Any fool can make music these days, but getting noticed still takes real talent, and lots of hard work. New Jersey emcee Eloh Kush knows all about that grind. As he prepares for the release of a new project named Angeldus, we spoke to him about life as an independent artist, the state of New Jersey hip-hop and more.
Making music available to everyone takes seconds, thanks to Soundcloud, Bandcamp etc., but standing out from the crowd is still tough. How hard is it to actually get people to listen to your music?
It is a very tedious grind, but also a very fulfilling task, which is part of the journey you make in the process of creativity. In this age of music, where everything is so microwaved, and it seems some of the listeners have short attention spans, you must always have something on deck to share.
Your material is rooted in the independent/underground scene, which in many ways is now more relevant than ever. Can an artist such as yourself actually make a sustainable career out of hip-hop, or would you say a lot of rappers at this level also have day jobs?
I think you’ve got to have multiple streams of income period, so if that means a day job, night job, regardless. Hip-hop most definitely is a lucrative lifestyle if you create your lane. I mean, it’s a culture, and culture is a way of life. Everything is hip-hop that I see in my cipher. To me, the music is the foundation and is vital, yet with music and game licensing and commercial deals, you must network for the net worth!
As fans of authentic hip-hop, we tend to distance ourselves from the mainstream, and gravitate towards artists that seem to share that sentiment. In reality though, is the end goal for an artist like your self still ultimately major fame and fortune?
I wouldn’t necessarily think that fame is for me. Infamy or notoriety, yeah I can deal with that, but to not be able to move around at free will? I am too close to the concrete for that lifestyle. Fortune? Well, of course, as an artist you want to rewarded for your expression, but that financial reward comes second to creativity.
Tell us about the new project, Angeldus.
Angeldus is a collaborative EP from myself and beatsmith Dus, who handles all of the production. It is a very creative piece of art, and listening to it is like a time capsule for me, because I can hear different patterns of thought, or where I was emotionally in my life during the recording and writing. I lost my father during the beginning of the recording process; so I wanted to speak on the beats to express myself, and Dus did an excellent job of creating a vibe where I could be free and un-restricted, release pain, express joy, etc.
Artists like Naughty by Nature, Redman, Lords of the Underground and Artifacts helped put New Jersey on the hip-hop map, but not a whole lot of rap seems to come out of there at the moment. Would you say there’s something of resurgence, thanks to you and others in your circle?
True indeed, but Jersey has always had the some of the biggest artist in the music business – Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, and Lauren Hill. I could go on and on. The emcees out here in NJ are talented, and our time is now, yet we have to flush the Willie Lynch mind state and support each other to truly maximize our greatness.
What are you ultimately aiming to achieve with your music?
To be an owner, not a worker, to be able to take care of my loved ones and sustain a healthy existence and lifestyle from music, and create a catalog body of wok that never vanishes, each listener keeping me immortal with the works I leave behind.
Angeldus from Eloh Kush and Dus is set to be released in March. Listen to the latest single here.