Drill rapper Sha EK visited the Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) to sit and talk with about 20 students from the Brooklyn cohort of Usher’s New Look (UNL) nonprofit organization.
As the world celebrates Hip-Hop’s 50th Anniversary, younger artists are becoming more aware of the history that came before them— while giving back to those coming up after them.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Bronx-based artist, whose latest project debuted a #1 on Billboard Heatseekers, toured the Hip-Hop museum in his hometown. He marveled as his manager schooled him on the impact of the Bronx, including how this borough is where all of rap music got its start.
After seeing the exclusive archive, he talked about his life experiences and what it is like for him as a teen to be one of the hottest artists out. The students at UNL were all ears.
“Did you think you would be this big in rap?” a UNL member asked.
The “Everything K” artist said, “Nah, because where I come from, nobody getting this far. But after I seen other people making it, I just knew I could do it.”
One of the things he shared with the group is that he has made an effort to clean up some of his lyrics so that he can make music for all people to listen to, especially his daughter. The rapper understands that the lyrics can lead to unnecessary violence (he even said “stop the violence” while speaking) and said he refrained from putting people’s names in his music.
A disruptivator asked if he could “redo” his choices, and which ones would he change, Sha EK answered, “I would redo a lot of stuff,” adding that being a lot of [negative] people didn’t help him.
“I regret chilling with mad people, but I don’t regret mad stuff I did because that’s what got me here today,” he concluded.
Marcus Bazemore, a staffer at Usher’s New Look, said, “For me, as the Program Coordinator, hearing about our youth’s experiences and being there at times while they try to figure out how to navigate life, this moment filled me joy. Simply because, there are so many entities in their lives that can leave them feeling defeated, pessimistic, or questioning their own greatness.”
“However, when they have an opportunity to see and speak to one of their biggest influences, who come from similar condition, share his experiences with doubt, and other challenges they can relate to, it will, for sure have a lasting impact on them,” he continued. “They’ve already begun having discussions about how to face their fears and tackle their goals. So, the interaction they had with Sha EK is already leading to blossoming ideas that will result in their success.”
Before the session was over, Sha EK shared he was dropping new music in the next month. The kids went wild, anxious about getting new music.