Exclusive Interview with Prince Ea: Making Smart Cool
Prince Ea, the man responsible for groundbreaking songs like “Smoking Weed With the President” and “The Brain”, joined Straight Fresh recently for an in depth conversation about his career, politics, the state of hip-hop and more. To check out the interview, as well as the exclusive a capella verse Prince Ea dropped for Straight Fresh, hit the cut.
Straight Fresh: Thank you for taking the time to interview, I know everyone at Straight Fresh really appreciates it. This first question is for the people who are reading this interview that don’t really know about you. Want to just tell us a little about yourself – who is Prince Ea?
Prince Ea: Sure, sure, sure…man, Prince Ea is a young rapper from St. Louis, Missouri. Very lyrical, very introspective…very innovative. I kinda built most of my fan base through digital media and digital marketing. Um, you know, putting out viral videos, um, developing a really loyal fan base with like a lot of political, a lot of socially conscious songs, in the beginning. And then I kinda expanded to more relatable type of music, still me, still introspective, but I expanded…I made an expansion.
As far as my accolades go, last year I was named the best hip-hop artist in St. Louis by one of our biggest, by the biggest newspaper down here. I’ve been in Vibe Magazine; I was the first rapper to be in Discover Magazine, Science Magazine. Um, man, the list kinda goes on and on. I’ve performed with Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, DJ Khaled. Most of my fans have been garner for my digital presence, so I have over 13 million views online. So yeah man, that’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I’m a guy, I’m a normal guy, that kinda wants to, I want to change the scope of music, not even just hip hop, so I put out a lot of innovative material. So that’s just me, man.
Straight Fresh: That’s dope. I’m sure you’ve been asked this question now, probably, countless times, but the story behind the Prince Ea name, want to go into that?
Prince Ea: Oh man, the name, the name, the name…a lot of people don’t know. You know, basically, a couple years ago, I was really, really into…one thing I didn’t mention, I graduated Summa Cum Laude, I forgot about that. But I got my degree in Anthropology, and one of the things I was studying was the Sumerian culture. And Sumer is in modern day Iraq; other names for it were Babylon, Mesopotamia, Assyria, etc. Sumer is basically the cradle of civilization – this is where the fist civilization known to man comes from, uh 6 thousand years ago in Sumer. And these people were so intelligent, so technologically advanced, right out of the Stone Age. They created the wheel, they had the first complex agricultural systems, first political, educational systems, they put 360 degrees to a circle, uh, they knew about all of the planets in our solar system without a telescope. And if you would have asked one of these people, how did you get so much knowledge, so much information, so quickly? And what they would have said was that their living Gods gave it to them. Oh, they also created the first written language, which is cuneiform, script.
They wrote about these living Gods, these Gods called the Anunnaki. And one of these Gods was called Enki, Prince Ea…Ea is actually an abridged version of Earth…Prince Earth, basically who Prince Earth was, he freed man. Man was in a state of bondage, um, in a state of, knowledge was being kept from man. He kinda, uh, freed man. That’s kinda what I want to do with my music – I want to enlighten people with the topics I talk about. I don’t want people to believe me just because I’m a rapper and I’m saying it. I want people to look into what I’m saying and research it and find out. I felt like that story kinda touched me, and I kinda took that name and kinda ran with it. And since I have that name, I can never sell out, I can never go in a different direction, because, you know, your name is your destiny. And that’s kinda what I felt like my role in hip hop was, basically just enlighten man, tryin’ to free man out of, you know, the state that he’s in, that I feel like a lot of us are in, as far as music. Which is a very constricted, very limited form of music right now. So that’s the origin of the Prince Ea name.
Straight Fresh: A lot of people probably believed, or at least used to believe, you’d never make a name for yourself through rap, because of the complex nature and substance of your tracks. What was it like for you early in your career, before you started getting noticed and even a little after you had some recognition?
Prince Ea: Um, you mean as far as the dynamic between fans or like people who came into contact with my music?
Straight Fresh: I guess that, but also people you knew before, like friends and family?
