Friday, May 6, 2011

Interview with rapper Eric Sosa, and a review of his new album Rhyme and Noodles 2

NYC hip-hop holds a special place in everyone's heart, mainly because it was invented here. However, over the last decade or so, we've seen NY replaced on the rap throne by artists from other cities: Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, L.A., and even St. Louis to name a few. Of course, we always have our Hova and 50 Cent to an extent, but these aren't exactly the essence of East Coast hip-hop at the moment. Now it's all about the "Dirty South," club bangers, and Young Money hits. 

This leads us to Eric Sosa. Sosa is an up and coming rapper whose roots are in NY, heart is on the music, and mind is on the prize. He has out shined nearly every other rapper he has come in contact with and was even rewarded the Sucker Free MTV Freestyle champion. This is no easy feat, but surely someone with so much range and diversity in his craft can roll with the best of them.

Sosa's newest mixtape, the cleverly titled Rhyme & Noodles 2 (get it?), is a perfect blend of that classic New York hip-hop sound along with the mainstream Hot 97 vibe that dominates the airwaves now. The single worthy tracks of the album are without a doubt "Came Along Way" for it's smooth easy going radio friendly sound and "My Life" for its catchy hook, female sang chorus and big sound.

In typical rapper fashion, Sosa of course has one song where he can show off his rhyme game with some swag on "Sammy Sosa." "Too Much" and "Celebrate" are the dance club tracks of the album that get the body moving, while "How Does it Feel" is the LL Cool J, make love in the club track of the record."Hate" features Sosa changing his flow to be a little more aggressive and a little more tough. "Is it True Remix" features some reggae vocals throughout, and tells a gritty story. 

But perhaps the most unique and best track on the mixtape is "Interesting Encounter," because it certainly is. This track has a guest rapper from hip-hop duo, Oxymorons. The beat for the song is kind of spooky and the story line is kind of like a Halloween scary story. It's fun and uniquely different than what you'll hear on most mixtapes and even introduces a little screaming on the track at the end. It's got that Gym Class Heroes feel to it, but is still definitely Eric Sosa.

Overall this mixtape is phenomenal and leaves the listener wishing there were more tracks. In the end however, look out for Sosa in the marquee playing somewhere big sometime soon.


Why not come up with an emcee name?
Well Eric is my real first name, Sosa is my alter ego. I've come up with hundreds of names as I grew as an artist, but Eric Sosa was always there. It was sort of like what Frank White was for BIG, up until I came to the conclusion that this is it, Eric Sosa is it, not only from an artist point of view, but from a business point of view as well.

How important is being an NYC rapper to you? Do you feel there are certain expectations?
In this day and age, being a rapper from NYC is the most difficult in my opinion. Besides this city being a sardine can of aspiring rappers, the odds are against us if you base it on the traditional New York sound, being that its not particularly the sound that's currently popular. So it's important being an NYC rapper, because we have the power to break the routine that's currently on the radio. Besides that, I think the only expectation for us is to continue to be lyrical.

How did it feel to win the Sucker Free Challenge and what has it done for your career?
That whole thing just kind of fell in my lap (laughs). I'd have to say winning the Sucker Free Challenge was definitely a blessing, ultimately it proved to me how many people actually support me. Shout out to Dro and everyone that voted.

Do you think there are enough Latino rappers in music, and do you feel they are stereotyped in any way as far as topic or style?
Definitely not, definitely not enough Latino rappers. When you think of Latino rappers, you think of Fat Joe, Terror Squad, and last but not least, the late great Big Pun. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I get stereotyped. I always get the whole "Yo, you do Reggaeton?" (laughs). I mean it's not a ridiculous assumption being that my name is Eric Sosa, so it doesn't upset me, I understand where it comes from, but I must say I live for the reactions I get when they finally do hear my work...priceless.

Who did you listen to growing up, and who are your biggest inspirations?
I have four sisters, grew up with two of them, so as a youngin', I was kind of forced to listen to whatever it was they were blasting...Paula Abdul, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Madonna etc. Then aside from my Naughty By Nature and DMX cassette tapes, the barber shop I use to go to would bless me with demos of artists like Tragedy Khadafi, Ill One, and Canibus. I guess that explains the sound of my music now. I'm literally inspired by any and everything, their isn't just one inspiration, and their isn't any one inspiration that's bigger than the next, but if I had to choose a favorite, I would have to say know, that R&B sh** (laughs).

If you could do a song with any rapper who would it be? Singer? Producer?
Rapper, Nas...singer, Melanie Fiona...producer, Timbaland.

When constructing a song, do you feel it's better to work off the beat, or do you have lyrics in mind first and build around that?
90% of the time I feed off the energy of the beat, soak in the emotion it emits, become the emotion, then begin writing.

What makes you different or unique compared to other up and coming rappers?
Besides being Hispanic, I think my versatility and the fact that I don't have a style is what makes me different and unique amongst the up and comers, and even those already established.

Do you think there's an advantage of playing with a live band as compared to throwing on a beat or having a DJ?
Absolutely! The traditional "two turntables and a mic" is always dope, but to be able to perform with a band is a whole other ball game. As humans, we all exude a certain type of energy, with that said, rocking out with a DJ is cool, but when you're up there with four, five other musicians, and they're all playing a part of the song behind your vocals, to make one big complete organized sound...the energy that that exudes, can't be matched.

How do you feel about Rhyme and Noodles 2, and how do you feel it stacks up to your previous work?
I think Rhyme & Noodles 2 displays my growth as not only a rapper, but as an artist, as well as the ability to reach commercial success.

Where do you hope to be in three years?
In three years? I couldn't tell you, although I can say that I hope to be on a world tour in a year or so.

Best three rappers dead or alive in your opinion and why?
I came to the conclusion that I don't have a "top five" nor a "best rappers list", and I honestly feel that I'd have to hear every rapper in the world before making that decision. It's only fair, but from who I have heard, I can say, whether good or bad, each one of them impacted the game in their own unique way.

What's in the near future for Eric Sosa?
In the near future you can expect more shows, more music, and last but not least, more success!


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