his latest video 'Gone 4 The Summer'
Where are you from, what is your background?
I'm from Inland Empire, San Bernardino county, California. I grew up in Fontana, California / Rialto, California. Most of my family is from San Bernardino. As far as my background, I’m a hustler first; artist, engineer, and producer second. (editor’s note: that’s four things.)
You are a stage artist. Tell us a little about how you got started, what made you want to pursue hip hop?
I started rhyming when I was around 12 years old and in middle school. Though I grew up on the west coast, the east coast influenced me a lot. I listened to a lot of Jadakiss, Nas, Beanie Sigel, Jay Z, Common, Dipset, Big L, Big Pun, The Notorious B.I.G., and Cassidy. I also grew up watching all of the ‘Smack DVDs’ and battles. My dad always had me listening to Tupac and old school funk. My parents have been separated since I was two or three years old, so I lived with my mother and her side of the family out in Colton, California until I was about nine. My uncles would always sing around the house or play the piano and I'd always watch and try to play or sing along with them. I think that's where I get a lot of my melodies from, whenever I do use my voice (my new record, for example “Don't Change”).
Your work seems to have a vision on self-preservation. What influences your writing?
I don’t write, and I think that's very important for the way I choose to create my music. I'm applying the current thought/emotion/feeling to whatever beat I might get on at that time and moment, which makes the music better, in my opinion. I do everything myself as far as recording, mixing and coming up with content. I think that has always made me independent, to the point of not having to rely on anyone else to do anything for me. Being self-sufficient as much as possible, and keeping things consistent, seem to be key.
What is your process to create music?
Think/eat/sleep/water (very important). Live life and see the world for what it is. Let things, people, and memories inspire you to create.
You use an assortment of beats; how does pop culture influence you as an artist?
I don't really listen to the radio, so I think the only thing I get out of pop culture is how music changes, and being able to adapt with it - but at the same time remain myself. I am usually the guy who gets an album and likes the song that isn't the lead single, or the song everybody sleeps on (or doesn't understand, for example Kanye West’s albums are full of gems that people bite off and don't realize till this day). I fell in love with southern/trap music in 2004. That was around the time my father was sentenced for selling dope. Shortly after that happened I started selling drugs, so most of that music was relatable (Tha Carter I-II, Da Drought 1, 2 and 3 aka mixtape Wayne days).
What has been the most difficult part of being an artist?
Trusting people. Not having enough time to do everything yourself. While you’re mixing/producing you could be using that time to create something else or be inspired. Not getting the beats you want or deserve to be on. Dealing with other artists.
For any young artists who are working to be a hip hop artist, what would you say to them that may help their journey.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND HAVE FAITH IN GOD ... No matter what - and never, I repeat never, lose your passion and love for whatever it is you do. Remain humble and thankful for even the little things.
What are a few things that get you going besides music? What are some other passions?
Taking care of my son. Spending time with family always keeps me in good spirits. Working out in the gym gets me going (shout out 24 HR in Upland, California).
In one word what does community mean to you?