Prince Ea: Oh, got you, got you. Yeah, I mean, I was met with a lot of resistance. A lot of people, even my parents, they didn’t get it, you know, they didn’t understand rap music. When I was growing up I couldn’t listen to rap music, they wouldn’t allow it. I was a big Biggie and Ma$e fan, so I would sneak and listen to them. After I picked up rap music, and started actually becoming a practitioner of it, and doing it myself, they didn’t get it, they didn’t understand it. And back then, when I was first, first, starting, I was the typical rapper. I mean, I always had punch lines, I was always like a line guy, a wordplay guy, but the lines that I was saying weren’t as socially conscious as what I developed into. I was like, “I only wear yellow and blue ‘cause I make green” or “I only see green like night vision goggles”. I had lines like that, I mean, they were hot, I liked them, I still might throw out a line or two like that, but they didn’t have the substance that I developed into, um, so they didn’t get it.
You know, it’s no fault against them, they didn’t know that I was gonna develop and grow and it was actually gonna be something I would put my heart into. So fast forward a couple years when I actually found my sound, it got a lot easier. People started understanding what I was doing; they started to get behind me, started seeing the success I was having. Friends and family, and, um, now it’s…I don’t want to say they’re 100% behind me, like “when’s your next show” and stuff like that, but they’re behind it I think, they understand it. That goes friends and family. So yea, but at first it was bad, man, people would talk about me. With the conscious music too, they were like, oh this shit, this stuff will never sell, you’ll never make a name for yourself doing this. You can’t be lyrical. And that’s people in general man, that’s labels, that’s…when people have a concept in their mind, a way of looking at the world, it’s tough to change it until it changes, ha, in reality. So that’s just natural, you just gotta, you know…if anybody is an up and coming rapper, you just gotta keep doing you man, cause everything comes, is a full circle, it’s a 360, there’s gonna be cycles. So, just keep doing you and one day, people will get it. You know, they say a broken clock is right twice a day.
Straight Fresh: Now, moving to current times, “Smoking Weed With The President”, which you released not too long ago, was a song you hoped would reach the desk of President Barack Obama. Beyond the intended goals of the song, what I really liked was that, unlike most rap songs about cannabis, this wasn’t the average “get high, smoke weed every day”. Instead, you presented a historical and factual examination of the lies and hypocrisy that the laws are based around. It was an educational look at the social and economic issue that is marijuana. What I want to know is, what went into the making of that song? How’s it going in terms of raising money, and do you know if Obama has heard it yet?
Prince Ea: Oh, definitely man. What went into it? Hard work! Like, before I did that song, I…see man, growing up, I wasn’t pro-weed at all. I kinda had the negative stereotypes about marijuana, like a lot of other people do, just because of the propaganda. But as I did the song, I learned more and more about it. I researched; I spent hours in the library, checking out books, scientific journals, because I didn’t want to give people any false information. I wanted to give people the current, most up to date, scientific findings, you know, what was happening. I wanted to give people the history of it, so I did a lot of research before I even started on that song, just because I felt like I couldn’t tackle the subject without it. I didn’t want to make up anything, like I said.
It was a lot of hard work man, not only writing it, but the beat, you know producing the beat…I sat in with my producers, D Scorchd, very, very dope producer, worked on it in the studio for hours. You know, cause it’s three beats; I broke the song down into threes ‘cause it’s way too long to listen to just one beat. I understood people would lose, our attention spans suck nowadays, even mine sucks nowadays. So you gotta switch it up, you gotta switch it up throughout, so that’s what I did. And yea man, we put it out, we were met with a lot of…we were embraced, you know, by a lot of different marijuana communities, a lot of people said, hey I didn’t know all this about it. So it was definitely positive. You mentioned the crowd sourced funding, you know we raised over $11,000 to shoot a…the key was to shoot a video that would get on Obama’s desk, cause the video we used was a simple topography video.
