Intellectual and rapper don’t usually go hand-in-hand. But good luck trying to find another way to describe Los Angeles-based rapper EaSway, who drops his first single “All Yours” today from his debut EP The Panther in the Room.
Born Easweh Harrison in San Francisco, EaSway grew up near the old ’49ers stadium. EaSway was raised in the projects by a single mom, learning a strong work ethic and resilience within the city.
It didn’t take him long to find his passion for music, especially after visiting his older half-brother in D.C. “When I was 11, I found this blank CD back when you could only listen to songs on a Walkman,” EaSway explained. “And I was like ‘what is this?!’ I randomly put it into my Walkman and heard my brother’s voice on it. Like any younger brother, I just wanted to do what he was doing.”
EaSway quickly confronted his brother and joined forces with him to rap too. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I was garbage,” EaSway joked. “But I was a confident 11 year old.” He then began to rap over popular songs and fell in love with the art form.
EaSway’s family soon recognized his ability. His godfather, a recording engineer for Skywalker Sound, gave him a mic set and sound system his freshman year of high school. “He was super supportive of my dreams,” EaSway mused. “I got to stop using GarageBand and stepped up to a better recording studio.”
His rap at the time, according to EaSway, was more “cheery.” But his talent was undeniable. EaSway blew up soon thereafter, and headlined a show at San Francisco famed Boz Scaggs venue Slim’s. “I was a 17 year old with 2K in my pocket from making songs in my bedroom,” EaSway reminisced. “That’s when it started getting serious.”
Fast forward and EaSway is now a 22 year-old University of Southern California student with an academic background in Neuroscience and Social Sciences with a Psychology emphasis.”I’m educated as f**k,” EaSway joked.
The charismatic 22 year-old, humble and funny in conversation. His maturity and charm makes him wiser beyond his years. “When you’ve been making music for half your life, it ages you. I feel like I’ve been in the game so long,” EaSway said. The hands-on artist writes all of his own lyrics and music. “I can’t imagine a world when you hear musician and they’re not writing their own songs,” EaSway. “Back in 1920, there weren’t any poets who weren’t writing their own poems.” EaSway’s poetic lyrics about social change, discrimination, and identity propel his music past just catchy rap: he is making a difference.
His icon, Kendrick Lamar, embodies the link between art and politics that EaSway strives to achieve. “I think Kendrick is the Tupac Shaukur of our generation,” EaSway explained. “I look for poetics a lot for my inspiration. Music can sound appealing and nice but I try to find inspiration in the words that they use.” He also credits Frank Ocean and up-and-coming rapper Smino from St. Louis (“I think he’s the new Andre 3000”) as inspiring artists as well. But for his lyrics, EaSway looks inward. “I find inspiration from living within myself,” EaSway perfectly said. “I just try to appreciate everything. When you appreciate the deep breath you take in a day, you notice and appreciate the little things, and that’s what it takes to right a song: notice the nuances of life. I try to open myself up as much as possible.”
EaSway’s artistry isn’t just limited to his music. The rapper paints all of his own album artwork, and plans on selling the pieces to donate to public schools in need of arts funding. His sense of giving back to those in need emphasizes the political grace that he carries himself with. And as he grows and lives, so does his music. “Every single new song I make is my favorite song. That’s the goal of an artist,” EaSway stated. “If what you’re making isn’t the favorite that you made, then you’re not improving.”
That is not a concern for EaSway fans. Check out EaSway’s talent in his new single “All Yours” on Soundcloud. His EP The Panther in the Room drops on November 21.