Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 4: Entellekt

by: Micah Jacobs
August 2, 2017

“The most talented people in the world are also the weirdest people in the world.” – Entellekt

I have interviews lined up every week, hours of recordings from speaking to hip hop artists in our city. It proves what I have been saying all along: Hip-Hop in Harrisburg runs deep.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite rappers in the area, Entellekt. A huge voice, an intelligent mind, and straight to the point delivery style of hip-hop.

On a random Thursday evening, I left work and rolled up the street listening to a track called, “Black Coffee,” by Entellekt featuring Demitrius. “That raw flow, Wu-Tang, ’93 shit,” as the lyrics washed away the stress of the day and we headed over to Vito Depiero’s house to sit down and talk about Hip-Hop in Harrisburg with Entellekt.

MJ: How long have you been doing this more professionally?

Entellekt: More than a hobby I would say since 2014, but before that it was just a real serious hobby. I was working a job I hated and found myself unemployed for about a month when my cousin randomly called me up about going on a tour with a band called Moon Hooch. They wanted a rapper and beat boxer along on tour with them — my cousin is a beat boxer, so he called me up. I packed up a backpack and headed to Massachusetts and met up with them. Our first show was in D.C., and we did 26 cities afterward doing shows every three days. There wasn’t many days off, so I had to learn to take care of my voice and drink a lot of tea. Except for when we did the show in Austin, that show was so lit I blew my voice out.

Tell me about the work you put into your music.

There is a lot of work that goes into this, and you have to be 100 percent in it. You have to be on your grind, spending your bread, investing your own checks back into your music and doing as many shows as possible. Some people have ties with other people that can put them into that position and others just have to grind. You can be the nicest rapper out there but if no one knows it, then no one knows it. I invest in myself and get myself out there because no one is about to knock on my door and hand me a deal.

Where is your career presently in hip hop?

Right now I am doing as many shows as I can over the tri-state area by reaching out to connections that I’ve made. This fall I am going to try to put together a 12-15 city tour using some of the connections I made while I was on tour with Moon Hooch. Presently? I never really wanted to do anything other than what it is I am doing right now.

It seems something has really sparked for you over the past year or so, what’s changed?

Up until this year, I found myself sometimes having to pay to play these corny showcases. But, once I hopped on that tour with my cousin and was getting paid every night, money for hotels, money for food and just cash in hand every night everything changed for me. I don’t work a regular job, this is what I do. It’s important to know that your art is worth something and you shouldn’t be giving it away for free. Too many people are either afraid to ask to get paid or just don’t realize they should be getting paid.

What about the actual tracks themselves though? You put a few mix-tapes out, but it seems these singles are really taking off for you.

It’s all about putting together hot songs. You have to put together songs that people want to hear you perform at your shows. You want people in the crowd to say, “oh, I hope he does this song or that song.” Anytime I would do a mix-tape, like on Park Ave. 2, I would put 15-20 songs on it and when I asked people what tracks they liked it was always the same 5-6 tracks. So that told me I needed to trim these tracks back. I went out to ID Labs in Pittsburgh to do Park Ave. 3 and only put 12 tracks on it. Then I put some single tracks on iTunes and Spotify and realized that I needed to start recording singles and videos to go with the single. Now when you come to my shows the fans want to hear tracks like “I’m The Shit.”

I’ve seen you perform a few times, anytime that track comes on the entire venue goes off. How did “I’m The Shit” come about?

I was coming back from ID Labs for Park Ave 3, and I was listening to beats on SoundCloud when I found the beat for the track. On the 4-hour car ride home I came up with the entire song. I immediately went to the studio and recorded it. My engineer spent a week mixing the track. We went out to Philly, all my friends came through, and we had a buffet style dinner party and shot the video. The track is poppin, but I’m already working on my next one.


These aren’t really interviews and are more discussions about a common passion people from all different walks of life are coming together to celebrate. The art of hip hop and the stories of the artists that are making a lot of noise in Harrisburg. Make sure you follow along using hashtag #HipHopinHBG

You can see for yourself when Entellekt hits HMAC on August 18 with Vito Depiero, WindchILL, Dwight Lep and, Rudyy. Make sure you follow Entellekt on his Facebook page, check out his tracks on iTunes or Spotify.