So, uh, we’re actually in the process of production right now as far as the video goes, so that should be out in the next couple weeks, or month, or something in that time frame. I don’t know if Obama has seen it yet, he might of potentially. I know a lot of celebrities got behind the song, Joe Rogan tweeted about it, a lot of big companies tweeted about it, like High Times. It made the front page of the Huffington Post. So, I mean, if Obama goes on those websites or follows Joe Rogan, he probably heard it, haha. I know a lot of people were tweeting it too with his name, but I doubt he even goes on Twitter for real, he’s got people doing that for him. I think if Obama responded to Nicki Minaj, you know, her comments about Romney, then I think he damn well could respond to this song.
Straight Fresh: Called Kanye an asshole…
Prince Ea: Yeah, haha, yeah yeah, he’s embedded in the hip-hop community man…
Straight Fresh: If he heard that line about Malia, which I think sends the message home hard, do you think he’d be upset about that or do you think he’d sit down and really think about what you were trying to get across?
Prince Ea: Oh definitely man, I think I explained it well. I didn’t want to be offensive. You mention other rappers glorifying it; I wanted to be as responsible as I could, you know, with the song. So in that song, I say, it’s not a diss, I just wanted to kinda personalize it for him. Make him see it, I mean, if you know the history of Obama in his college days, he knows, I think he knows haha. But yea, man, I don’t think he’d be offended by that line, I think if anything it’ll be like, man, it’ll kinda galvanize him and make him kinda think about it. And that’s what I wanted to do.
Straight Fresh: Another thing you stress a lot in the song is the idea that big pharmaceutical companies are one of the reasons weed stays illegal and disease aren’t cured or haven’t been cured in decades. That’s something many people don’t think about, but it’s also something that seems too obvious of a theory not to accept, or at least consider. Can you explain your thoughts on pharmaceutical companies and why people don’t want to accept the fact that there may be some sort of a conspiracy there?
Prince Ea: Yeah, um, I forgot to mention man, Washington actually legalized marijuana…
Straight Fresh: Yeah, them and Colorado…
Prince Ea: Yeah, Colorado too…but uh, man, I think people…it’s just inertia. It’s such a long history of propaganda towards marijuana that we inherently think of it as a bad and evil drug, ya know, and I don’t think people look at the situation objectively, honestly, and genuinely. Even friends of mine don’t. When you have a world-view in your mind, it’s very hard to change that, it’s very, very difficult to change that. No matter what facts you give them as far as the pharmaceutical companies, as far as the history of marijuana, the corporate interests that were involved, the paper companies that were involved, that basically pushed the propaganda in the beginning, with Anslinger publishing fake stories that he made up, in the newspapers. They created the movies, the Reefer Madness, you know, it’s very tough to get away from that. But yea, I think if anyone looks at it objectively, looks at the pharmaceutical companies, how you can’t even study marijuana. They’re not even allowing you to do any tests…I think it’s corporate interest man, if you realize the ailments that marijuana could soothe if used properly, and I’m not even saying you have to smoke it. There’s many ways to take it, ingest it, that you don’t even get high from.
But once you realize it’d be in the pharmaceutical companies best interest to not have a natural substance on the market…They’re trying to artificialize it, right, they’re trying to create a pill, or something like that, but it’s not the same. The patients don’t respond to it as well, so they’re…Marinol is one of them…they’re going to keep trying to synthesize the drug, but that’s in their own interest. But honestly man, my honest opinion is, I think the country is starting to wake up about it. I think it’s been too long. I’m surprised it’s not decriminalized and legalized in 2012, almost 2013, but I think a change is coming, you know, very, very soon.
Straight Fresh: Do you think it’s going to be a domino effect, like people are going to see the social and economic results from Colorado and Washington and realize, damn, we can make some money off of this, we can fix the economy?
