Q&A With Underground Hip-Hop/Rap Blogger: Esau Howard

-Jenny Affan

Esau Howard is currently an active blogger for Kevin Nottingham, as well as a few others that he mentions in the Q & A. I had recently commented on a previous editorial he had written. Follow his twitter at @EasyStylez.

Can you describe a little bit of your educational background and how that has helped you now?

I graduated from Morgan State University with a bachelor degree in Communication Studies, focusing in Broadcast Journalism. I am now in the planning stages of pursuing my Juris Doctorate degree and completing law school.

My education has helped me become a more fundamental writer. I’ve always been a writer, but it wasn’t until I started applying methods and techniques learned in school that I became well rounded in terms of fitting a more uniformed style of writing.

While blogging and media writing in general allows me to have a distinct voice in my work, there is still a certain foundation of style that I always reference back to.

How did you get involved with the Kevin Nottingham website?

I’ve always been a fan of the Kevin Nottingham blog. As a music junkie I literally spend hours at a time digesting new music, and looking for sites that highlight artists that aren’t necessarily getting attention on more mainstream websites. One day I just decided to pitch myself, and after some exchanges with the Arasia who is the  Executive Editor, I was welcomed into the fold this past July.

Are you currently writing for other sites? If yes, which ones and what is your role?

I actually contribute to several sites, but only two others as consistently as I do for Kevin Nottingham. I’m a columnist for TheWellVersed.com, where I’ve been writing for a over a year now. I started off simply doing small blog style posts for the site, and then eventually decided to try my hand at more editorial pieces that tend to be based on music or sports.

I’m also a writer for Two.One.Five Magazine (215mag.com), which is an online music and lifestyle publication based out of Philadelphia, PA. That was actually my first online gig, and though my role has decreased due to other obligations I still cover events and features when needed there.

What is it about underground hip-hop/rap that inspires you to write about it?

I’m a firm believer that good music needs to be shared. I’m far from one of those music elitist types that believe only underground Hip Hop counts as real Hip Hop, but I’m definitely very critical on what’s fed to the mainstream. I love music, and I also love to write so it just made sense to combine both passions. The only way I can truly articulate how I feel about Hip Hop music in general is through the written word.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer for this genre of music?

I just enjoy being able to have an outlet that allows me to dissect something that I love. The fact that there are people who appreciate my writing and actually engage in thoughtful discussion with me about my work is the most fulfilling thing about it. I know my opinions won’t always be liked, but I welcome intelligent conversation because it allows me to get a glimpse at others perspectives, while helping them understand my own.

Do you face any challenges when trying to find artists, songs, or albums to write about?

Everyday. I try not to cover things that have been run into the ground, and with the way the blog world has been so saturated it makes it difficult. Blogs operate at a rat race level, and it’s a never ending job of getting coverage on the latest artist, song, whatever. I prefer to do thought out pieces that force readers to actually read, instead of skimming through or only caring what the hottest song available is.

If you could give yourself one piece of advice before becoming a published blogger, what would that be?

I would tell myself stick to my own voice, A lot times bloggers tend to follow style trends to keep up with other bloggers to make themselves seem more witty. Honestly it may not seem like it’s that important, but the best way to stand out from the crowd is to remember that you never needed to fit it to begin with.  Write in the best way that works for you, there will be an audience for your perspective.

About jennyaffan

Jenny is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in Journalism with a digital and social media focus. She can be contacted at jennyaffan@gmail.com.
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