Categories: Harrisburg, Music, Nightlife

Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 3: Maschine Life Empire

by: Micah Jacobs
July 5, 2017

When I began my list of local hip-hop artists I already knew about, the first name I wrote down wasn’t a single artist at all — It was the arts collective known as Maschine Life Empire (MLE).

Rawston George, Drew Tyrell, John Born, LRDRA, AMIYR, Merc Majah, and Bibba. These are the artists who make up the collective, along with founder/CEO, Keyzus, who offered me a rare glimpse into the world of Maschine Life Empire.

Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 1: Demitrius

maschine life empire harrisburg

MJ: So, this is your own personal studio for MLE?

Rawston George: It’s about being able to do it yourself. Before, when we were younger, we would have to go to Philly or Baltimore to record. When you’re trying to perfect your sound you don’t want to pay someone else out of your pocket.

How long have you guys been doing this?

Eric (CFO, Maschine Life Empire): I met these two (Rawston George and Keyzus) in like 5th grade. They were always involved in music. Keyzus would walk through the hallways with speakers, computer speakers, with his brother’s music on it. Through the middle school hallways!

Rawston George maschine life empire harrisburg hip-hop

Tell me what all goes into MLE? No one really knows exactly what MLE is because of the many different aspects of what you all do.

Rawston George: It’s almost a bit like we’re a mystery, right? There hasn’t really been anyone around here to get the facts on us or learn about us. But, what really goes into MLE is bringing the feel. It’s not just about hip-hop, it’s about feeling and expression.

Keyzus: Harrisburg was a place where people had a hard time with identity. Everyone, at one point, really just sounded the same. Now everyone around the scene is starting to get their own identity, and that is what is making hip hop in Harrisburg flourish.

Drew Tyrell maschine life empire harrisburg hip-hop

Do you believe anyone in Harrisburg is on the brink of something big?

Tit (MLE Artist): That’s the thing, though, when people sense that you’re on the brink of something big they will not support you that much more. They will not support you until you get all the way there. Then when you finally get on, that is when they want to pay attention to you.

Rawston George: It’s all about consistency. It’s everything you can say, “I can do tomorrow,” that you need to do right then and there. Because tomorrow, something new is going to come up. That is how you fall behind and begin to tell yourself, “I’m not cut out for this.”

Then what makes MLE different?

Drew Tyrell (MLE Artist/Producer): Being able to be there for your homie and letting him know, “Nope, that was trash do it again.” Having that relationship with them shows you give a damn about each other’s songs.

Keyzus: Everyone that has recorded with me knows, we care. We simply just care. We aren’t about to let anyone go out and embarrass themselves. We want others to look good.

Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 2: Vito Depiero

Since everyone is so different here, where does the inspiration come from?

Keyzus: Every one of my life’s situations are my beats. Every beat, I could tell you about a story that inspired it.

Tit: Coming up in Harrisburg was not easy. Since we all started from the same spot, we get our inspiration from each other as well.

Drew Tyrell: That’s what it is, there are so many of us that we draw from each other and motivate each other.

Where is MLE going now?

Keyzus: We are switching over from a record label to a full arts collective and just working at taking over. First, you take over the city or region, then the state, then the states around, then you take over an entire coast.

Rawston George: There really is no measuring tape, there is just so much more to do. We can’t say, “We’ve come this far and now we have this much more to go.”

What about the city itself? You’ve grown up here and it’s changed a lot.

Rawston George: When I first moved here in like 1995-96, Harrisburg was a proud city. The sports teams thrived and everyone was going to every game wearing their Cougars jerseys proudly. Then, the schools starting cutting the funding to the programs that mattered the most. They cut the funding to the sports teams, the arts and music programs, the after-school programs. When that happened is when you have kids falling into messed up habits. Now we have 14-15-year-old kids, hanging out with their friends smoking weed and drinking instead of getting involved in art or sports or actually doing something productive with their lives. Now, these kids have lost focus, quick to go drinking and smoking with their friends. And, time flies by. Really quick.

