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WYDU Interview: Edgar Allen Floe

by Travis on October 7, 2008

Once you hear the name, you can’t forget it. Edgar Allen Floe is one of the mainstays for the North Carolina collective, The Justus League. I caught on to the Justus League fairly early on, after being part of the Little Brother and 9th Wonder craze that took off in early 2002. From there, I went on to discover Cesar Comanche and others from the Justus League Bootlegs (Volumes one through ten or so) that could be found on file sharing sites such as Napster and Audio Galaxy during that same year. Of course EAF’s name stood out and I quickly developed a fondness for his music.

After releasing several projects over the past three years, Floe is finally dropping his proper debut album, The Streetwise, which will be out on iTunes later this month and in stores in November. If it’s anything like the free mixtape, Road to the Streetwise, it should be a damn good album. With the JL affiliates helping the cause, it’s one of the albums I’m looking forward to in this chock full fourth quarter.

We sat down with EAF and rapped about his past, his present and his future…..

Edgar Allen Floe: “The Road to Streetwise” DOWNLOAD NOW!!!
Download HERE: http://www.zshare.net/download/1843053352427af6/

WYDU: Hey Floe, thanks again for taking the time to chill with us, for those of us that are living underneath a rock, can you introduce yourself and tell us where you represent?

Edgar Allen Floe: No problem Trav. I go by the name Edgar Allen Floe, 1/15th of the North Carolina Hip Hop Collective, The Justus League. The Justus League crew began in 1999, and you may have heard of some of our more established acts, like 9th Wonder and Little Brother. But whose up next?!!? Yours truly! (laughs)

W: It’s always fun to see people’s reaction when they hear your name for the first time. Most of the time, they say, “That’s a dope name!”, so obviously it’s something that sticks in a person’s mind. Was that part of the idea when coming up with the name? And of course, inquiring minds want to know how you originally got the name.

EAF: Well, the name was given to me by my partner-in-rhyme, Mal Demolish. This was years ago, and he said the name as kind of a joke. But I liked how it sounded, so I decided to stick with it. When people hear the name Edgar Allen Floe, about 95% of them say “Oh wow…That’s a dope name!” But there’s that 5% that say it’s the wackest name in hip hop (laughs). It’s cool though…You can’t please everybody. I just don’t like those kats that won’t give the music a chance, just because they don’t like the name. How can you call yourself a hip hop fan with those kinds of prejudices? That’s wack. I’ve heard a LOT of names that I thought were wack…But with some of them, the music is dope, so who cares about what they call themselves. Ol’ Dirty Bastard!??!! Shorty Shit Stain!??!?! You know what I mean? Dirty is a legend and Shorty Shit Stain was dope on Dirty’s first album.

W: You’ve also gone by the name Slicemysta in the past. What’s the difference between Slicemysta and EAF?

EAF: Slicemysta is more of the producer side of me now. It was the first name that I started out with. But basically, Floe is the emcee, and Slicemysta is the producer/engineer/video director. I wear a lot of hats, so I wanted to keep both names to help show my diversity.

W: NC has developed a very close community among the artists, especially with the Justus League and HOJ conglomerates. How and why is NC so very close and supportive of each other?

EAF: Well, when we were all helping out with building the scene, the majority of the artists knew that we all had to link up one way or another. So, we would all get together and put together shows and events. But just like any other scene, you have your egos, jealousy, and envy. But for the most part, NC artists respect each other, and that definitely helped make NC a place to look out for. I think we need to keep that going though. If we did more collaborations, or pool money together for new projects, it would help everyone involved. Maybe we’ll see more of this within the scene eventually.

W: How did you come into the whole Justus League, with LB, Cesar and the rest? What is your background history? How did you get into the game itself?

EAF: I met 9th Wonder in 1997, and kats like Cesar Comanche, Median, and a few others in 1999. Comanche is from the same hometown as me, Jacksonville, NC. So, we knew some of the same people from back home, even though we never met each other. I’ve been recording music since 1996, and would always show up at any hip hop related event in the area. Once the Justus League began in ’99, we all continued to do shows and perform. I’ve opened up for kats lik
e KRS-ONE, Black Moon, Tha Alkaholiks, Guru, and Prince Paul.

I basically got serious with the music around 2002, and eventually started dropping solo projects in 2005. I have an EP called “True Links”, “Floe Almighty”, “Floe Almighty: The Remixture”, and I just put out a mixtape last month called “The Road To Streetwise”. My official debut album “The Streetwise LP” will be on iTunes October 28th and in stores November 11th.

W: I talked to the members of Kooley High and Halo about this already, but how do you view the sound coming out of North Carolina? What can we expect in the future from NC? Anyone we should be keeping an eye out?

EAF: Look out for this dude named Edgar Allen Floe!!! (laughs) Nah, for real…The NC sound is pretty diverse. We have a variety of artists out here. I wish, though, we could weed out the kats that haven’t paid any dues. I’m starting to notice even some of the younger kats have egos. But that’s the nature of the game, I guess. Very few kats don’t know how to remain humble, and it’s kind of sad. But whatever, to each his own. At the same time, there are a wide variety of dope NC artists to check for. Like I said, we have a lot of diversity, so depending on what styles you like, there’s something for everybody. I can’t really name any names, because I don’t want to leave anybody out. I’m actually thinking about putting out a compilation of NC artists and producers, to help them get some exposure. We’ll see how that goes.