Prince Ea: Exactly man, exactly, I think so man, I think so. Fiscally it’s a no-brainer, you know, how many jobs it could create, how taxing and regulating marijuana would make it safer, would create less addicts with other drugs. I didn’t explain it on the song, but as far as the gateway theory…or maybe I did, it’s such a long song, sometimes I forget…but when you go to the drug dealer like ‘I want an ounce’ or whatnot, they’re business men, they’re capitalists, they want to sell you other stuff. So if you just go to Walgreens or CVS, you know exactly what you’re getting, you can read the THC levels, but when you go to a street dealer, you go underground, you don’t know what you’re getting. They can spike it with something else, it’s very, very…the chances of it being contaminated are a lot higher as opposed to having it government regulated. So yeah, it’s a no-brainer man, I think people are gonna wake up very, very soon. Hopefully, I mean, I already know my song has woken up hundreds and hundreds of people just from the emails and messages I get. Hopefully if we get it on Obama’s desk, it can wake up even more.
Straight Fresh: Another song you just released recently, “To Obama, From the People”, addresses far more issues than just cannabis. For that reason, I think the song will appeal to more people, a larger audience, at least initially. How long had you been working on that song, and did you planned to release it so close to the election?
Prince Ea: I planned to release it sooner; I was just tied up with a lot of other projects, and shooting the video. That was just, that was so hectic. I planned to release it sooner than the election; I probably released it two weeks later than I wanted to. But yea, in that song I discussed everything from government responsibilities to peace to love to unity to just, just, people waking up and coming together, people over profit, people over parties. I wanted to make a statement, to Obama and to the people, it was honestly for the people, to kinda wake up and realize we aren’t red and blue, you know? We’re more than that, we’re humans, there’s one race, the human race, and it’s in our best interest to come together. We can’t continue to be divisive and think that we’re gonna continue…you know, our country’s only 200 plus years old, and we’re on the freakin’ brink of disaster. So we can’t continue to operate like we’re operating and think that we’re gonna persist happily and peacefully. It was kinda a wake up call. I was gonna name it “Letter to the President”, like the Tupac song, but we ended up “To Obama, From the People”, so a little different.
Straight Fresh: The election just ended. What was your opinion on Obama, and do you think…are you happy that Obama won and Romney didn’t?
Prince Ea: Yeah, I mean, I’m not happy, I mean, I guess I’m happy when you put in that context. I’m happy Romney didn’t win. But my main thing, I’m dissatisfied with politics in general man; I’m dissatisfied with the two party system. So I’m not totally happy, but framed that way, yeah I’m happy…
Straight Fresh: Yeah I didn’t vote to, to be honest. I didn’t support either of them…
Prince Ea: Word, yeah, I voted for Gary J, Gary Johnson man, tryin’ to get that 5%. But yeah, man, I just think the two party system needs to be expanded. Politics is, I always said, the old quote, ‘poly’ meaning many, ‘tics’ meaning bloodsucking creatures, poly-tics. But I don’t know man, I hope, I have faith changes can be made in the country. It’s really about waking up the people. There’s that old quote, ‘the people shouldn’t be subservient to the government, the government should be subservient to the people’. I think we’re the main problem, and we’re the biggest hope as well, for the country’s survival. It’s not the government, the government’s not going to do anything, it’s us, the people, it’s the people coming together. That’s my party, that’s my constituency. I’m always going to look at authority figures with a very skeptical eye and question them. Cause that’s what the Framers of the Constitution wanted, that’s what it means to be a citizen.
We have to question authority, we can’t turn into a mobocracy. What’s interesting man, politicians always use the word ‘democracy’ – democracy, democracy, we need democracy – but the word ‘democracy’ doesn’t exist in the Constitution, it’s not written one time, not a single time, in the Constitution. We’re not a democracy; we’re a republic, because the Constitutional founders knew that any government, anybody in power, could easily influence the people. Easily. The people are stupid, you know, so we need systems of checks and balances in place to kind of guard from that. I think it was John Adams or Jefferson who said that democracy was…democracy always commits suicide. Honestly dude, I feel you when you say you didn’t vote, I wasn’t gonna vote. I was depressed, you know, I wasn’t gonna vote, until the last minute I figured why not just cast a protest vote for Gary Johnson. So that’s what I did.