Harrisburg

When I first sat down with the guys in MLE, I never expected to discuss more than just hip-hop, but we talked about putting positive energies into the world, our spirits, and socioeconomic issues facing our city today.

Maschine Life Empire is not just a hip-hop crew or even a creative arts collective. Maschine Life Empire is about a higher level of consciousness.

Check out the Maschine Life Empire website and follow them on Facebook. Keep up with my Hip-Hop in Harrisburg adventures using the hashtag #Hiphopinhbg all summer long.

If you or someone you know should be a part of Hip-Hop in Harrisburg, we want to hear from you!

Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 2: Vito Depiero

by: Micah Jacobs
June 20, 2017

Hip-Hop runs deep in Harrisburg.

Deeper than I originally thought. With every person I meet, every new connection, every track I’ve been shown, it continues to become more and more relevant to me that I’ve tapped into something very special around Harrisburg.


Hip Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 1: Demitrius


When I saw a guy named Vito Depiero was going to headline HMAC with guys like Entellekt and Rawston George opening for him, I had to find out just who he was. Even though I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of hip-hop in our fine city, how has this guy not come across my radar yet?

Vito Depiero hip-hop harrisburg

I tracked him down on Facebook and we met up last week at Midtown Scholar to discuss hip-hop in Harrisburg:

MJ: So out of nowhere I see this event for you headlining a show at HMAC with Entellekt?

Vito: I heard about the Entellekt show the other week and heard that it did really well. I just had my release party at MoMo’s BBQ and Grill, and we put together a dope video for it, about 150 people showed up, so I went ahead and reached out to HMAC and they put me on a headliner gig and suggested that I join forces with Entellekt because of how well his show did. I’m very excited about it and really appreciate the opportunity to share the stage with other talent from the area.

How long have you been laying down verses?

I’ve been freestyling and rapping in ciphers with my friends since I was about 13 years old. I started out as a manager in the entertainment business though I wasn’t always a rapper. I traveled a good bit, managed artists in LA, Miami, and Las Vegas. Last summer I came back from LA and having been around studios and music all the time I would always hear verses in my head, but it was never my position. My position was to manage the artists, help promote and book shows. Never to actually be a rapper. So when I left the corporate music world behind and came back to Harrisburg I told myself that I better take a chance while I can.

What’s the change been like going from the corporate music world to back home now being on the artist side of things?

Honestly, I come up with a lot of crazy ideas about projects, and my friends and family have been so supportive of this decision. I think now I am finding a better balance of what really matters in life like being close to my family, doing construction work with my dad every day, giving back to the community, doing interviews and, it’s just crazy to me how quickly everything is happening. I really want to make sure I take advantage this opportunity.

Where does your music come from, the spectrum of rap is huge nowadays, where do you fit in?

My niche is from an organization I started with my best friend called Blessed and Appreciative about 6 years ago. We do things to give back to the community at least once a month from giving hundreds of gifts away around Christmas time, volunteering at Bethesda Mission, and doing things like this is what created these opportunities in my life. Once I started to realize that I needed to appreciate more in my life all of these different, new things and, opportunities started making themselves evident to me. So it reflects in my music, I try to relate to people and inspire them to do good as well. I share things that have touched me in my life.

What would you say your goal is when it comes to music then?

To impact. To impact my community and those around me. I know other people have different financial goals, buy fancy cars, pack an arena but, I just really want to impact and send that positive message.

You’re pretty new to hip hop in Harrisburg, it’s a lot bigger than people think it is, so let me ask you what your perception of hip hop is in our city?

There are a lot of dope artists in our city, some really nice lyricists. There are a lot of guys working hard out here and really trying to do something with their lives and do something with their talent. Guys like Ralston George just have crazy talent. I don’t know if anyone has what it takes to make it, I don’t know if I have what it takes, but I’m definitely going to give it a run for the money. I hope at the show at HMAC I can pay respects to the artist that have put so much into our music scene here.


Vito Depiero hip-hop harrisburg hmac

Join me Saturday, July 1 at HMAC to check out Vito Depiero, Entellekt, Ralston George and Young Swerve and experience for yourself just how powerful hip-hop is in our city. Purchase tickets here for just $8.

