“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.