Esko
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Esko

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
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"Wordsmith Believes in Art of Rhyme"

http://www.urb.com/2010/04/15/sonicbids-selects-carolina-mc-esko/


From the moment Esko Robinson started writing to clear his mind, he was hooked. Soon he was performing for his friends and when he saw others around him succeeding, he decided to dedicate himself to a career in hip-hop. Between recording and starting a talent collective, Esko is on the hunt for the best words and hopes to drop rhymes old school style with some of the game’s most iconic names. He calls himself a “time traveler trapped in the universe of his own mind.” Meet Esko.

Name: Esko
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
File Under: Hip-Hop

URB: How did you get into music and where does your name come from?
ESKO ROBINSON: My earliest memory of hip-hop would be hearing Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M” on the stereo in my cousin’s room. That was the song that got me listening. I would freestyle with my friends, but I never really took it serious. At that time it was just something that I did for fun. About five years later, when I turned 15, I actually began writing my own songs. I had written poetry for a while but it was mostly just for school. One day I was bored and stressed out, so I grabbed a pen and pad… I wrote a song about random, funny things that came to my head to a beat I had heard on the radio. I felt better after I wrote it, so I wrote more. I started using songs to get my emotions out. When I finally performed them for my friends, they loved it. That was even more motivation to continue. I’ve been writing ever since. It wasn’t until my first year in college when I started seeing people my age make good progress in the music business. Before then, the words “celebrity” and “famous” were only used to describe people on TV that I would never meet. But to see people I had met, people I had talked to, people I had considered “regular” become celebrities… These people were living comfortably off money they earned from doing what they loved. They weren’t famous to me anymore, they were simply regular people that everybody knew, which assured me that I had just as much of a chance as anybody else. It was then that I decided to do everything in my power to make performing hip-hop my career.

Esko is my middle name. At 15 years old, my very first rap name was Lo Bujit since all my songs were about how broke I was. Eventually I changed my name to Kid Twisted. I think that was around my senior year in high school. That name was short lived. By the time I got to college, I was writing songs about my life and serious events, not just crazy punchlines that made people laugh. Some of the songs were still humorous because that’s just a part of my natural character. So I decided to just go by Esko. Most of my friends had been calling me by my middle name for years anyway, so it was the perfect fit.

You said you were into poetry. Can you talk about your lyrics?
I have read works from a few poets outside of the usual list we were forced to read in grade school, but honestly I don’t remember their names. I’m not exactly a frequent reader of poetry. I’d much rather hear poetry. I enjoy going to slams and hearing the poetry of my friends. The funny thing is, I prefer to hear poetry, but I’d rather my poetry be read. I often add depth to the poems I write by creating a message or meaning in the arrangement of the stanzas or the placement of certain words or letters within each stanza. I see conventional rhymes as the style and delivery that relies mostly on the last word of the line. There is no real symmetry between the first line and the second line. Also, with conventional rhymes, most of the time, the rhyme scheme is only two lines long, then it switches. For example: “My little bit of sanity is hard to maintain / I’m washin’ dishes with a water proof sponge in the rain / I can tell I got you scared just by the way that you look / Don’t expect a chorus cuz there ain’t no hook.” That’s from the first song I ever wrote. Notice there is no symmetry between any of the lines. The only thing that brings them together is the last word, and after two lines, the rhyme scheme changes. I consider my style to be unconventional because, at any moment, the rhyme scheme can go on for several lines… I take words very seriously and I think there should be a calculated arrangement of words and syllables in each line. Rhyming isn’t just talking over a beat with words that sound similar. It’s an art form that needs to be respected and handled responsibly if you’re going to do it.

What’s inspiring you lately?
Lately, my inspiration has come from traveling. Leaving the area that I’m used to and going to see new things and meet new people has been the primary source of my inspiration for the past year. I think I come up with most of my project and song ideas while traveling. I came up with the idea for The Floor Model EP walking through a neighborhood in Long Beach, California. I get a lot of inspiration from walking and just listening to the sounds around me. I’ll hear a bird chirp or a motorcycle speed by changing gears and the tone and pattern will trigger a new cadence in my head. Or just listening to my own thoughts while looking at everything around me. I also get inspiration from star gazing, anthropology, obscure music, and seeing artists of all kinds make progress.

Do you prefer live gigs to studio sessions? Why or why not?
It’s much more than a preference. I NEED live gigs. Performing is a spiritual event for me. It’s like another world. When I step onstage, nothing matters but the music. No matter what kind of problems I’ve been dealing with, no matter what kind of things are going wrong in life, performing makes it go away. The positive energy from the fans cancels out any negative energy I have in my life. It gives me a natural high that lasts for days. Being in the studio is a great feeling. Starting with just an idea, writing it down, and watching it take form as you record it and burn it to a CD. It’s a great experience, but it doesn’t come close to the great feeling I get from sharing the music with a crowd of people.