» Check out Vito Depiero’s SoundCloud to listen to his latest project, The Crest.

And stay tuned for Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 3 coming in a few weeks!

Categories: Harrisburg, Music, Nightlife

Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 1: Demitrius

by: Micah Jacobs
June 6, 2017

Old school. Golden Era. New School. East Coast. West Coast. Dirty South. Bling Era. Trap.

The spectrum of hip hop spans all aspects of the genre in a world where Kendrick Lamar and Lil’ Yachty are putting up the same numbers there seems to room for everyone in the hip hop scene right now, and that means young, new talent is popping up everywhere. Including our own capital city.

This summer, I’m working on a series of posts about the hip hop scene in the Harrisburg area — an idea that came to me while I was recently at a hip hop show at HMAC. I’ll be scouring the area, networking with different crews and even diving into the history of hip hop in Harrisburg.

After seeing him perform at HMAC and being blown away by his lyrical cleverness, I did some networking and got a chance to sit down on a hot summer afternoon with Demitrius, a young, motivated rapper from Harrisburg, and another young rapper he works with, Yung Faucet, to get my first look at the young guns of hip hop in our area.

MJ: What are you doing differently to usher in a new era of hip hop to our area?

Demitrius: We connect with each other these days, and we’re trying to change the face of the whole scene. Before, everyone was just doing their own things. A lot of rappers were real choosy about who they work with and I really want to bring everyone together and work with all different types of artists. So far, its worked.

When I randomly caught you at HMAC, I loved the music but the entire vibe you created was something special.

Demitrius: It’s all about the energy. I like to make sure my energy comes through in my music and I try to translate that to the crowd. That show was lit, I loved the crowd that night.

So do you think hip hop in our city is about to take off?

YungFaucet: There’s so many artists around here that are hitting 30k, 40k plays on SoundCloud its really crazy right now.

Demitrius: Harrisburg is about to be the next Chicago, the way Chicago had all those artists just come out of nowhere, that’s about to be us. One person makes it and its just going to be a chain reaction.

So how long have you been doing this?

Demitrius: I wrote my first verse when I was 17, I wasn’t even taking it that seriously. I did maybe 5 tracks. But, then in 2014 I had some time to start taking it seriously. I got all the studio equipment and just dove into it, learning how to engineer and make tracks.

We have to touch on the track that hit me when I heard it, your track “The Same.”

Demitrius: I came up with the idea for the song right as I was about to fall asleep one night. It just hit me “I can’t look at you the same.” I grabbed my note pad and wrote it down because so many ideas seem to come to me at night right before I fall asleep. Its a song everyone can relate to. Everyone has that one person that they cannot stand to be around or has done them real dirty and I think that’s why so many people like that track.

Yung Faucet: That’s the thing about music. If someone can relate to one track, they are going to want to hear the next track to see if they can relate to that one too. That is honestly one of my favorite songs from him. There is nothing better than a song you can relate to. It comes from the soul!

So what is the plan for this summer? New music?

Demitrius: Man, this summer is the takeover! I’m about to drop a new tape but I am waiting to finish up shooting a video to go along with it so I can drop them at the same time. This summer is all about having fun making music and playing shows. It’s not even about being famous to me, I just want to make some bread to take care of myself and my family.

Lastly, what do you think of popular hip-hop today?

Demitrius: Honestly, I love it. I can’t be mad at it one bit. The beauty of it all is everyone has a place in hip-hop now. You find your niche and you’ll survive. I personally just try to use a bit of a surprise factor because I don’t like to box myself into a genre of a certain type of rapper. I just go with whatever I feel.

Be sure to catch Demitrius this coming weekend on Saturday, June 10 when he performs at Midstate Distillery for Uncorked: A Millennial Business Social.

Check out his Soundcloud for new tracks and projects, and continue to follow me throughout the summer as I dive further into Harrisburg’s hip-hop past, present and future.

Like my boys Demitirus and Yung Faucet said, summer 2017 is about to be lit!

Categories: Harrisburg, Music, Nightlife

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