Going Back to Harlem Roots: An Interview with Hip Hop Artist Eris Dublin

There's something to say when the younger generation looks back at their roots as inspiration for their future. With this same notion, Harlem Hip Hop artist Eris Dublin has taken a new approach to his music as he looks not only to the old school Hip Hop movement but also African instrumentals and the Harlem Renaissance. We caught up with Eris at Red Rooster and asked him about his new music in the works.

Tell me about yourself. What type of music do you make?

I was born in Harlem, grew up here and went to Georgia for awhile.  Currently here again.  I've been doing music since I was 15 and I have my home studio.  I mostly do Hip Hop and R&B. I do shows at least once a month.  I perform and rap and I'm a composer, as well.  I write my own music and I produce for other artists that come in, as well.  Anybody you might of heard of, you know, recently or up and coming I might have been a part of.

Which do you prefer: Hip Hop or R&B?

I consider myself a Hip Hop artist but I perform for R&B artists and lay down beats for them.  Sometimes it's just a hook or something.  Sometimes it's a straight R&B song, but mainly it's Hip Hop.

When did you get in the music business?

Strong for 3 years now.  I used to do poetry growing up and that kind of sparked the idea of putting something on beats and I have a lot of influences in music.  I pretty much motivate myself but when it comes to staying at it, people in the industry now motivate me to keep going.

What inspired you to get into music and follow it and what inspires you as an artist?

I feel like your day to day routine and things you go through in life- that to me is big influence.  Growing up you go through the heartbreaks, go through the friendships, and you want to talk about it.  I feel like as an image I want to speak for those who don't speak for themselves and don't open their mouths.   I like to jot it down, to talk about it, get creative with it at times.

Tell me a little bit about the stuff you are working on now.

It's a blend- Alternative Hip Hop and a blend of African music and Hip Hop.  I went back to the roots. A lot of my music tells a story, but it's a true story, and a lot of people can relate to it.

What made you want to go back to your roots?

I feel like the way Hip Hop is going now, artists are straying away from the original idea of Hip Hop.  It's not music-it's just dance, you know.  Yes, the music is for you to dance to but the message behind it is for you to grow.

Tell me about your Harlem life and if it influences your music.

The Harlem music that I'm familiar with there's a lot of dance. The people from Harlem definitely have an influence and I love the area, the people I'm meeting, everyone's cool. It's actually more ethnically diverse now and that also influences me to use different instruments and go out of my element.  It's not just okay you put a beat on- a kick, a snare, you lay something on it.  I kind of want to stray away and touch other parts of the world-it's more than just Harlem for me.

As far as poetry goes, I guess you could say the Harlem Renaissance, just the idea of whatever you are thinking and putting it on paper- having a canvas to spread your ideas.  I would definitely say that it's influenced me.

Where can we find your music?

I have my own website- EveryWeekEris.Tumblr.com ; that's where my music is now.  Soundclick.com/ErisDublin last year's catalog of beats is going up and music dated back to 2009 is on YouTube.  And you can hear Until Then 2: Quality Over Quality here.

Photo: Cyndi Amaya

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