With four tracks in Salute, El-Emcee went deep with the visuals and selected some dope music for his entry into Salute 2017. With many more releases under his belt this year, we caught up to talk the seed of life, the struggle, and dedication.
- SALUTE: Did you grow up in Ipswich fam?
Mostly, in my younger years I lived in London but Ipswich is my hometown. Not a lot goes on here, it can be quite boring but we make the most of it.
The Suffolk life is pretty calm but I rarely get to go down to the beach and the take in the water and natural elements. I spend a lot of my time in the city.
- SALUTE: What kind of music did you grow up on? When did hip-hop enter your life?
Hip-hop has always been a part of my life since I got a TV. The music video for ‘Do For Love’ by Tupac would come on the TV and it just really inspired me as a child. My folks were always listening to Jazz, Funk, and Soul, cats like George Benson, Al Greene, Curtis Mayfield. These old-time artists were really what my background was with the music.
I’m at university now and I’m doing music as well so people around me want me to carry on with both, especially the education side of things.
- SALUTE: How’s it going at uni, what are you studying?
I went to uni because I wanted to find more like-minded people. I’m at Essex doing Computer Science. I had to do the work to stay but I also wanted to do music and share my story. I’ve always been into computers and hacking games and software.
- SALUTE: How did you get started making music?
I always loved English literature. Poetry was always a part of my life like that. Really since 11 years old I was writing poetry and then around about 15 I started to put words to rhythms and beats. That was when I was really influenced by Grime music. I’d write stories about living the life of Grime.
Growing up in Ipswich there was bare Grime music. I had to search out for people who knew about Hip Hop back then. All the time at school it was just Grime music coming out of people’s Sony Erikson phones. It had a massive influence.
- SALUTE: Did the internet and Youtube change that?
Youtube and social media started to play a big part and if you wanted to do the research and learn more it was all there. I feel in love with the sounds of Hip Hop and that was when my journey started.
- SALUTE: There’s a lot of strong imagery around your music, how do you bring all the elements in terms of music, photography, and filmmaking together?
Everyone wants the visuals these days, there’s loads of good music that you can stream through Soundcloud and stuff, but I wanted to put in the visuals to my music into the competition.
I’ve got a couple of friends and we all have our own ideas of where we are trying to go. At the time I was making a lot of visuals, I was making stuff to test out audiences. There were some basic concepts that were applied because I’ve been releasing a mixtape monthly recently and I couldn’t always spend a lot of time on the visuals.
- SALUTE: Which music makers and producers are you working with at the moment?
There’s a producer called P-Soul who I worked with recently. I’ve been putting out a mixtape once a month since March, because I love it so much the words, concepts, and songs just come together. I don’t make beats myself but I do all of my engineering myself. I mix and master everything and I’ll record my vocals as well.
- SALUTE: How do you feel about the UK rap movement and scene at the moment?
I love people working towards their dreams and passions. I don’t always listen to UK music, House of Pharaohs get a lot of play time for me. People like Skepta have bridged the divide across the Atlantic opening up those audiences to Grime which is so good to see.
- SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition?
I’ve always been searching for stuff for music competitions. Salute came up on Facebook one day, it was free to enter. It’s given us a chance to properly expand and grow. Shout out to Salute!