Straight Fresh: Staying on politics for the time being, what’s your stance on issues like gay marriage, war, immigration and other more commonly brought up topics?
Prince Ea: Yeah, gay marriage, it’s OK with me, I don’t have any problems with gays getting married. I think it’s stupid that we still discriminate, that legally we can discriminate based on their orientation. War is silly. In the song I say, “Peace is nothing more than intervals between wars”. War is profit, war is, haha, I don’t know man, I think it’s just too late. Humanity has been here for 150,000 years and we’re still doing the same things as we’ve done since day one. Technology has advanced, but morally it’s like we’re still in the Stone Age. People still take advantage of each other, not knowing that the common good is the best good. War is silly man, war is for profit. Anybody who studies history knows that wars are orchestrated or manufactured. And what was the other thing you said?
Straight Fresh: Immigration.
Prince Ea: Yeah…immigration, I mean, the country was founded on immigration haha. I saw a cool meme a couple months ago that had a white guy and a Mexican guy. The white guy was like, “Get out of our country” or “This is our home”, or something like that. And behind the white guy was a Native American and he’s like, “Get out of OUR country”. You know what I’m sayin’? It’s like, Jesus Christ, what are we doing? I believe we need regulation, we can’t allow just complete, you know, anybody to come. Obviously you have to go through whatever processes that you have to go through, but America is, our immigration policies suck. We educate people in our country…and this was one of the problems that came up during the debates too…how we educate people that are foreign to this nation, and then after they get the education, they end up leaving. They start up companies and businesses that end up competing with American companies, and end up outworking us. So the immigration debate, like a lot of these problems, I don’t even think of them as problems, they’re just silly. They require simple solutions. I think politics is overly complicated, honestly. But that’s just me man, what do I know, right?
Straight Fresh: Alright, let’s talk about education a little bit now. Hip-hop gets attacked a lot for its, at times, questionable content – whether it’s violent, misogynistic, materialistic, etc. Unfortunately, most hip-hop that can be seen as educational, even used in the classroom to teach students, is kept off the radio, it’s kept out of the mainstream, it’s kept away from society. Unless you’re more than just a causal fan of rap, you don’t even know that it exists. I want to use hip-hop in the classroom because people can obviously learn from it. Can you explain how hip-hop and rap music personally helped you in regards to your education?
Prince Ea: Ah man, I’d love to man. Growing up I was a terrible student, I was very complacent, I did everything just for my parent’s approval. I didn’t have a passion for education. It was hip-hop that actually changed that. Me listening to Immortal Technique and learning about politics, learning about questioning authority. Me listening to Chuck D did the same thing. Me listening to Canibus and increasing my vocabulary. You know, Cannibus ‘Poet Lauriat’, the scientific principles that he throws in that song. It just compelled me in a way that translated to me getting better grades, me sitting in the front of the classroom, me questioning my professors and engaging in dialogue and civil discussion with them, not taking them on their word for it. It was hip-hop; hip-hop was the catalyst for the change in my life. I always will attribute that to hip-hop music. It was information conveyed in such a fascinating way, it wasn’t boring anymore.
That’s a problem with a lot of kids, it’s boring. I mean, the educational structure hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, it’s the same thing, it’s chalk and talk. When you actually integrate things kids can relate to, it changes. I think the entire educational system is flawed. I think that instead of taking kids’ phones from them if they’re on in the classroom, I say integrate education into that phone. Just think of creative ways that we can use to educate people. I think that multiple levels of intelligence exist that aren’t really emphasized in the current structure that we have today. But I digress man, I think that hip-hop…hip-hop, like you said, a lot of people don’t know education. If you look at the five elements of hip-hop, let’s see if I can remember them, it’s b-boy, it’s DJ, it’s emceeing, it’s graffiti, and the last one is knowledge, a lot of people don’t know the last element is knowledge. As an emcee it was your duty to educate your listeners through your lyrics.
Straight Fresh: Can you talk about what your organization, Make SMART Cool, is and the type of influence and impact it’s had?
