In an era where entertainment is full of gimmicks it has become a rarity to find someone who does not conform to trends but rather sets their own. Rapping was a hobby at age 12, taken seriously by age 18, and 10 years later Erk Tha Jerk has paid his dues and is definitely putting on for his city. The Rich City [Richmond, CA] rapper is certainly someone that has something refreshing to contribute to Hip-Hop. From his original productions, to his witty verses and melodic hooks, Erk is an all around artist. With his hometown on his back, Erk Tha Jerk is taking his own route to success and continues making singles that solidify why he deserves every achievement he acquires. MusicErk Tha Jerk Hood Nerd 2 FreestyleErk Tha Jerk Married 2 The MoneyAllHipHop: The hyphy movement was so big for the Bay that people dont expect anything else from a Bay Area rapper. How do you debunk that stigmatism?Erk Tha Jerk: I think people need to realize things come and go in every aspect of life. So when it comes to the bay area and the music scene outsiders need to understand “hyphy” is only one side of “us”AllHipHop: You started out in a group about seven years ago, right?Erk Tha Jerk: Ummm I was solo at first then joined “Kali Fam” 3 or 4 years later.AllHipHop: What made you start to take the craft seriously?Erk Tha Jerk: Other peoples reaction to my music. People that knew me were always encouraging me to make CDs and put out more and more songs.AllHipHop: Who were your musical influences, from your town and elsewhere?Erk Tha Jerk: Rappin Ron, Too $hort and 40 influenced me. Jay-Z, Cee-Lo, Redman and Eminem also influenced me.AllHipHop: Youre known for production as well as artistry, which is your first love?Erk Tha Jerk: Rap is definitely my 1st love! Production is great but there’s nothing like writing a dope verse or a good R&B song.AllHipHop: What collaborations have you done thus far?Erk Tha Jerk: I’ve worked with alot artist from here at home. In fear of not naming them all let’s just say. Every city and it’s factors have had production or a verse from me. Oakland (Too $hort, Richie Rich), San Francisco (San Quinn, Big Rich), Richmond (Laroo, Erk Tha Jerk) East Palo Alto (Hood Starz) now just waiting on a collaboration with the Big Homie E-40AllHipHop: What inspired the 2007 release of the HoodNerd mixtape?Erk Tha Jerk: I was tired of the bullsh*t. Niggas out here are afraid of being themselves, so I felt like the music I was making was what was needed for us to get away from the non senseAllHipHop: Is the HoodNerd a nickname or an alter ego?Erk Tha Jerk: More like a state of mind. It’s something that I am. A ni**a from the hood that acts and feels like an average Joe, somewhat of a nerdfora lack of a better word.AllHipHop: Was the HoodNerd a good student? Erk Tha Jerk: In elementary I was an excellent student, in middle school I was an okay student, high school is where it began to go downhill but it was because I didnt try, so I ended up doing all of the necessary work during senior year and ended up graduating with something like a 3.0 GPA. AllHipHop: What is your biggest accomplishment as a musician and as a man? Erk Tha Jerk: As a musician, when the right here single reached 76 spins a week. It reached number 1 and was being played more than any other song in the Bay Area. It was the number one song in the bay area. As a man: balancing still being a father and while making great music. Not neglecting my parental responsibilities just because people know my name. AllHipHop: How have things changed for you since that break out period, wherepeople began recognizing you for holding your own?Erk Tha Jerk: It has been bitter sweet. The people that have known you the longest act like you’ve changed when it’s really them who have changed. But people whonow listen to my music show love. Its all kinda strange I guess. I ain’t really the spot light type of dude.AllHipHop: You had the Pleasure of having your most recent video shot by Taj who has done videos for Nas, LL Cool J, Ludacris, Usher, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, and a huge roster of talent, how did you two team up?Erk Tha Jerk: Taj is from the bay so when he heard my song Right Here was #1 he hit me and wanted to do it. I was definitely with it. Hes a very talented dude. We almost had to do it for the Bay.
AllHipHop: When we caught up with Taj to ask him about you, he said, In my mind, Erk is one of those talents that Hip-Hop is forced to cherish. He is who he actually says he is. That’s a rare thing. How does it feel to have such respect from your industry peers? Erk Tha Jerk: It makes me feel like Im being understood for exactly what Im putting out there. There are a lot of people that think Im something Im not. Im not complicated, Im not preaching. All of this is exactly what it appears to be. AllHipHop: Whats next for Erk?Erk Tha Jerk: More music, major deals, more money, no problems [laughter]. Just hard work that’s all. Whatever is meant to be will be.AllHipHop: Anything else you want to share with the readers?Erk Tha Jerk: Download the mixtape HoodNerd 2 from erkthajerk.blogspot.com. Get the “Right Here” EP from iTunes (available February 23, 2010). Watch the video for “Right Here” on YouTube now!!! And keep hope alive. Visit Erk Tha Jerk atwww.myspace.com/erkthajerktwitter.com/erkthajerk