Ethio Boy's Hip-Hop creations feature the profound ideologies, principles, and ethos he keeps as a result of his life encounters. With a musical talent that stands showcasing a sort of understanding through his lyricism that extends beyond his eon.
The Minneapolis-raised Emcee has seen the limelight of artistic brilliance from an early age. As his craft simmered and reduced over the last decade, Ethio Boy has finally manifested into his now overwhelmingly flavourful musical palette reminiscent of the Hip-Hop golden age of the '90s. This year, with his first Debut single for 2020, "Second Class," he continues this trend and divulges descriptive sentiments about social injustice with his effortless poet-like Hip-Hop Emcee flow.
It's a mid-tempo endeavor that finds cohesiveness through transitions from fervent and captivating stanzas that dissolve into a hook for the chorus that leaves behind an afterglow for days. The production incorporates more traditional sampling from the acoustic elements of industrial sounding drums, world-music percussion, and succulent horns' delicate inlays. Here, Ethio Boy treads over his intrinsically laid out and tasteful production with a steadfast measure, never stopping for an over-extended period of time to catch his breath. He focuses on the misrepresentation of his culture in society and the inherently glaring inequality he feels as an Ethiopian-American with his lyrics for this profound but grooving track resonating when he says the line, "we just want equality." It's a song carrying deep-felt sentiments, and that provokes an introspective look into our society.
How do you feel your time working and performing out of state for the last decade has helped your development as an artist?
It all started in 2007 when I left to audition for Apollo Theater in Harlem, NYC self-funded and made the show. Ever since I’ve traveled to all the coasts & over 15 states in the hope to expand. performing away from home has built my confidence by putting me in an unfamiliar environment where I can touch strangers feelings, spread my art to new crowds which advances a natural showmanship I’ve had dating back to school talent shows in grade school leading me to perform in front of ones in my state, who might not know me as personally but have a perspective of me that re-curates and broadens each performance.
What were the defining messages or sentiments you tried to highlight on this track?
I wanted anyone who felt second class, overlooked to gain a sense of empowerment from this song. Wanted to give Immigrants, citizens, people of all class or race who can relate hope that we are kings & queens in our own rights no matter where you started it’s where you finish but never lose pride of your roots, your identity make up can never be stripped, you gotta learn to embrace all that comes with how your difference is challenged. I’m Ethiopian First, so I wanted to showcase history, royalty & diversity of culture outside mine that are a part of this melting pot of differences in America.
Did you feel like it was a critical time to release "Second Class," amongst the unjust climate that has been stressed through Police brutality recently?
It’s always a good time for good music, especially when there’s content to it and a message. I recorded the song mid-2019 but I view myself as a universal artist, I want people to listen 5-10 years after and still find a relation to the current in a timeless fashion. As we can all see, racism, police brutality, systematic oppression, economic disparities are a heavy burden to the lackluster image we portray our country to have, my job as an artist and a leader is to use my voice & share my experience even if it isn’t politically correct.
What has been fueling your creative energy this past year with the steady flow of releases reaching us from your musical catalog's growing depths?
I remember in 2012 I released an all samples hip-hop album which I printed 100 copies of and sold in Texas for Esfna and in Minnesota but never did a press run for it or officially Online. I created an environment at home where I could self-record and seek custom production and audio engineering. For years I had stopped recording because all the studios, all the performances, all the music I didn’t feel like I was receiving my due diligence. I fought for this at home and among my peers, it wasn’t easy but when you love something you’ll sacrifice for the sake of. I dropped some songs to lead into the album from 2019 to now and I have a lot more where that came from.
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
The failures, all the no’s, rejection, broken promises defined my purpose. I’ve been on a mission to make this happen for 13 years, this album is only the beginning and I can’t wait to refresh the music realm with the album ‘Closet Castaway.’ I’m happy to be alive, blessed to have a talent, I refuse to compress with the times because I owe myself, my family, my supporters. My destination is one of longevity, our vision can be fogged, but you’ve got to switch your lens and reformat. In times of isolation, I learned things about myself most, refusing to let hard times define me keeps me pushing.