Prince Ea: Sure, sure. Make SMART Cool is an organization. SMART is an acronym for Sophisticating Millions And Revolutionizing Thought. And we basically want to do just that, we want to popularize the notion of intelligence, we want to make learning and intelligence cool because right now, it’s not. I was mentoring not too long ago, and kids, we think that being smart is uncool, knowing the answer to stuff is uncool. Making jokes and being funny is the cool thing to do when you’re a student and you’re a kid. But I want to change that paradigm, and I think it can be changed, and I think that once you change that, oh my god, through our entire society…if somebody can truly make smart cool then our country, our world, is gonna be in a better state, years from now.
So that’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to show people there are multiple levels of intelligence, multiple types of intelligence, that should be valued equally. I think that, like I said, the way teachers educate their students needs to change. There’s a quote that I always say, ‘there are no bad students, only inflexible teachers’. Kind of gets on a lot of teachers nerves, because it puts the responsibility in their hands. But I truly believe that, I truly believe that there are no bad students, only inflexible teachers. I think that anybody can be, I mean, we have the same brains. What’s the problem? We have the same brain, the same neurons that are in your brain, Zach, are in my brain. I think the ways that we can tap into those neurons are different, the vehicle that can be used, and we just need to figure that out.
Straight Fresh: A couple years back, you posted a video directed at Waka Flocka Flame, after he claimed nobody wanted to hear lyrical rap. He even went so far as to claim lyrical rappers don’t eat, implying an emcee with substance and lyrics can’t be successful, at least commercially. In your response, you discussed the state of hip-hop, putting responsibility not only on the artists, but on the fans as well. Looking back to that point in time, do you think hip-hop has improved since then? How would you compare and contrast the state of rap music today with rap music from 2010? Does the future look bright for hip-hop?
Prince Ea: Yea man, I’m excited…I’m sort of excited about hip-hop. You got a lot more lyrical guys coming in, guys that are actually saying something. It’s a lot of people coming in that are being embraced. Kendrick is pretty cool, you know, I’m not the biggest fan, but I appreciate what he’s doing. He’s very lyrical, that can’t be, I mean, that’s really no question. He got the award, I mean, BET doesn’t really mean much, haha, but I think he’s lyrical. I think a lot of other people think he’s lyrical. He’s not a Pac, he’s not doing anything that’s just groundbreaking, but he’s doing his thing. He’s young, he’s on his way, I think he’s got a very bright future. J Cole’s another guy I listen to, he’s part of that elite, well student of that elite Jay-Z, DMX, Canibus, that class of rappers that was popular in the ‘90s. I can tell he studied them. Eminem too, you know? But I am, I think that hip-hop is coming to point…like I said before, it’s all a cycle, it’s all 360 degrees. I think that everything has it’s time, and if you keep doing what you’re doing, there’s gonna come a point where that’s gonna blow. I’m very excited about the future of hip-hop, I think it has changed since 2010. I can’t remember who was popular in 2010…was that Yung Joc, I don’t even know…there was a lot of cats man…
Straight Fresh: Was that the year you were supposed to spit at the BET Cypher?
Prince Ea: I think that, that might have been…yeah I think it was, yup, two years ago, yup. BET, man, I got a diss record coming out about BET. I don’t like BET that much, they…ahhh man, but that’s another story. But yeah dawg, I think hip-hop is coming back. The culture, well maybe not to say the culture, the culture’s still kinda…haha. But I think lyrically, I think the music is of more quality and the music is starting to have a soul again. A lot of the music that came out in 2010 didn’t have a soul. It was dance, money, that was it. It didn’t have an introspective force behind it. Honestly, I think Drake is a good example of a guy who has that introspection, who has lyricism. He kind of made people step their game up. I mean, Drake’s not the most crazy, lyrical rapper out there, but he’s got bars and I think he conveys his emotions very well, and he’s honest. He’s got honesty in his music, and I think he was a big part of the shift in hip-hop from the party to the more lyrical side, now that I really think about it. But yeah, I’m very happy at the state of hip-hop.