W: You also represent The Undefined. Who is in The Undefined and how do they come into the whole equation of EAF world domination?

EAF: The Undefined consists of myself and Mal Demolish. It’s been kind of shocking to think we’ve never really released anything officially yet. But, I’ve always had Mal on all of my solo projects, to let fans know the crew is still here. We plan to drop a new Undefined project in early 2009. Definitely be on the lookout for that. You’ll hear more Slicemysta beats on those projects too.

W: As you mentioned, you have the “appetizer” in The Road to Streetwise. Where did those tracks come from? Are any going to be on the album itself? (cause there are some dope ones on there!)…………..

EAF: Thanks man. The Road to Streetwise is a promotional project I decided to drop to help build the buzz for The Streetwise LP. It’s gotten a really good response. I was just going to release about 6 or 7 songs as an EP, but I decided to drop 20 tracks and make the project worthwhile. The tracks like “The Dirt”, “This Is Your Life”, and “Walk These Streets Alone” were actually tracks for The Undefined EP I was going to drop this year. Other tracks like “Your Eyes” and “Live Live” are tracks initially picked for True Links Volume 2. So I basically picked a few tracks from some of my forthcoming projects, added a few previously released songs, and The Road to Streetwise was born. I decided to go ahead and drop The Road To Streetwise on iTunes. It will be out October 28th, the same day as The Streetwise LP.

W: So the new album, Streetwise, will be out later this month on Itunes and in stores Nov 11th. What can listeners look forward to on it?

EAF: Let me tell you man…I’m excited to have The Streetwise LP out, finally. You’ll hear some of my best work, and some of the most potent lyrics heard in years. I did a remake of Intelligent Hoodlum’s “Arrest The President” from 1990, and revamped it for today. I thought it would be a good idea, since the current president is Bush, and back in 1990, Bush Sr. was in office. So, I’m looking forward to hear what people think of that track.

It’s a very lyrically driven album. I get sick of hearing all of these ill beats nowadays, but mediocre emcees on them. I love beats like the next man, but if the emcee isn’t doing his thing on the track, then the track just doesn’t have much staying power. Once the beat gets old, that’s it. So I rely on lyrics to make a strong track that you can listen to 10 years from now. People throw around the term “classic” all the time, but I hope there are tracks in my catalog that people truly feel our classics in their eyes. I’m trying to have a catalog as strong as a Ghostface or a Nas.

W: Who are you working with in terms of producers and guests on the album? Will it be coming out on your own label, MCEO?

EAF: I have Justus League members Sean Boog, L.E.G.A.C.Y., and Median featured on the album. I also have Mal Demolish of The Undefined, my homie Cazmere, and other kats from my extended fam. Producers include 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Blunt, J Wheels, myself, and others. And yeah, The Streetwise LP will be released under my own label. It’s actually available now for pre-order at spots like ughh.com, amazon.com, and cdbaby.com. There are snippets of the album on those sites that you can check out too.

W: I read a blog on Art of Rhyme that you seemed to be venting about the “nature” of the business and taking people’s word at face value. What is your take on all of that now that the album is finally scheduled to drop? What could have been done differently that you might not
do next time?

EAF: Hip hop fans have heard time and time again about artists having problems in the rap game, with record labels mainly. I’ve gotten a glimpse of some of this. I had a temporary stay with an indie label back in 2006, which didn’t work out due to slick talk from the label and empty promises. Even recently, I’ve tried to deal with people that I thought would help me push my projects. But, even people that I thought were some of the best in their field, they still ignored me and were full of empty promises as well. It’s crazy, because you expect the album to be the hard part…But once the album is done, when you start dealing with other people, if those people aren’t truly trying to help you, it can get frustrating. So, I would definitely try to take my time and make sure it’s a good move to make. I thought I was being pretty thorough with checking credentials, but even credentials aren’t enough to look out for. But, I guarantee you when I take my career to the next level and become more prominent in the game, those same kats will suddenly want to work with me. But right now since I’m on the rise, some people don’t really respect me enough to really care. But it’s all good, I’m still doing my thing, and I’m determined to keep things going.

W: What is on the horizon in the immediate future?

EAF: Well obviously, The Streetwise LP will be released, so I’ll be out and about promoting the album. I plan to hit the road and tour around December and into the next year. I’ve been waiting for years to get this album out, so I will be promoting the hell out of this project. It’s all about exposure, so eventually some of the larger magazines will catch on. It’s just a matter of time, so I’m staying patient. I’m also going to drop a remix album of The Streetwise LP in December or early January on iTunes. And I’ll also be dropping digital releases of instrumental albums from my entire catalog.

W: Any last words for those out there?

EAF: Thanks to you Trav for the interview and for reaching out. Thanks to all of the fans and supporters of Edgar Allen Floe, as well as the entire Justus League. My ultimate goal is to be considered a leader in the rap game, regardless of how many records I sell. But at the same time, I want to be able to be seen by everyone, and I’ll continue to turn heads my way and build the fanbase. Check me out at myspace.com/eafloe. There, you can pre-order the new album, as well as check out tracks from my catalog. Be on the lookout of plenty of new projects for next year. RESPECT DUE!!!

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EDGAR ALLEN FLOE: The Streetwise LP
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