No matter what city, state, or country you represent, there is no denial that Hip Hop would not exist without New York City. The Big Apple is the initial site where the culture grew from neighborhood parties to a global phenomenon. More specifically, the borough of the Bronx is most often credited as the location that spawned what became known as Hip Hop.
A rising emcee from the BX is looking to put his uptown locale back on the rap map. Tasheeme “Euro League” Goings has been putting in work over the last several years with buzzworthy tracks like “Social Network,” “Magazine Vs Magazine,” and “Gold Chains In A Dungeon.” The product of the Bronx’s Roosevelt High School has even found his name next to noted lyricists like Lupe Fiasco and Joey Bada$$ in The Source/Genius’ “Lyrics Of The Week” series.
Euro is now out to prove he is one of the best rappers in NYC with his latest music collection Euro Trip Continuum, Vol. 1. The EP is wrapped in references to spirituality, freedom, destiny, stardom, and morality. Continuum explores the question: how does an artist balance those personal ideals as more public eyes focus on him and his success?
The project also does not fall short on displaying Euro’s confidence in his abilities. One line from the opening cut “Kill All Kings” even serves as a response to Kendrick Lamar’s much-talked about 2013 “Control” verse where the West Coast rhymer threw down the gauntlet to his rap peers and claimed to be “The King Of New York.”
AlHipHop.com spoke with Euro League about the themes presented on Euro Trip Continuum as well as his open challenge to K. Dot. Find out what the man who performs under the moniker Enlighten Under Rule & Oppression has to say in this exclusive interview.
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What is the concept behind Euro Trip Continuum?
I released a project in 2011 called Euro Trip. This is the second installment to that. I chose to make it a series. Euro Trip Continuum is where the first one leaves off.
The first one was more of me entering a dreamscape, letting people know these are my dreams and aspirations. At the conclusion of that project you hear a voice say, “Relax Euro. Open your eyes.” So Continuum is my reality.
This is everything I went through in my reality – waking up from those dreams, looking at reality, and approaching everything from that perspective. The concept is bringing people into a more realistic state with me.
Are you planning more sequels?
Yes, initially I planned to have 10 tracks as one release. But then I had analyze the Hip Hop audience today, and I understood that their attention span is not as large as it used to be.
The substance I have in my music is very deep, so to put 10 tracks of that much substance on a project from an up-and-coming artist – I didn’t want people to take a 10 track project and say, “I only like 3 tracks, so I’ll wait to his next project to see where he’s at.”
I wanted them to have a full experience and digest the whole project the way it needed to be. So I broke it down into two parts. I’m going to release volume 2 in the next few months or at the top of 2016.
Why did you decide to address spirituality and religion so heavily on the EP?
As I got older, I started to really see and understand the world around me. I saw that people were lacking faith. I understood that one of the things that people don’t know is themselves.
I see so many people know about materialistic things and everything else but themselves. I just wanted people to know before anything, you should know yourself. Once you know yourself, everything else comes into play.
I’m not a religious person, and I’m not against religion. But I want people to understand that everyone is entitled to a relationship with God. Just because you’re not part of a religious organization doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from having a relationship with God.
I have a personal relationship with God, and I feel like everyone is entitled to that. So when I say certain things about the Catholic church on “Violence”, I’m not against it. I’m just saying we’re all human beings and entitled to that spiritual relationship with God.
“Kill All Kings” is an interesting title. It could be interpreted in different ways. Can you talk about your thought process for that track?
The idea came from a song I did called “Gold Chains In The Dungeon.” In the song, I have a bar that goes, “My AKA is KAK. Kill all kings, topple tyrants, I’m with violence.” That’s one of the bars people always highlighted.
As time went on I started to understand a lot of artists are looking at things with that king mind state, like “I’m King This, I’m King That.” I feel like kings get their power and authority from keeping people down. They only feel good about themselves because people look up to them.
I wanted to kill that way of thinking for everyone, because as long as people aspire to be kings, they have to put people down. I don’t feel that’s going to give us the best outcome.
What I do want people to do is embrace the god and goddess in them. Gods don’t have to put people down to feel good about themselves. Gods are naturally helpers and givers. I wanted to kill that mind state of people wanting to be kings and embrace that godliness within them.
On the song, you mention Kendrick Lamar by name. He famously declared himself the King of New York and the King of the West Coast on “Control.” You talked about how you feel kings put people down. Do you feel when Kendrick made that statement it was something negative for Hip Hop?