Straight Fresh: Awesome, so…
Prince Ea: Wait a minute, haha, what do you think about the state of hip-hop?
Straight Fresh: I’ll be honest, I do think it’s looking much better than it was in 2010. Even some of the guys who were coming up a few years ago, guys like Wale, B.o.B., Asher Roth…they were all on the Freshman List together at one point. At the time it was like, the new class is coming in, these guys are bringing lyrics into the mainstream. But none of them actually really did it. But now you have guys like, like you said, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole…a lot of younger rappers that are actually coming in with…guys who are actually making smart rap cool. So I think it looks really good right now. Obviously there’s always gonna be that Lil Wayne stuff, all that Waka Flocka music. I hope it, and it very well can get to the point, where more rap fans don’t want the Waka Flocka, dumb down your music and just yell. That’s ideal obviously, but like, Kendrick did good numbers too with his album, he did well. So that’s a guy who is actually saying something in his music that is commercially successful now. That’s a good sign, that’s a very good sign.
Prince Ea: It’s funny, I just saw a video on Elliot Wilson and he’s talking about what makes a classic album, and he makes good points man. He really praises Kendrick’s album, says it’s one of the best albums of the year. He praises Nas’ album too, Life Is Good. But he says it’s not a, only time will tell, but it’s not a classic yet. It’s not gonna be looked on in that league of classic albums, and I kinda agree with him. I think Kendrick’s album was good, I listened to it, but it didn’t have a big impact on me personally, or I think on the culture of hip-hop. It wasn’t that…it was a great storyline, great narrative, but it wasn’t anything like groundbreaking, out of left field and it just, oh my goodness, it was that. I really, really mess with Kendrick, I think he’s a very talented rapper, but I’m waiting on that guy to just be that Pac. Just to spit the “Changes”, and the real, but still be internationally praised and praised by the mainstream. I’m kind of waiting for that guy, I don’t know who it’s gonna be, but I’m waiting for that guy to come out. But yeah, I agree with everything you said man; I think it’s a good sign, definitely.
Straight Fresh: You touched on this when we were discussing “Smoking Weed With The President”, but your songs, a lot of them are complex, a lot of facts and substance. How much research goes into your songs, especially something like “Smoking Weed With The President”, where any error in your lyrics could jeopardize the value or intent of the song? Or something like “The Brain”, which I’m sure required loads of research. And beyond just the research, how long does it usually take to just write the song?
Prince Ea: To write a song like that, oh God, it might take a month. Research time, putting it together, recording it, revising it, recording it, revising it, it might take something like that a month to really get it perfect. But a normal song, I don’t really research. Those are really, really special cases, just songs that have never been done before. ‘Cause I broke down the entire history. I actually wrote more than that, I could have made it a lot longer, but I didn’t because I understand, like I said before, with the attention span of people, people don’t want to listen to a song that long. So I kind of broke it down into threes, I kind of just touched on the main, on the bones, of the situation and left it there. But it’s a very complex song to write.
I think maybe about a month to write that, like total month, to write, record, like that’s what I mean, the whole process probably took about a month. In general, I don’t do that much research, like a lot of it is just knowledge that I have, things that I’m talking about that I know about. It’s music, but it’s more of an academic opus, a thesis, it’s more academic. It kinda of merges the boundaries between academia and music. But when it comes to straight music, I like to make sure my rhyme schemes are good, I like to make sure my content, everything, flows. So I don’t go to the studio and just write it there, maybe a freestyle if I have to get something out, but typically for something that I actually want to say I did it, I might spend a week, or a couple days, writing a verse on a song, just so I can make sure I get everything across. ‘Cause there’s a lot that goes into it, so that might be bad, I might be over thinking stuff, but that’s just my process.
I think a lot of writers do it too man, I know Eminem says he locks himself into a room when he starts to write something. He might come up with a two lines in couple hours, and all he has is two lines. And Drake too, for Drake, I’ve heard interviews where it’s a real process for him to think of lines and put them together. And that’s kind of how it is for me as well, I’m a perfectionist so I don’t like to put out anything that I don’t think is where I was at that moment, and just kind of structurally perfect.
