It's not hard to find talent in Baltimore. There are culure inlfuencers here, in our own backyard. E Major is one of the catalysts, that will definitley spark a change in Baltimore hip-hop, and the way that it's percived. His laid-back flow, and wittiness allow for a smooth listen, and may revert you to a time when shit was still ill. - Ryan Lyons
I'm originally from Essex and being from out there we had a mix of cultures. In the 80's things were a little crazy and the area we lived in kinda started to get bad. At the same time the city was always really interesting to me. I was kind of an outsider looking in and the city in the 80's was real wild. Me and a friend started making trips to the Patterson to see movies and down to Howard Street to buy all kinds of things from "gold" chains to mixtapes and clothing too. A lot of the clothes down there were bootleg. Lol.
How'd you get into Hip-hop?
My closest friend when I was a kid was named Phil. I still keep in touch with him to this day. He's 3 years older then me and he was really into Hip Hop when we were kids. Not just Hip Hop but that was mainly what he listened to. He had records too. He had LL's "Can't Live Without My Radio." He had "Rappin' Duke" and this "Disco Duck" record where this duck character was rapping. These were like the gateway for me into Hip Hop. Run DMC's "Raising Hell" was the game changer though. That made me REALLY want to listen to Hip Hop.
Do you have any hobbies outside of rap?
I got my degree in Fine Art. In painting. I don't paint anymore but I do like to draw still and I do freelance graphic design work. Almost everything for our label, Under Sound, I did the graphic design for. I do web and print design. It's a lot of fun for me and a creative outlet for my visual art. I mostly like working on graphic design for Under Sound because I understand the brand so well and there is that sense of ownership so it's like molding something that's mine and nurturing the brand.
Describe our music scene in Baltimore with one word. Explain?
Baltimore has the most difficult scene to describe. I think there are those street rappers who've enjoyed a lot of success because of The Wire and then there's everyone else. I mean, my music gets played on 92Q and 88.9 so I'm trying to straddle the fence a little but it's just such a weird scene to get a grasp on. We kind of have an identity crisis. I think once more and more artists have success outside of the city we'll start to develop what we're about as a scene.
"I think anyone that's getting into this to be a millionaire should just stop right now. " - E MAJOR
Is Under Sound Music your label? If so what artists does is consist of?
Yeah, it's my label but I have partners in it. Ashante "Zen" Saunders also helps me run it and Aaron "zu" Keeny is our creative director. As far as artists that are on the label we're kind of creating our own model of what a label is. We're kind of part production company, part boutique label, part lifestyle brand. We directly represent zu_keeny as a producer, Eddie Pearson as a producer, DJ Impulse as a DJ of course and I'm the only MC on the label. This year however, we're partnering with MC's to put out projects for them but we're not locking them into multi-record projects. Later this month we're putting our Sean Armstrong AKA DJ Face's mixtape, Truth Be Told, and later in the summer we're putting out UllNevaNo's The Color Brown mixtape. We're also working on a project with the VERY talented Cynthia Hawkes, whom you've probably heard on some of my records. That, we will be putting out later this year.
Your rap presence makes people feel they can relate? Do you get that a lot?
Yeah, I guess. I'm not a gangster rapper or a glam rapper or hipster rapper or whatever. Lol. I'm just me rapping 'cause I love it. I don't think about the perception.
Where does the name E Major come from?
My government is Ian Mattingly so it's not a far stretch to E Major. Plus like Lee Majors aka The 5 Million Dollar Man. And we MAJOR MAYNE!
In my opinion your voice is complimented best on soul samples? Would you ever consider doing an album with that sound consistently throughout?
I think Majority Rules was mostly soul samples. That is my strong suit I guess. I'm like the Hall and Oates of this rap shit!
The new video " Want to be me" is dope! The track talks about your frustration with criticism, and the industry. Can you elaborate on the pitfalls of rapping?
I think anyone that's getting into this to be a millionaire should just stop right now. I've been doing this for a minute and I've seen the Internet change the game. We gotta rap cause we love it and let the money take care of itself. My frustration in that song came a lot from dudes that I know for a fact that I'm better then getting more shine then me. It has a lot to do with the fact that Under Sound hasn't aligned itself with anyone big time. We're not riding anyone's coat tails. We're just building our shit slow and steady. But due to that, I've seen a number of dudes that I'm not impressed by take the easier route and get a lot of shine and that can be frustrating. I just want to do my thing the way that I do it and get respected for it. And hey, maybe make a living doing it. That's what that song is about.
Well, hopefully we can continue to hear more from you! What projects are you working on now?
Right now I'm wrapping up an EP that we're partnering with my homie from DC Jerome Baker III and his blog Better Than Yours to present. That's gonna be pretty dope. Plus I have a whole 10 track album pretty much done with my dudes Heroes 4 Hire. Hoping to have that out soon but we might be trying to partner with someone to release that too. More music, more video content, just more of the Under Sound Music movement. The blog is poppin' with a lot of good music right now so people just need to check for us.
Anything you'd like to say to your fans, and our readers?
We're in charge of the music now. Use the Internet as a tool. If you fuck with a certain artist, support him. Download his/her music. Let them know that you appreciate what you do. Get them to come to your town and perform and most importantly spread the word about the artists you like. We own this. The industry doesn't.
Follow E Major @etothemajor on twitter.
Check Out http://www.undersoundmusic.net/