Raised in Raleigh, North Carolina but residing in Los Angeles, CA, emcee Esko has completed his sophomore LP, The Seed, a 10-song album where he relates his life story to the metaphor of a seed that’s fallen from a tree and is forced to rebuild from nothing.
“The seed has to grow towards the light,” explains Esko, something he’s doing since his move to Cali. Production on The Seed is shared by North Carolina beat maker Sean Lane (worked with Eyezon and J Ross Parelli), along with Q-Smith, CAV3 and J-Kits.
The last decade has been a tumultuous one for Esko, and The Seed is a testament to the growth that resulted from the chaos. Drawing inspiration from acts like Gnarls Barkley, Pink Floyd, Andre 3000, Lupe Fiasco, and Portishead, Esko documents the events in North Carolina that preceded the westward move with raw emotion, introspective lyrics and creative delivery.
Though new to most, Esko isn’t a complete newbie. His debut album, Behind The Shades was released in 2006; His EP The Floor Model followed in 2009. Esko has been featured on Hip-Hopdx, Urb.com and Hoodgrown, among other press outlets.
In 2010, Esko, fed up with the limitations of a small town like Raleigh, N.C., he decided to move to Los Angeles, California, a place he had heard about in rap lyrics.
“My mother was so protective of me as a kid,” recalls Esko, who says there was no music allowed in his household growing up and he spent hours in his room reading books. Luckily, hip-hop found him, he adds, while attending high school. Soon, the self-professed class clown was consumed with sneaking music while at school on a walkman and writing comical rhymes based on his own personal experiences.
“It was something fun to do between classes,” Esko recalls. “Me and my homie would write during class and then have little battles and compare verses. It grew from funny joke verses to little songs.”
When Esko arrived for his freshman year at North Carolina A&T University he heard the beats that hip-hop producer Sean Lane was making down the hall. “I needed to rhyme over those beats, they were too dope to walk away from,” Esko recalls of meeting Lane.
Esko’s style is all his own: it’s multi-dimensional, influenced by MCs such as Andre 3000, Method Man, Eminem and Busta Rhymes, who were as serious and introspective as they were comical.
Once in L.A., he found the inspiration for what he plans to be a three-part series of releases, representing different stages of personal growth.
The first in the series, The Seed, drops August 23, 2012.