Straight Fresh: Of all the songs you’ve released, are you able to choose one that stands out as your favorite?
Prince Ea: My favorite, my favorite…haha, it hasn’t been released yet, but I do have something that’s my favorite project, it was the most fun for me to do, but it’s a video as well as audio project. But as far as what I’ve released so far, I really like “Different Girl”. That song “Different Girl” is really good, I think once we actually put something behind it, shoot a video for it, get some money behind it to push the record, I think it could be very successful. “Whatever You Want” is a very emotional song to me, “The Brain”… “The Brain” is just, it kind of stands in it’s own corner. It’s kind of a masterpiece. I think I conquered the subjects a little, marijuana and the human brain. But my favorite? That’s like picking your favorite kid, man I don’t think I could do that…You know what, this is probably my favorite verse, I probably would say my favorite verse would be the “I Make Smart Cool” brand promo video, I really, really like that verse.
Straight Fresh: That was actually one of the first songs I heard by you, that promo video.
Prince Ea: That’s what’s up.
Straight Fresh: I know we mentioned young rappers emerging who are talented and making a name for themselves. Are there any artists you’d like to work with, either mainstream or less known?
Prince Ea: Yeah, definitely man. There’s one of my guys, EKZ, amazing rapper, he’s a good friend of mine. We haven’t had a chance to sit down and actually try to create something, but I would say him. I think he’s in this league of rappers, some of his songs hit me so hard, I think it’s only a matter of time before other people really recognize his talent. As far as really known artists…eh, I’m not in a hurry. There’s artists I like, I wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to get on a song with Eminem or Jay-Z, but I’m not knocking the door. It’s really up to me to create music that millions of people will like and gravitate to. I know all of those collabs will come.
I got on a song with Canibus, I would love to do something with Immortal Technique – that’s my friend, that’s my personal friend, he gives me advice. We’re pretty much battling our schedules right now to actually get on a song, like he’s doing so much and I’m trying to do my own thing. But eventually I know we’ll definitely put out something hot and just groundbreaking. Black Thought is another dude…But these guys might outshine me, I don’t know if I can get on a track with these guys, haha, they might murder me…
Straight Fresh: Only one way to find out…
Prince Ea: Nah, I’d rip them up, haha. I think those guys, I’m trying to think, those guys definitely had impacts on me. I’m not really in a hurry to get on a song with anybody, for real man. I’m doing my own things. I got a lot of big things in the works, trying to see how they do, how they work.
Straight Fresh: Do you have any information on upcoming projects that you might be releasing soon?
Prince Ea: Hahaha, nah man, all that information is confidential man. I got a lot of big things in the works. Like I said, “Smoking Weed With the President” video is coming out real soon, we’re about to shoot that. Definitely want to drop an EP, I’m thinking either this year or early next year I want to drop something. I’ve got a lot of material fans haven’t heard. I also got this project I’ve been working on for several months, and it’s awesome, it’s just awesome man. I think it’s groundbreaking; it’s going to make a lot of noise, man. I hope it makes a lot of noise, if it doesn’t make a lot of noise I’m probably gonna commit suicide and that’ll be it. Then I’ll get the recognition I deserve. Mixtape or EP, end of the year early next year. “Smoking Weed With the President” video, I got some other videos coming real soon. Just keep in touch, as far as the fans go, they already know my website, Facebook and Twitter, they’ll know when something’s coming.
Straight Fresh: Word, it’s good to know you got stuff on the way. Honestly, as a fan of yours, it’s been an honor talking with you, and we definitely appreciate you taking time to interview with Straight Fresh.
Prince Ea: I gotchu bro, appreciate the time.
Check out the SFDotNet Exclusive freestyle Prince Ea dropped at the end of the interview:
Find Prince Ea on Twitter: Prince Ea (@PrinceEa)
Interview By: Zach Humphrey (@Zach_pusAfella)