Rapper SPEAK Easy delivers soul and spirit on new EP
Milwaukee rapper SPEAK Easy has had his ups and downs during his career on the scene.
His debut album "Well Spoken" was a fun and thought-provoking album that merged the best parts of Milwaukee's North Side and East Side scenes.
At one time he was rumored to be the next in line for addition to the super hero-based hip-hop group House of M, a move that unfortunately never happened due to in-fighting and major fallouts within the rap collective.
The rapper then found kindred spirit and producer/engineer Dave "Audiopilot" Derrilykt and began a new journey that saw him creatively peaking but under-represented as he switched management twice during the recording of his soulful and at times blistering sophomore album, "So To Speak."
The blue-collar emcee has never been one to complain and instead has always been the one to pull himself up by the boot straps out of his love for music, which has led him to being a positive spirit in the Milwaukee hip-hop community – and the Milwaukee community in general through his "day" job.
Recently the "Midwest monster" dropped a new EP called "I'm Just Saying" after teaming with Uni.Fi Records, a label that also features KingHellBastard and each member's side projects, Lab Experiment, Fresh Cut Collective and others.
The new EP features a heavy dose of the soul sound SPEAK Easy used on a good portion of his last album and smooths out the rougher edges the emcee has been known to employ at times.
On the heels of his co-release party, which also featured KingHellBastard's celebration of the release of their new project, SPEAK Easy talked with OnMilwaukee.com about his new EP, the theme of his projects and teaming with Uni.Fi.
OnMilwaukee.com: Why did you decide to release an EP of all-new material so close on the heels of your album "So To Speak?"
SPEAK Easy: I'm always making music and I was hit with a wave of inspiration to put out something with a smooth vibe to it.
OMC: Your proper, non-mixtape releases have been "Well Spoken," "So To Speak," and now "I'm Just Saying." What leads you to keep running with a play on your stage name for each of your projects?
SE: I look at it as a series; when it is all said and done – no pun intended – one can go back and easily follow my catalog.
OMC: You recently teamed up with Uni.Fi Records. What led to you joining Uni.Fi?
SE: Joining Uni.Fi came about naturally as most of my friendships and relationships do. It was mutual respect and passion for the art form as well as the goal to put out quality music from Milwaukee.
OMC: What did you want to give listeners on "I'm Just Saying" that they didn't get on "Well Spoken" and "So To Speak?"
SE: My main focus was to remain consistent in delivering a solid project but then I wanted to carry out a theme throughout the entire EP, the theme being the element of soul. That is something that I hadn't done on previous projects.
OMC: You make hip-hop for grown-ups. Do you find that your listening audience is a bit more of a mature age or are you able to draw in the youth as well?
SE: I just make music from the heart. I've recently found out that I have a presence with younger listeners as well. At times I think local hip-hop artists underestimate the musical taste of younger listeners just because of their age. They won't know if we don't reach out to them. In some of my volunteer work I've met youth that listen to everything from Drake to Talib Kweli, let alone other genres. Ironically, by the time people read this, I will have performed at a talent show for youth, raising money for the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign.
OMC: What's next for SPEAK Easy?
SE: More dope music. I'm already working on my next LP. I haven't titled it yet, but my single will drop this spring.
SPEAK Easy's "I'm Just Saying" can be downloaded for free though the Uni.Fi Records website.
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