Ez Mil, the rapper signed to Dr. Dre and Eminem, was born in the 25th year of Hip-Hop culture, the proverbial middle point. During that time, the genre experienced a renaissance, coming out of the deaths of Biggie and 2Pac. The Filipino-American artist is experiencing his own breakthrough, first with the impact of his track “Panalo” then with “Up Down (Step & Walk),” which got Eminem’s attention, and now “The Realest,” the huge collaboration with Slim Shady himself. Remarkably, at the age of 25, he achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the first Filipino artist (and only the third rapper following in the footsteps of 50 Cent and Stat Quo) to sign with Shady Records, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records.
Hailing from Olongapo, Ez didn’t come out of thin air; his roots trace back to a unique musical lineage. His father, Paul Sapiera, is a famed figure in the band RockStar and his mother also actively participates in the music industry. Even his younger Raynn is in the family business. All of this and more helped shape his upbringing. Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur and the future legend talk shop.
AllHipHop: The song “27 Bodies” is a more hardcore song, a little more angry. What’s that song about?
Ez Mil: Oh, man. I would say the violence I went through, just growing up in the Philippines. Because a lot of the things, I’m just happy to still be here, being able to say what I say. And a lot of the social issues that goes on within … What I felt like, I kind of branched it off of more what I felt for the Philippines, and then later on in the song, it went to English because this is where I am right now. So I just melded it all into that because … yeah.
AllHipHop: I saw one comment and it said, “This guy is basically four different great artists rolled into one.” I was like, “Wow, that was a great compliment.” You sing as well. Do you have a preference? Your singing is not like some people sing and it’s kind of like, just rap, just rap. But your singing actually holds up. Do you prefer one or the other?
Ez Mil: I wouldn’t say that, no. I don’t prefer one or the other because I feel like one can mesh with the other one. And one has its place as well when it needs to be and one will have its place when it needs to be. So if I had a preference, probably in the styles of singing and in the styles of rapping, and preferences when they join together. So sing rapping, that’s about it.
AllHipHop: Got you. So here’s one question that we ask everybody. We’ve asked this question forever. Who are your top five dead or alive rappers? And we’ll just put Eminem and A$AP, they’re in the halls of fame for you. We’ve talked about them so much, so we’ll say top seven or eight or whatever. But yeah, those guys are already in there. And to make this easier, you can just say who are your most influential artists? I’ll even give you this, if you want to say other people, you can say them too. It doesn’t have to be rappers.
Ez Mil: Top five that are alive. Oh my gosh. Right, right, right. So let’s probably put it at a eight. We already got the three that I mentioned. Anderson .Paak.
AllHipHop: OK, OK.
Ez Mil: Nipsey Hussle.
AllHipHop: Nipsey Hussle, OK. Rest in peace, Nipsey. He just had a birthday.
Ez Mil: Tech N9ne.
AllHipHop: Tech N9ne, I got to give you a round of applause for that one. Yeah, he doesn’t get nearly enough credit. His name does not get mentioned enough. Tech N9ne’s an amazing artist.
Ez Mil: For real, bro. Like mogul. So Anderson .Paak, Nipsey Hussle, Tech N9ne, Hopsin.
AllHipHop: Hopsin, another one. I’m seeing a trend here. Now I’m seeing a slight trend. Those guys are darker, a little on the darker side of things. And witty too. Kind of in the same spirit as classic Eminem. Yeah. All right, we got one more.
Ez Mil: Dang. Damn, I would have to check my playlist.
AllHipHop: OK, it’s all good. I do that too, actually. Not too much about my top five, but when they say, “Who’s hot right now?” And I’m like, “Let me look at what I’m listening to.”Who would you like to work with going forward? Obviously, Kendrick, Em’s already happened.
Ez Mil: I would say the list that I’ve just said, man. Because the only way they all want to go about this music thing, if I’m collaborating, it’s someone who I really mess with or someone who I really look up to. Because at the end of the day, if you’re someone that I really mess with in this day of age, there’s something about how you moving around and what you’re doing, what’s your thing, that I would want to have experience with and have a look. And same goes for the idols and the bucket list of that meant … that aspect though, learning. Learning what they have done with the game.
AllHipHop: Do you have a crew? Are there any other rappers behind you that are waiting to tap in?
Ez Mil: A couple, A couple. Even not just here in Vegas, also back home in the Philippines.
AllHipHop: That’s kind of what I meant.
Ez Mil: Yeah. Yeah. In the Philippines there’s a couple of us, man. Like Hood 047. And I just chalk it up to that. And also good friend from Cape Town, Michael Bars in South Africa. And yeah, bro, so that’s where I would feel the gist of the rappers are up next, I feel.
AllHipHop: Got you. Got you. What about a singing duet? Anybody out there you might want to sing with?
Ez Mil: CB.
AllHipHop: Who’s that? Oh, Chris Brown?
Ez Mil: Yes, sir. You asked in terms of singing preference… in terms of singing? His latest song is fire, bro.
AllHipHop: That’s tight. So you’re just starting, but I mean we all have our long-term dreams too. In, let’s say 10 years, we’re not going to go too far, where would you like to be in 10 years?
Ez Mil: 10. Probably have a couple lots [land]. Yeah, a couple big lots here and back home in the Philippines, but of course still making music in those lots.
AllHipHop: Yeah, of course. That’s what’s up. That’s what’s up.
Ez Mil: I’ll probably be trying to experiment on some … Because getting the lot, bro, I’ll probably be doing some sound design-type stuff with all that space, like ding. OK, that sounds different. Ding, just using the reverb.
AllHipHop: All right, anything else? I mean is there anything else you wanted to address or discuss or get off your chest?
Ez Mil: DU4LI7Y:REDUX out right now with the GOAT (Eminem).