Era Wadi, an independent hip-hop artist & songwriter based in Austin Texas, but was born & raised in the south of Texas, early musical inspirations included the soul and rock groups of the ’60s and 70’s. Wadi is determined to put Austin on the map as a serious hip hop scene and make the most of living in the live music capital of the world.
Era Wadi released his single titled “Pay to Play” and this record gets me HYPE! The zesty energy and groovy rap beat created the perfect mainstream hit. “Pay to Play” would do extremely well at local parties and clubs. The production and arrangement of the record radiate the right type of vibrancy into the listener body, which evokes us to dance. The rhythmic and deftly-produced track refines the definition of ‘club bangers.’ the eclectic aesthetic and addicting bars become memorable for us. If i was the head of a record label, and Era Wadi walked in and played that song for me, no doubt in my mind would I sign him? It’s presentable, hip, and fashionably catered to the current generation of hip-hop. Although “Pay To Play” could be a great mainstream hit today, it’s also highly classic with the raw lyricism that serves the idea of skilled songwriting. “Pay To Play” is a fitting hit for the colorful rap culture that’s exuding urban swag and joy.
Listen to "Pay To Play" here and keep scrolling for our interview with Era Wadi!
Hey there Era Wadi! Between the different locations in Texas, which has been your favorite so far, and essentially impacted your artistry today?
Living in Texas is like living in another country sometimes, coming up my family moved all over South Texas. Before the age of 14 we had moved over a dozen times, of course friendships didn’t last because we wouldn’t stay in the same place longer than a year. The silver lining to that is that I had no choice but to get along with everyone, all people, all backgrounds, all mindsets. At 19 after graduating I moved to Austin, the eclectic vibe of the city the energy that you can feel through the pavement was enough to finally push me to pursue hip hop fully which from the jump was where I knew I had a talent. The scene in Austin for hip hop has not bubbled to the surface yet despite Austin’s tile of “The Live Music Capitol of the World” Hip Hop is sadly the ugly step-kid. My drive is to change that shit, and establish a sound of the city so when you think of Austin Hip Hop your next thought is Era Wadi, the next thought is their sound is dope.
What has been the most monumental occurrence in your career so far and why!?
There have been a few. I was found on Reddit of all places by an award winning Danish Producer, Hedegaard who heard an early cut of one of my songs I posted to the r/making hip-hop subreddit. He was a big fan amazingly, and wanted to sample my voice to use in making his music for his drops and hooks and that type of shit. After sending him a rough idea he said “fuck it” let’s make a whole song. New World Old Money was released on Copenhagen Records through Universal in April. That led to another collaboration with him and another with a fellow Producer, that has been and continues to be a pretty monumental occurrence. Since then I have released my first EP Layoff Season, and that has also been an amazing experience. There's been tons of learning along the way, massive growth and humbling moments all preparing me for what’s to come.
Tell us about this dope record “Pay to Play”. What was the vision behind it?
The Inspiration for Pay to Play was the somehow recent realization by we the people that those with means are living a different reality than you and I. Again and again I see and hear stories of powerful and wealthy individuals committing appalling acts, highly illegal shit that would land a normal motherfucker in jail so long his kids only see him through glass, and his grand kids would only know his name. The moral is nothing is impossible the same way that everything is for sale for the right price, I think as people we need to ask what the fucks our value? And question if anyone on earth is worth millions or even billions by comparison, especially those who were simply born to be rich.
Was there a specific lyric arrangement you were seeking while writing “Pay to Play”?
I would say this song along with all the music on Layoff Season is meant to make you dance and then make you think. What that means is there is depth to this song and my music, there are stories and thought provoking lines mixed into a song you can still listen to and bump. I want you to listen to my shit and it have you think about the world, without me standing on a soap box or the listener feeling preached to. I want to show the audience the world through my mind and I believe that there are solutions to our problems. There are good days, there are shit days, but we can change our reality. If it’s not meant to be me, then my music will be the soundtrack.
What’s next for you Era?
Honestly I am just getting started, my sound is just finding its legs, but it's a Shaq-like toddler. Meaning greatness is in the future but work and growth are present. A full length album, my first music video literally made in house, building a larger fan base and touring off the strength of that fandom. I’m sure there are things in the future that I can’t predict, but I am prepared. Everything is next, I have open arms to anyone and anything that wants some.
Keep up with Era Wadi on social