E Major
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E Major

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF
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"Okayplayer.com"

It's like Q-Tip said, "You can be white and cool but don't crack the roll." Most of Majority Rules unfolds like Premo produced a solo album for Prime Minister Pete Nice. And yeah, that means it's tight. E Major sounds like he'd be right at home dipped low in a leather office chair speaking real words out the side of his mouth waving a cane in one hand with a cigar gripped tight in the other. The brother from Baltimore rocks a healthy swagger without coming off as an asshole, check the lead single and video "Nuthin' Nice" (feat. Hezekiah) for evidence.

Overall, E Major's nonchalance blends perfectly into the textured beats Majority Rules is blessed with. Hints of jazzy Tribe and moody Bootcamp sneak into the mix but it's a soulful cohesiveness that bonds the album like Stucco. E's flow, laid back but memorable, DL but dope, floats nicely atop the classic snap of "The Next Episode" and the hand drum sampling, up jumps the boogie jam "Know That." "Seasons Change" is the sentimental jawn of the bunch but the sinister piano stabs and dirty drums of "We Got It Goin' On" provide requisite balance. And again, just because dude can groove with his production doesn't mean his lines don't bite. E Major is still "out for scratch like cat fights."

At the end of the night, I don't know if the Under Sound Music CEO / premiere artist is really shattering any establishments. This is good old soulful northeastern hip-hop with attitude. Playing the devil's av', E Major jabs, "He's old school, his style's irrelevant / Oh, he's a backpacker cuz his lack of melanin." But color doesn't have anything to do with it. Plain and simple, this is one of the better bread and butter rap records I've heard in a minute.



- Jeff Artist - Okayplayer


"Top 3 Albums of 2008"

3 E Major, Majority Rules (Under Sound Music)

The rapper formerly known as Eyekon broke in a new stage name on his second album, but more importantly, he found his niche. Not quite a hipster sneaker pimp, or a humorless conscious MC, E Major has struck upon a fertile middle ground that allows him to display both playful rhymes and a nostalgic streak in equal measure, grabbing hooks from A Tribe Called Quest and Baltimore club legend Miss Tony over lush soul-sampling beats. And before things start to feel just a little too slick and melodic, he hits you upside the head with the blunt piano loops and boom bap beats of "We Got It Going On." (AS) - City Paper


""Majority Rules" Review"

Despite its many puns on "major," independence pervades Majority Rules. E Major's album--available on CD and free download on his MySpace--succeeds because it's an uncompromised 17-track drive through the rapper's life. This is more than enough, now that even your favorite rapper's favorite rapper drops a major-label mess of crossover attempts and corporate accord.

Early tracks invoke everyman realities, such as tension between paying rent and pursuing a dream: "I hope you're listenin', y'all, because if not/ it's back to 40 hours a week punching the clock" (from "Magnificent Pt. 0"). "Next Episode" charts an adolescence bouncing between Baltimore and California, and tosses in some wistful rap-nerd references--"me and my homies recited lines from Black Moon"--atop taut boom-bap by DJ Face with scratches from BMore Original's DJ Excel. E further explores the porous borders of Baltimore club and traditional hip-hop on "How You Wanna Carry It," a song that grabs its hook from Miss Tony's classic "What's Up What's Up".

As the album moves along, E Major perseveres, so when the Excel-produced "Don't Worry"--the "I'm finally making it" song--explodes, it's earned. The rewards are there, but they're simple stuff like Nike Dunks only available in Japan, and the joy is still tempered by a final verse for a friend who passed before E's rap shit kinda popped off. It has what every track on Majority Rules has: a proper mix of swagger and sincerity--as E says on "A Fresh Start," "present my sentiment without being too sentimental"--atop remarkably consistent soul beats. - City Paper


"Fanatic of the B-Word"

Last Friday was a chilly, noisy night in East Baltimore, as local knuckleheads set off fireworks in the vicinity of Johns Hopkins Hospital, perhaps excited about the arrival of Preakness weekend. But inside nearby hip-hop hot spot the New Turntable Club, it was as warm and friendly as ever, the kind of atmosphere you only get when half the people in the room appear to know each other.


Ab-Rock, the Style Warz alumnus whose stage presence was surprisingly laid-back for a battle-rap champ, kicked off the night with tracks from his album The Mid-Midlife Crisis. And in a bit of crate-digging synchronicity, Ab-Rock's "The 1ne" featured a sample of Denise Williams' cornball R&B classic "Silly," as did "Making a Fool" by the next performer, UnReal. Considering that the bill skewed toward the true-school, proudly underground hip-hop fan, UnReal might have misjudged his audience by opening his set with freestyles over jiggy radio hits such as "This Is Why I'm Hot" and "Money in the Bank." But once he turned to grittier original material like "Baltimore State of Mind," the crowd got behind his flashy, swaggering stage presence.


