Following the release of his brand new EP called ''DRIVE'', we took a moment to have a chat with Montreal hip-hop veteran ES.KAY. Formerly known as CeasRock, the artist returns after an absence of several years with a new name.
You just released your first EP under the name of ES.KAY. How’s this project different from your past one called Ceasrock?
I felt like I had evolved as an artist and as a person. With Ceasrock, it was a younger me..It was graffiti, rap and street shit. I wanted to have an identity that could connect all of the different types of mediums I was using now, my present self. Something that was closer to my actual person and not an alias that was tied to an old version of me. I wanted a signature that would tie everything together. SK are the initials to my actual name, so that was my way of bringing it full circle.
The EP was produced by Rami. B, who’s also part of Planet Giza. What was it like working with each other?
Rami And I have been working on music together for a while now. We've made a lot of songs that were never released, but we always enjoyed the process. Like, we do do this shit because we both love the culture so much and you can feel it. Thats my lil bro but he's an old soul when it comes to music so he knows how to tap into the essence of shit I like to do. It's really a balance of classical and modern hip hop when we connect. Plus he's hella versatile so there's always so many more places we can take it.
What do you think about the integrity of the anglo hip-hop scene in Québec?
I think we have made progress in the last few years. There's always been a lot of talent, but the infrastructure wasn't really there and it's still underdeveloped in comparison to the french side. Some anglo acts in the city have shown the ability to produce quality music, but the consistency and business side of things has been lacking (myself included). Obviously, the internet has made it so that it really doesn't matter where you are based out of anymore. If the music and the team behind the artist is on point, then it will travel and reach the audience it needs to. I'm not gonna lie, there is a mentality here that is a bit small minded still and I think it's because no one has seen a blueprint that works. But at the end of the day, that's our problem but not an excuse.
Being also a photographer, you’re furthermore involved in a community project called La Rue Inspire. What does it consist of?
My work with La Rue Inspire is much more than photography. I contribute with design, writing, narrationand conceptualization, depending on the project. LRI is a way for us to give back to the community while showing people that community work doesn't have to be "granola", you know. It's really a team effort for every aspect of it and everyone does their part so that we can offer the best outcomes to the people.
What artists have you discovered lately?
My homie played some of the Stove God Cooks project and that shit was crazy, so I'm gonna dive deeper into that. Also, I just discovered this rapper out of LA called Cruisalino, I'm looking forward to hearing more from him. And just recently I was put on to Odunsi (The Engine), this artist from Nigeria that is putting out some really quality music and visuals.