Now the youngest artist signed to Audiodose Records, Esai stepped foot inside the studio at age 15, with more skill and wisdom than most emcees twice his age. Now at 17 years old, he brings an undoubtedly youthful energy to the booth, while maintaining a genuine respect for traditional hip hop culture. Born in Texas but raised in Seattle, Esai was influenced, like many other artists in the rainy city, by conscious rap. Nas, Biggie, Tupac, and Wu-Tang spoke to and influenced Esai from an early age. Growing up with a father who listened to everything from country to blues gave rise to a wide range of influences and enthusiasm when it came to music. After receiving his first boombox at the age of 6, however, the game changed. It was hip hop from then on.
In fourth grade, Esai transferred his creative energy to pen and pad. His more contemporary influences include Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, and his lyrics and writing style mirror a perfect union between the two emcees. He successfully pairs smart, thoughtful, and passionate lyrics with the dark truth about youth in today’s society. Like most artists his age, police brutality and street violence weigh heavy on his mind and strongly impact his writing. With a tongue-twisting cadence, a powerful message, and a marriage between old-school boom bap and bass heavy bangers, it’s easy to see why Esai’s music is taking hold with both young and older hip hop heads alike.
In 2014, Esai released his first group project, a mixtape with his crew entitled MunkBizz. In 2016, at the age of 16, he completed his second mixtape, Pugnacious, released on Audiodose Records. Since then he’s dropped 3 LPs (Before I Sleep, The Ascension, and his latest – Esai [self-titled]), as well as two other mixtapes (Third Planet From Earth and ’97). He’s also collaborated on a second MunkBizz mixtape (Planet of the Apes – Audiodose 2016), and his group project Freekingz (with Rell Be Free), entitled Power Inverse.
Esai is on his way to becoming a mainstay in the local hip hop community. More performances are on the horizon for the young up-and-comer, and ultimately his goals are to continue to grind; learning how to produce, tackling another group project, and in the long-run making a living off of his art. A true testament to his genuineness and dedication is his desire to pay homage to other artists who came before him. To always respect the knowledge he’s been given. To recognize and honor the climate in which hip hop was conceived. Most importantly, to dissuade his generation and other young artists from the ignorance and negativity that permeates most hip hop nowadays.
Esai’s passion for truth stems from his interest in science and spirituality, and in turn, his rejection of religion and superstition. He doesn’t believe in one god, but rather subscribes to a more logical and reason-based belief system – a path that more and more young people are following. Although Esai’s music is laced with heavy doses of reality, his youth and sense of humor keep it light and palatable. In the future Esai wants to explore other genres and try his hand at singing, which will open more doors for his creative expression and growth. This, in addition to his exceptional skill as an emcee, is bound to keep him on the path to becoming a musical linchpin here in the Pacific Northwest.
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