No, I don’t think that was bad. To be honest, I feel like he’s asking for competition. He was trying to get the best out of Hip Hop. I’m such a lyricist and real emcee that I know where that energy comes from. He’s saying, “I’m going to say something that will tick people off, and if you really feel you’re that good then you’re going to have to say something back.”
Since I’m not with a major label or don’t have the same support as some of these artists he specifically called out, if I made a response people wouldn’t really pay attention to it. I am the one artist that made Kendrick say, “This n*gga’s dead nice.”
I ain’t knocking him, but I would come through and body Kendrick. I would body him on some real lyrical sh*t. The main issue was my own city. My own city wouldn’t have supported me the way I needed it to if I had come out and said that. They would have just said, “He’s not signed to a label. He doesn’t have records on the radio in regular rotation.”
Do you feel like New York radio doesn’t show enough love to homegrown talent?
I feel like they don’t, but I understand the business behind it. I can’t knock it. The people who work for the radio station don’t call the shots. They’re just carrying out the commands. I think the people are confused to think that someone who’s a radio personality or programmer has the power to play whatever they want. That’s not really what it is.
So yes, I do feel like they don’t support us, but I do understand why they can’t if they tried to. But at the same time, they can’t just say to artists that are talented and putting in work, “Since you’re not signed to a major record label, you’re not qualified to represent New York right.”
They’re looking at me like, “The only way we’re ever gonna acknowledge you is if you’re sign to a major label deal.” That was never part of my plan on how I wanted to approach the music business. I do feel like at this point I do have more support from a lot of people. Not as much as I’d like, but definitely much more.
I have people watching. I let people know, like Kendrick, if you really want this competition then I’ve always been here. He and his company know I’ve always been here. The producer of “Gold Chains In The Dungeon” is the same producer of “I’m Dying Of Thirst” off his classic album [good kid, m.A.A.d. city].
We shot videos for Ab-Soul’s “Black Lip Bastard (Black Hippy Remix).” I watched MP [Williams] edit that video. They shot that video with our camera. These are things my company, ReeLife Music Group, has done for TDE. They’ve been watching.
It’s not to disrespect Kendrick. It’s to say, “You’re not the only one who really does these bars, and you know that. So if you really wanted competition, you can’t look at the people in your league. You have to come at these people that really do these bars.”
If he really wants it, he can get it. I really do this. I will body him on a music level and on a business level. I started my own company. So when you compare Euro League to Kendrick Lamar – yeah, they’re both dope lyricists, but after that I got a whole list of sh*t. He didn’t start Top Dawg Entertainment. I started ReeLife Music Group.
I started that in the Bronx where a lot of people throw shade on my borough. We’re the birthplace of Hip Hop. We’re the reason why he can even have a career. You have to look at it for what it really is: this guy Euro League has all this other stuff. Kendrick is a dope artist. But after that, what else does he have to say?
Do you plan to shoot videos for Euro Trip Continuum?
I’m going to try to shoot videos to all of the songs. I have a couple of directors that are working on some visuals. I have a video director for “Find Me,” and I’m working on a video for “Mr. Goings Nowhere.” I may do a video for “God Rite.”
After the music videos, I’m putting together a 5-8 minute documentary about the whole project, my inspiration for making these songs, and the ups and downs I was going through while I was making this project. The documentary is about where I come from and my rap battle days in high school and college. I feel like more than a music video, you’re going to get people to understand [with the film]. It really brings them into my life.
Where do you see Mr. Goings going in five years?
Mr. Goings is going to be legendary. I’m already legendary. I just have to show the world. I have to make sure they see it. I’m going to be legendary, I’m going to put out a few classic projects, and I’m going to be responsible for ushering in the most prominent Hip Hop production company as well.
I’m going to do a lot of good in the world. I’m probably going to be one of the most enlightening emcees that is in Hip Hop – just coming from my story, my situation, and what I’ve built with what I’ve had. I took that pain and negativity and turned it into something great, in the hardest city to do that in on the planet Earth.
At the end of that day, I just want to help people. I’m going to be the best representative of Hip Hop and the power of Hip Hop music.
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Follow Euro League on Twitter @iameuroleague and Instagram @iameuroleague.
Stream Euro League’s Euro Trip Continuum, Vol. 1 and download the exclusive BitTorrent Bundle below.