Who do you dream of performing or working with?
I would love to do a concept album with Portishead and Gnarls Barkley. I would also like to be in a cipher with Method Man, Sticky Fingaz, Busta Rhymes, Black Milk, Mos Def, Eminem, Elzhi, and Black Thought. No tickets, no guest list, just the nine of us in a circle dropping crazy dope rhymes surrounded by listeners. That’s real hip-hop right there.

Yea yea! Can you talk about The Tribe a little? Do you think the hip hop community tends to be more divisive than inclusive and willing to help each other?
The Tribe of 1100 Hunters began as a four person rap group I started with my friends. We got a few songs done and did a few shows but the group quickly fell apart and I started looking for new members. The science behind the name was that we operate as a tribe. Everybody has a job to do on their own, but there is still focus on the betterment of the tribe as a whole. We are like-minded individuals working together like a family. The number 1100 is the sum of the Roman numerals M and C. In the beginning, everyone involved was an MC. I chose the word “hunters” because long ago, hunting was for survival. We all wanted to be able to survive solely off of making music. We were hunters, hunting for progress.

There were others that weren’t MCs that wanted to be involved with The Tribe. That was when the current members, Michael DeParis and Dwayne Smith came onboard. It was at this point that The Tribe became more than just a rap group. As of now, we are a group that is designed to assist its members and affiliates with making progress towards the common goal of living off of our talents and what we enjoy doing. If one of us has access to an event or venue that can benefit someone within the tribe, we work together to get them involved in the project or event to gain exposure for as many people as possible. Between members and affiliates, talents within The Tribe include emcees, rock bands, producers, graphic designers, clothing companies, and photographers.

What can we expect on the new album coming this year?
The new album is going to be incredible. I know I’m a little biased on the subject, but I mean that. As with everything I write, this next album will be an audio description of what my life has been like since the last project. Each song is like a chapter in my life. I’ve been through a lot since the release of my first album in 2006—even since the release of the EP last December.

My skills have increased, I have access to better production, and better equipment thanks to The Tribe. My recording techniques and stage performance have also improved. It’s pretty much a given that I’ll have at least one song produced by Sean Lane, but I’m going to try to get him to drop a verse on a track or two. That may be a little difficult, but I’m going to try. There will be a few other collaborations, maybe four total.

Overall, I think the one thing the fans can expect from my next album is a sense of motivation. Although I’ve been through some rough times, lately I’m more motivated than ever to make this my career. I think that will be clear and hopefully it will rub off on the fans and motivate them to work hard to accomplish their goals. - URB.com


Discography

Behind The Shades (2006)
The Floor Model EP (2009)

The Floor Model EP is available on iTunes and Rhapsody. It has also been featured on KRS One's Temple Of Hip Hop "Shades Radio" and University of North Carolina-Greensboro's and NC State University's radio stations

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Bio

Esko is a fan of true hip hop as a culture. Raised in New Jersey, Esko discovered hip hop when he heard KRS One’s “Step Into A World” and Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M”. Raised in a single parent household, Esko took to the pad and pen at the age of 15 to cope with his daily struggle of poverty and stress. Making a buzz first as a poet, Esko describes himself as a Biographical emcee, creating music that reflects the events and emotions of his life and the lives of the people close to him. The good times, the bad times, and everything in between. Esko is known for his unorthodox lyrics, delivery, creative themes, and energetic stage performances. Driven by a charismatic love of life, Hip-Hop culture, and art, Esko loves to make music that documents his life and improves the lives of people with the same struggles. Influenced by emcees such as Method Man, Busta Rhymes, Onyx, Eminem, and Andre 3000, Esko's mission is to bring real hip hop back to the main stage.
His latest release "The Floor Model EP" is a collection of songs that display his range of delivery and ability to work with several different producers of different styles. The EP is meant to be a sort of appetizer for the fans awaiting his second album which is set for release in mid-2010. The song themes range from "Fire Lyrics", which is a no-holds-barred onslaught of rapid fire rhymes, to "The Prophecy", which is a metaphoric representation of the battle between corporate record labels and the Underground rap scene. The EP also includes "Sunny Afternoons", a song that humorously documents the struggle of trying to stay afloat financially. This project has been released on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, eMusic, Amazon MP3, and Myspace Music. The song "Why Do I" from the EP, has been featured on the #1 morning show in the region, G105.1FM's Bob and The Showgram. Music from The Floor Model EP has also been featured on KRS ONE's internet radio Shadesaradio.com, North Carolina State University's 88.1FM, and University of North Carolina in Greensboro's 103.1FM Esko was also featured on URB.com's "Sonicbids Selects" on April 15th.
Esko has performed in several cities in North Carolina, as well as Ft. Lauderdale Florida, and Long Beach California. He plans on using his current connections in the industry to work his way up to a level that will permit him to perform and tour over seas. Esko also manages The Tribe of 1100 Hunters, a collective of like-minded entrepenuers and artists dedicated to uplifting the community and helping eachother reach the common goal of making a living from their talents. The Tribe includes graphic designers, Independent clothing lines, producers, painters, musicians, and emcees, all operating as a family. www.eskobts.com