Eric The Red dares to pick listeners’ brains through a slew of thought-provoking bars. In essence, the artist introduces them to new ideas and beliefs in their personal lives. His lyrics about determination, progress, and fighting all the odds only adhere to the rapper’s way of being. Eric’s adaptive flows and vernacular leaves no room for doubting his talents. However, each record shows how he “stays with an ill mind.” More recently, he dropped his highly anticipated album, Diamond Cutters.
“On this new tape, I wanted it to have a pro-wrestling theme but at the same time not go overkill with it,” he explains.
“I still wanted all the features and myself to talk about anything going on in our current lives freely. But, an overall message I wanted to convey with this project is that it’s never too late to do what you love.”
At times, Eric The Red is also transparent. The “Killin’ Time” music isn’t against sharing pieces of his life with the world. Every so often, he’ll speak on how a specific situation has affected him. In other instances, the emerging MC will dig deep into his closest relationships.
Like his lyrical dexterity, The New Jersey rapper’s sound is just as extensive. At the peak of his career, he was categorized into “Backrap Rap” or “Underground Hip-Hop.” But as time went on, he resonated more with crowds that deeply immersed themselves in the genre.
The musician continues,
“I’m delivering quality raps but now shifted to more rich soul samples that you can play at a fancy bistro and an underground Hip-Hop show in a basement.”
“Haiku” highlights Eric The Red’s more soulful approach to the pen and pad. Initially, the boom-bap record is met with jazz elements before transitioning to a more R&B style. Similarly, the beat is carried by a grand symphony.
His signature baritone alludes to blessing the good folks with an ill rhyme. Affirming that his wordplay is unmatched, the musician dares competitors to match his energy. He also mentions that the album is coming soon. But for now, he’s building up the hype with new records.
Eric The Red explains why his progression looks different than other aspiring creatives.
“Live or direct/Movin in real time/N*ggas ain’t do the science like Bill Nye/The whole foundation is falling apart while I build mine,” he raps.
Elsewhere he addresses smack talkers, rapping
“Sneak dissin since day one, but now you tight-lipped.”
No matter what happens in his career, he vows to look out for his loved ones.
“Fuck tryna get a deal signed/My dogs still gonna eat when it’s meal time.”
Eric The Red concludes that “either way, he’s got this rap sh-t in a tight grip.”
Outside of rapping, Eric The Red started a movement with his brothers back in 2013 called 7TRiiiBES.
“We started a cultural collective of emcees, writers, graf artists, videographers, clothing designers, and superheroes. We were mainly known for bringing Hip-Hop back to its raw element and never following any wave or popular trend. No stat line or music streaming accolades can compare to how we shifted the culture.”
Amber Lé got the opportunity to sit down with Eric The Red at The Feature Presentation, where he answered the following:
What is your stage name?
My stage name is Eric The Red. It was inspired by an actual historical figure named Erik The Red. Still, I flipped mine with a “C” instead of a “K.” He was a legendary Viking explorer, and me always having a big physical presence complimented with a giant beard and aggressive style. I always saw myself as a Viking figure in Rap.
What inspired you to make music?
As cliche as it may seem, the release of the movie “8 Mile” is the exact moment I can pinpoint when my best friend and I decided to learn how to write and rap. It was October of 2002, and we were 13 years old. We left that movie theater speechless by how the audience reacted to the battle performances in the film’s closing scenes, my bro and I just said to each other. We need to learn to do whatever we just saw in that movie.
What is your writing process like?
My writing process has always changed throughout the years, just through the process of trial and error and me finding my own comfortable pocket. More recently, though, I would say that I’m not a writer that writes necessarily “top to bottom.” Still, I write down the most important points I wish to get across. Then I add all the filler to turn the verse into a cohesive story. It’s like writing backward.
What are the pressures of being a rapper in the industry?
That’s something that takes an entire transcript to cover fully, but one of the main pressures for me personally is finding a way to stand out and be unique from the other millions of rappers that share the same passion as me. So my only strategy is to be my true self and not pander to anyone or anything. And just hope that me being me, along with my writing talents, can eventually cut through and be recognized as something special.
What is the project you’re promoting, and what is its motivation?
The project I’m about to release is called Diamond Cutter, and I dropped it on my birthday December 27th, right before the new year. This is my 2nd solo project and the first one in 7 years. I dropped my first mixtape, HorseShoes & HandGrenades, back in 2015.
What is the name of your project?
Diamond Cutter. The title comes from a legendary pro-wrestler named Diamond Dallas Page, who was famous for starting his career at a highly late age but still being one of the best at his craft. I can relate to that closely, in that my rap development was a long burn throughout the years. I was always a student of the game, relentlessly learning all the nuances of writing Rap music, but it wasn’t until later that I finally started catching my stride. Similar to DDP with his wrestling career.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want my pen to be respected and appreciated more than anything else, especially by other legendary emcees I used to idolize. To me, no trophy or accolade’s more rewarding than receiving that validation from those elite-level wordsmiths. I also want to be an inspiration for those older artists who still carry that self-doubt when pursuing their passion and let them know it’s ok to start late and also ok to fail. That feeling will always be more rewarding than ever trying at all.