His name is Emerson Windy and he isn’t your typical “conscious backpack rap weed smoking hippie”. That isn’t to say this Oceanside MC isn’t a “do-gooder”. He believes in World affairs just as much as being featured on WorldStarHipHop. Windy believes in being self aware just as much as he believes in the practice of self medicating. Emerson Windy’s story of success hasn’t come without its fair share of criticism… but whether you agree with his message or not, he’s glad you are paying attention.
Let’s start with his track record. The Producer and MC from Oceanside CA learned the power of activism and doing good deeds for the less fortunate from his Mother growing up. He is the first artist to develop the idea for a scratch and sniff “weed smelling” CD. He has produced music for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Waka Flocka Flame, Crooked I and Three 6 Mafia. Emerson’s debut album ‘Herojuana’ dropped last year with features by Lil Wayne, 2Chainz, Pusha T, Raekwon and Birdman with production by Timbaland, DJ Mustard and !llmind to name a few. The first single ‘Peace Pipe’ reached over 14 million views in it’s first five days but received major backlash from the Native American community. As of recent news, Windy released the video for ‘Come Get It’ ft. Pusha T and P Money which was picked up by Noisey, HipHop DX, 2DopeBoys, Complex and more. Yeah. You could say Emerson Windy is about getting that paper.
This week, Emerson Windy unveils a powerful and graphic visual interpretation of ‘Black America’ from his debut album ‘Herojuana’. GTPS brings you an exclusive interview with the artist behind the controversial message.
MidWest Melly: Hi Emerson. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today and connect with GetThatPaperSon.com.
Windy Emerson: Glad to be here.
MM: Thanks again! Congrats on all of your success with the HeroJuana album. Definitely a dope album… pun intended.
WE: (Laughs). Look at you.
MM: (Laughs) So, first and foremost how as an independent artist did you manage to pull such an all star line up on your debut album HeroJuana? Tell us about that experience.
WE: It wasn’t really me. It was my man out of the A. He was already plugged up in the industry. He knew everybody. He believed in me. What he did next is he left me some beats. I slaughtered them beats. He started emailing them around the industry. He was all for it man. It was a blessing. (DJ) Trendsetter! I love you dawg.
MM: (Laughs). Yes! Shout out. Shout outs. Well, hip hop has always been a vessel to communicate political messages and you have a lot to say about the current state of education, racism and violence in many of our urban communities. Your song ‘Black America’ focuses heavily on those topics. I believe the video was first premiered on HipHopDX in September. Why did you take it down and why is it important for you to re-release it now on WorldStarHipHop?
WE: I mean if I’m not mistaken, it was always up but I put it out now because it’s just everything that happens in the the World today as far as Black America. I mean everything that is on the news. I just see a ton of black males being shot by police officers. A lot of people don’t know what to make of all that. I just felt that right now was the right time to put the record out for real because if it ain’t hittin’ WorldStarHipHop, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not out yet. I feel like back in the day is when people used to actually discuss what happened in the World. In the Hood. Now it’s just about all the flashy stuff. When I heard that beat it instantly brought my mind to what is really going on around me. I just had to discuss that. That is how ‘Black America’ started. It doesn’t have anything to do with race or police. It’s really about how I feel. The way to really begin solving the issue and stop the madness is education. We have to educate the Hood. We have to educate these kids to make better decisions. If we start right there then who knows? I feel like this… if a lot of the black kids, who I know, who aren’t in the Hood could have access to schooling and doing something… then they wouldn’t find themselves involved in a lot of the stuff that kids that don’t have (those things) do. Black or White. So I just feel like a book… pick up a book and educate someone.
MM: The video includes powerful and graphic images from Martin Luther King to gangsta flicks to real news clips of violence and our school systems. Who directed and shot the video? Who was the creative mastermind behind the imagery?
WE: Well my boy, Mads The Hated filmed everything. He edited the whole video. As far as everything that you saw in it… that was my brain work. Mad did a great job of executing my thoughts behind the record. I was like “Yo dude. This is how I’m feeling. Here are the images that I really need you to get across to the audience as far as the soundtrack.” What I really wanted to show was that I’m not preaching. That’s what I want people to know. I think that’s why people appreciate and respect the record. They can tell I’m not preaching at them. I’m not saying it is right or wrong. I’m just saying that this is how it is. And if any of this shit bothers you… then change it because sometimes people don’t even know that they have a problem until you put it in their face! For example, if you’ve ever had a homegirl that doesn’t know that she’s a ho. Sometimes you need to be real… like “Girl, is this is a nice man you just slept with from the club”… and she be like “yeah, this is some “Ho” shit”. Then she realizes she needs to switch some things up in her game or she ain’t gonna have no Man… you feel me?
MM: (Laughs). That’s a “Ho” different topic.
WE: (Laughs). You already know. That’s a “Ho” different circumstance. But I just feel like if I spelled it out and said “Hey, if you are that person that isn’t paying your bills but you got baby Jordans and all that shit then there might be something wrong with the way look at life Man”. Don’t be mad at me. It’s your priorities.
