It was a stormy July afternoon at the Lafon Nursing of the Holy Family in New Orleans East when Mr. EIC had given an unconventional performance to over 15 unfortunate elders. His dance moves were as erratic as his lyrics, making several emergency bars along the way. While it looks like EIC has performed for three months, it’s actually been 10 years.
“I was really nervous about that performance,” EIC says. “I know some of the folks were asleep, but there was a lot on the line there. It was my first time performing in the East and I wanted to make sure that the staff would invite me back next time,” he says. “But I really think I gave it to them, though.”
After a nearly four-hour performance, Lafon staff began wheeling out the elderly as EIC announced he would release his third studio album entitled Views from the Lakefront. EIC will release the album and officially start his tour Monday, December 18, 2017.
“This album is really different than the first one that I made,” EIC says. “I really go deep into rap this time. I had to go harder. Rappers are getting sucked up in this mumble rap and trap music,” EIC adds. “This whole rap game has to change.”
Starnated Magazine has secured a studio copy of EIC’s new album, burned onto a Maxwell CD. The 10-track presentation features hits about grocery shopping rants in “Move Yo’ Basket” to annunciating lyrics in “Why You Shouldn’t Mumble to Yo’ Mama.” While often drawn out, the album holds cutting versus and precise lyrics that reached deep into the soul while remaining critical of the current general psychosis of modern society.
Here, EIC says he has created a new genre that would liberate people from what he calls “nonsensical rap.” Intuitively, he dubbed this kind of music Liberation Rap(TM).
Born Ben Dover James in Los Angeles, California, EIC has spent most of his life in public school. In a bold and daring escape of the big city at the age of 18, EIC vacated his California home to live in the music haven of New Orleans.
“While other kids were talking about where they were going to college and getting ‘jobs,’ I knew what I wanted,” EIC says. “I wasn’t fooled with that societal propaganda. I already knew I wanted to be a rapper.”
EIC notes that the toughest part of his life has been going to public school and having to occasionally drink tap water when the bottled water in the fridge wasn’t cold enough.
The Rapper’s march to stardom began when he signed his first exclusive deal with free-to-use audio distribution service SoundCloud.
“It was the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me,” EIC says. “The day I turned thirteen, I jumped out of bed and legally signed up for SoundCloud.”
EIC’s single from his self-named first album, “Seasons,” hit the SoundCloud top international trending category, ranking No. 15,436. While a short-lived hit on the charts, SoundCloud removed the album after a copyright infringement claim was filed by Cash Money Records.
In total, EIC has reached more than 4,000 people around the world with his Liberation Rap hits such as “Hot-Tea Honda,” and “Liberating Queen.”
“I’m an international hit,” EIC says. “In fact, I even got a message from a Nigerian prince interested in my music. He informed me of a long-lost family inheritance. I asked him if I could apply that money to funding my new studio, and he said ‘yeah, I could,’” EIC says. “I’m still in the works of setting my bank account up with his, though.”
Considering EIC’s entire discography, he has sold more than 25 copies of his original work, and had over 300 downloads on SoundCloud before his account was temporarily suspended for recurring copyright-infringement claims.
The liberation rapper has an original grasp on lyrics. Inspired by trap music, EIC says he designed his work to expand the boundaries of rap music. Many of his lyrics empower women, children, and aspiring rappers like himself.
In his performance at the Lafon Nursing Home, EIC opened up with “Liberating Queen,” a song about a neighborhood goddess that walks the poverty stricken streets of South Los Angeles.
“There’ve been several academics who’ve critiqued my work,” EIC says. “They says that ‘I’m not rap. I’m soft pop.’ One time someone told me that and I said if they said that again, I’d ‘soft-pop’ them in the throat.”
While EIC has talked about his acclaimed success, he says that the thing that scares him most is being even more successful. After 10 years, EIC says he’s comfortable at the height of his career, but would consider gaining even more international traction.
“Singing at that rest home—all I can say is that I’m blessed,” EIC says. “People don’t come across opportunity like this all the time. But, the idea of being this famous in New Orleans is a little scary. But people like my lyrics. So, I have to give them more,” he adds.
In person EIC looks exactly how he sounds. He has this sense of cheerfulness, confirmed with his broad and inviting smile.
When describing his music, he says, “It’s about loving yourself and not living up to societal standards; It’s about being you. If anything, my rapping art shows what kind of person I am: An adequate one.”
When not rapping, EIC’s day job is a history teacher at Barrack Obama Charter School, where the rapper-by-night teaches mathematics. He mentions that he is sometimes afraid to let go of his common life because he believes he has impact on the people they serve.
“These kids need history, they really do,” EIC says. “But I know that my raps can go further than a classroom of 43 kids. They can help 43 million people. But I’ll leave that in the hands of fate.”