While some people believe that drill music is on its way out, there are others with their ear to the street and finger of its pulse, that scoff at it. Drill isn’t over … it’s simply reinventing itself with a new feeling and a new voice.
Leading that charge is South Bronx native and Warner Music Group recording artist, Sha EK. The teen phenom has burst on everyone’s radar with chest-pounding confidence and an understanding of his art that rappers, specifically from the Boogie Down, the birthplace of Hip-Hop, usually have.
They create lanes … one of those lanes is being ready to pop off with anyone that wants smoke. Just ask Kodak Black. He and the new artist have been on fire for the last couple of days.
Still, that’s not distracting the one people say is up next. With his debut album, “Face of the What,” AllHipHop.com sat with the artist, on the eve of his big day, for an exclusive interview. Sha EK was filled with smiles bubbling with expectation. Even with the beef with Kodak brewing, the teen star seems cool, focused on his future, and is showing not one sign of anxiety.
AHH: There are a few people saying your name and saying you are one of the brightest stars to come out of the drill movement in a couple of years. So, what’s going on with you?
Sha EK: Thank you. I’m chilling. Just going up and taking everything day by day.
AHH: How long have you been rapping?
Sha EK: 2 years.
AHH: You made the decision to start rapping over the pandemic?
Sha EK: Yeah.
AHH: What sparked that passion for you?
Sha EK: It was boring. We were on lockdown. All I was doing was recording. At the time I was just doing the autotune, not the drill. But once the drill came in, I saw I could do it too. And it worked.
AHH: So, just like that. You started rapping two years ago and already got a deal with a major label? There are people that have been rapping all of their lives and are still stuck. What’s special about you?
Sha EK: My voice. What’s special about me is that I don’t’ sound like nobody.
AHH: How did you curate your sound? And what feedback have gotten from other artists?
Sha EK: Most artists tell me just to keep working, despite me going up faster than most would think I should. They also tell me that they love my music. I also get that I am going in the right direction.
AHH: And the direction of your wave of drill is different from the previous one. Why do you think it is different or you have evolved the subgenre?
Sha EK: The pain in my music is real. It is not difficult to find it. It is the energy in it, all that adds to it.
AHH: But isn’t it pain in all drill music?
Sha EK: Yes, but I take the pain and I balance it off with some softness.
AHH: You must rap for the ladies.
Sha EK: I do. I rap for them a lot.
AHH: So, what is the advantage you have being a drill rapper, that can rap for the streets and rap for the ladies?
Sha EK: You have to remember who gives you the most plays. Your sh#t gonna stay bumping forever if women are listening. I learned that by listening to females and I, not only like music, but I am learning the science behind it. Women make hits.
AHH: Are you a ladies’ man?
Sha EK: I used to be, but I settled down.
AHH: You’re so young and such a new artist … you’re out the gate letting everyone know you got a girl?
Sha EK: That’s a fact.
AHH: So, what’s the process for how you develop music?
Sha EK: I just go in the booth, when I am mad and just rap. I freestyle so everything on my tracks be off the head. Really, it is however the day is going. That’s what it’s going to be. That’s how I rap.
AHH: So, you’re from the Bronx. What part of the Bronx are you from?
Sha EK: I’m from the South Bronx.
AHH: Oh … where Hip-Hop was born. What is it like to have that type of legacy on your back?
Sha EK: It is exciting. I mean, I am bringing it back. We about the heat up and let people know the Bronx is in motion.
AHH: Have you met any of the O.G. rappers from the borough?
Sha EK: Not yet. I am still new to the game and haven’t met a lot of people yet. But I did a joint to Fat Joe’s “Lean Back.” I hope one day, I get to meet some of them.
AHH: What was it that got people talking about you?
Sha EK: It was organic. I was just talking sh#t. Rapping. Trolling people. It is also my energy. My personality be shining. People really seem to know me, and that relatability got me here today.
AHH: So, how did you get your deal?
Sha EK: My friends encouraged me to rap, and so, after everybody started getting signed, I watched. I learned. I figured it out. I was posting my own music on United Masters, Instagram, Apple, and YouTube.
I was getting millions of streams. On United Masters alone, I had eight million streams. But then my TikTok went crazy. When I dropped “D&D” and people started seeing me, my stock went up.
We dropped “D&D” and three months later, I saw mad people tagging me. It went viral.
Then, I met my son, Noodles and we started looking at labels. Actually, they started looking at us. I just picked Warner Bros. It seemed like the best fit for me. Plus, I can drop whenever I want.
I was getting paid independently, but now that I am signed, the money different.
AHH: How big was your deal with Warner Music Group?
Sha EK: It was a little big, a little bit. Especially for me. I just come out of the trenches. I never had nothing.
AHH: So, I am guessing you’ve moved from the South Bronx.
Sha EK: Yeah, I am in New Jersey now.
Getting signed, I was actually able to do something for my mom, my sister, my brother … everybody. My whole team. Everybody’s lives have been changed.
AHH: Warner Music Group seems to be life-changing. Consider the history. Bruh, Madonna was on Warner. What was it like, the day, when you got signed?
Sha EK: I was dumb-hyped. I was like, it’s over now. My mom was there. My sister was too. My girl.
AHH: With that big check, we hope you got a business manager and is not out here just spending money on gold and platinum (iced out) chains.
Sha EK: I don’t have no chains, but I did get a Cartier watch. I got me a ring and my girlfriend some earrings. I bought clothes. I bought a crib.
AHH: And how old were you?
Sha EK: I was 18 when I signed. I am 19 now.
AHH: Did you graduate from high school?
Sha EK: No … I stopped once I got signed.
AHH: So, COVID hits and you’re a student. So, you put all your energy into making music. You get signed to a big deal. You move out the hood. Why were you picked?
Sha EK: Because I believe. I got faith in God. God be on my side. So, I already know I am going to make it.
AHH: So, who are your “Top Five Rappers?”
Sha EK: Lil Durk, Chief Keef, NBA Youngboy, Roddy Ricch, and Lil Baby. I f### with them because they never stopped. They keep going and pushing through obstacles. So, I feel like I’m the same way.
AHH: No New York artists?
Sha EK: Lil TJay. I grew up with him.
AHH: What was Lil TJay like?
Sha EK: He was bad, running around, fighting all types of people. But he also helped me. Bro, helped me get to where I am today. Shout out to him and we hope he feels better.
AHH: What can we expect from you and your new project, “Facer of the What?”
Sha EK: Greatness. Expect Greatness. I am turning up and it is never going to stop. I’m about to change the world.