MM: Mmmhmm! I think its about creating awareness. But besides creating awareness, what do you think it is going to take to truly initiate change for these social injustices within our country?
WE: I think we need to be honest and actually admit that they (the injustices) are there. I mean, even today. I still hear folks that say, “Well, I don’t think the Police Officers were profiling”. See here is the thing. I don’t feel like all police are bad. I don’t feel like it is a black person/police thing. I never even like to hear people bringing up it up in that way. See – I’ve been pulled over multiple times in my life. Most of the time I was doing something to be pulled over. I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I was making a left I wasn’t supposed to make… whatever it was. I haven’t ever been beaten down by police. I haven’t ever been brought off to jail when I didn’t deserve to be there. I’ve had… I don’t want to say positive experiences… but I’ll say I’ve had positive experiences for the most part with police officers. But I’ve also had those same incidents with some real fucking assholes who weren’t doing anything but profiling me. I wasn’t doing anything. I’m on foot. I was standing next to my vehicle. I was sitting on my vehicle when you came up to me asking, “Where’s your ID?” Staring at my ink. Want to know what this is and who I hang with. I’ve dealt with both so therefore I don’t feel like all police officers are bad. So I hate when people are like, “Fuck the Police”. It’s him (that specific police officer). I’m like, “Fuck this asshole who is being this way”. Black, white, whatever. I just feel first and foremost people need to admit that there is a problem but (the video) ‘Black America’ is really about a lack of education. That is what the song is about. I feel like we don’t pay Educators enough. These people don’t make shit! They make less than people at 711 who work full time and we expect them to raise the next generation? They have such an important job and we aren’t paying them.
MM: Yeah. Well, I think it is important to shed public light on the immoral actions of our society, however, we are also at a point in hip hop and rap where we fail to promote the good things because it is unpopular. You have done some good within your own community. What positive or charitable things would like to see the hip hop community come together to accomplish?
WE: I mean, that… isn’t only about hip hop artists. I would say its everybody as a whole. You want hip hop artists to put forward a positive message? That happened back in the nineties. That is where you always heard people discussing what was actually going on in the Hood. Hip Hop was a lot smarter back then. You know what I mean?
WE: Now, behind that. They had groups like Public Enemy. They put that out there and they made other people hear their message. Nowadays, if you put that stuff out… I mean… I do all kinds of stuff for the less fortunate. But not everybody (is) sitting over here bringing that up. That’s not the first thing people are actually asking me in interviews. But if they heard I was on the internet, beefing with whoever in “Rap”, then that shit will go all over the web! Nobody will say anything about the fact that I gave away a ’63 Impala for a kid with cancer. I don’t hear anything about that. But if I got into a beef over something stupid, then people will promote that. I feel like for hip hop artists to be able to put out a positive word then they need to be able to earn a buck from doing it. People need to be able to promote those songs. We need to put those songs back on the radio. Other than that they are not going to make it. They will just keep making those songs about alcohol, smoking and doing whatever because that is the stuff that hits the airwaves. Not ‘Black America’. I’m saying… I’m never going to hear that song on the airwaves.
MM: Hey! You might. What I’ll say about that is I really respect you for putting out this message. How you made me a fan of your music is that you are not the average conscious style backpack rap hip hop artist. You appeal to a completely different audience. So the fact that you are doing a video like ‘Black America’ and putting out these types of messages… you are appealing to a completely different audience that is going to listen to what you have to say. It’s a different genre of music. So, speaking on that, I know that you were just in Dallas wrapping up a video shoot. I believe the video was for ‘Narcissitic’ which is off of your ‘HeroJuana’ album. Can you talk a little about that? What else do you have in the works for this year?
WE: Yeah. I plan on that one (video) hitting the web in like a month or so. What that one is actually about is… I kinda want to explain that one being that you are the first one I’ve ever spoken to about that song. I want to open up the gate. I know a lot of people are going to have me f’d up when they hear that song. They are going to think it came from a different place. I am a very humble individual. That song is more so about when I get in the booth. This is how I know every artist feels on top of his game. It don’t mean you are on top of the Game… it is if you are on top of your game. Whenever I jump in the booth, for me to do what I do… I have to feel like I am that “number one”. That’s just who I am. I’m my favorite nigga. I know that’s how Drake feels. I know that’s how Lil Wayne feels. Gucci Man. Anybody! I feel like when you ask these dudes in interviews, “who is your all time favorite?” They would be lying if they are not including themselves. That’s how everybody feels but it’s like if you were to include yourself in the top five… well… its not about being cocky. It is about you having self esteem saying, “I might not be the best to ever do it but if you are asking me who is in my top five, I’m going to include myself” because if I didn’t feel that my stuff was the best it could ever be (then) I wouldn’t leave the booth with it. I love my music. I love me. I feel like every artist that is at the top of his shit is going to feel exactly the same way. It’s not me saying, “I’m badder than you.” Its just me saying, “I love me some me”.
MM: Well I am definitely going to watch out for the video. I appreciate you rockin’ with GetThatPaperSon.com today, Windy. We are looking forward to your continued success. If you ever come down to Miami, please let me know! I’ll have to come to one of your shows.