But both rappers--however good they were--should be happy they performed before Sean Toure. Having known of Toure primarily for his beatmaking skills, as displayed live on the air during WEAA 88.9's Strictly Hip-Hop show, the audience was a little caught off-guard by his considerable skills as an MC as well as his onstage magnetism. As soon as he made his way to the front of the room, he commanded the space effortlessly, making everyone stand up and throw their hands in the air, something that almost every rapper tries to do and few actually accomplish. Every time you start to think you’ve heard everything worth hearing in Baltimore rap, someone like Toure is there to knock you on your ass.


E Major, the rapper who was known as Eyekon until about a year ago, was up next after a brief turntablism break from the DJ. He set the energy level high with his first song, rapping over the beat from the Diplomats' "I Really Mean It" and putting extra emphasis on the line "I'm well-rounded/ Critics claimin' I'm a backpacker, it's unfounded." If City Paper had ears, they'd be burning. And considering that this was just a couple of days after Labtekwon aired his feelings about using the "backpacker" label as a pejorative in hip-hop, it might be time to retire another B-word from the genre’s vocabulary--word to Russell Simmons.


After four local MCs in a row, it was time for Baltimore to cede the stage to two touring acts as the night closed out. But neither Philly's Hezekiah nor Washington's Oddissee came from very far away, and the latter, a PG County native, still had Maryland unity on his side. Oddisee has produced tracks for DJ Jazzy Jeff and Wordsworth, but in the end it was his socially conscious rants about the gentrification spreading though his D.C. neighborhood, as well as the area around the Turntable Club, that hit home the most. You were even tempted to say that it was a pretty fun show--for a bunch of backpackers.

Posted by Al Shipley | 5/25/2007 - Baltimore City Paper


"Under Sound Music Presents... Breaking Ground Vol. 1"

I reviewed this compilation in the City Paper a couple weeks ago, and I was a little negative in my review, but I have to admit, that's due probably more to my distaste for a lot of backpacker rap than the quality of the product. There was some discussion of my review on the Elements Party message board, but the Under Sound folks took the criticism pretty well and at least appreciated the press and that I compared them to Rawkus. So it was good that they understood where I was coming from, because y'know, I respect everybody's grind, but I also have to be honest as a critic. And there are definitely some tracks on here that I liked. Check out the Under Sound website for more info.
- Government Names Blog Spot


"Major General Mixtape Review"

Eyekon decided earlier this year to change his name because I guess there was another rapper with a similiar handle or something, and this mixtape is his first release as E Major. His label, Undersound Music, released a compilation, Breaking Ground Vol 1 a few months ago, and although I was kinda negative in my review of it, it was mostly my bias against backpacker-type rap, and some of it has grown on me since then. This mixtape kinda shows him in a different light though, freestyling over some mainstream beats and doing some more aggressive material, but still sticking with his own style most of the time. If you to the Under Sound Music website there should be a pop-up you can click on to download the whole mixtape... - Government Names Blog Spot


Discography

"Both Sides of the Coin" Under Sound Music 2004
"Breaking Ground Vol. 1" Under Sound Music 2006
"M.E.C.C.A. Vol.1 War or Peace" Awnpoint Productions 2006
"The Under Ground Files Vol. 1" Bmore Original Records 2007
"The Major General Mixtape" Under Sound Music 2007
"Majority Rules" Under Sound Music 2008
"The Major Major Mixtape" Under Sound Music SPRING 2009

Photos

Bio

E MAJOR
www.myspace.com/emajorthegeneral
http://band.to/emajor/

Also known as Ian Mattingly, E Major has been a fan of hip-hop since he was a child. First becoming enchanted by early Run DMC videos, he was fascinated by what was at that time a relatively new and innovative style of music. Throughout his teens and young adult life hip-hop was always of interest and he wrote lyrics while attending a new but highly respected arts high school in his hometown of Baltimore. Though he was at the school for his talents in Visual Art, E Major excelled in English and wrote poems for class as well as Hip-Hop verses for his enjoyment while reciting verses from Blackmoon and Nas in hallway ciphers. After graduating from high school and spending time in L.A. during his first year of college, E Major returned to Baltimore to finish his education.

Fast forward to the present and E Major has since graduated from college, formed Under Sound Music, recorded 2 full length projects, and garnered much praise from local press and bloggers and hip hop aficionados across the Internet.

“There’s a lot of good music out right now,” he says, “but it’s not getting as much exposure as the music that they feed you on radio and on television. There’s especially a great movement coming out of Maryland and DC and I would love to be a part of that.” Having collaborated with underground artists including Wordsworth and Hezekiah, E Major plans on making his presence known as an artist as well as part owner of Baltimore’s premier underground label. His emphasis on content and stage presence makes him both relevant and entertaining.

His music is a blend of soul samples, boom-bap drums and lyrics that range from conscious to braggadocio to everyday life scenarios. “I love what I do and I think that shows through in my music and my live show,” exclaims E Major. “This music doesn’t always have to be about the same thing. There’s enough room to have all points of view and I’m just bringing mine to the table and speaking for a group of people that really exist.” Those people he says include the everyday guy that works 9 to 5 and people that graduated college and still scrape to get by. “Everyone always wants hip hop to be ‘real’ to the point of hyperbole. I’m giving myself over to the music. What you hear is really me, from front to back.”