Indie Spotlight: Eric Sosa – The Apollo Kid
Here at ONDAREAL we are introducing a new “Indie Spotlight” column where we will present to you some of the noteworthy independent artists that are active on New York City’s indie music scene. To kick off the installment, we present to you Queens native Eric Sosa.
I personally first came across Eric Sosa back in 2009 when I was photographing a Hip Hop for Haiti benefit concert in Brooklyn that a friend was hosting. That night there were a myriad of underground acts that performed but the one act that stuck out to me was Eric Sosa. His performance was energetic and he had this unique voice that just commanded your attention. From that day on I kept the young Queens emcee on my radar and followed his grind from being an unknown artist swimming in a sea of obscurity to being featured on mainstream Hip Hop sites such as AllHipHop.com (as a top 25 underground artist of the year nonetheless).
So, if you are into classic Hip Hop with a slight twist of alternative flavor then you may want to check out some work from this kid. We delve a little bit into his origins, work ethic and inspirations in the interview below.
How did you come up with the name Eric Sosa?
Well, Eric is my birth name, my momma gave me that. [laughs] Sosa is my alter ego, plain and simple. When I get on stage I’m Sosa. I’m arrogant, I’m the greatest, I’m the nicest, I’m the illest and when I get off I come down and I’m Eric. I’m a quiet humble cat that doesn’t like to talk too much and keeps to himself. Eric Sosa is both of those fused together.
How long have you been writing music?
I’ve been writing since like 10 years old. That was after I put the drumsticks down from being in a marching band playing lead snare in a marching band for a local church. I picked up the pen and started writing from 10-11 years old and we here now.
How has playing the drums affected your musical style?
I’ve always said that as writers and rapper that when we first start most writers and rappers always have lyrics but they don’t have flow, they can’t find the beat but their lyrics if not all the way on point somewhat on point. I feel like because I have a percussion background you know what I”m saying. And percussion circulates around time and vice-versa I always had flow, I just didn’t have the lyrics. I always knew where the beat was, I always knew where I was supposed to land on the beat but I didn’t have the lyrics, so I think that was the difference between me and most artists was that I knew what the timing was on a beat.
How long have you been pursuing music as a career?
I would say that I’ve been trying to make it a career since I dropped the first project; so, that’s probably like 2004 but I never had a business behind me until about two and half years ago when me and my manager Danielle decided to start up Sosa Management. That’s when the business actually started even though I was working on projects and putting out music with different groups and different artists before that. That’s when the career actually started and we had a mind state and a goal. It wasn’t just scrambling and putting out music not knowing what we’re doing.
Which project would you say helped you develop a fan base?
Definitely “Volume 1″. Let the Beat Rock was my first project but I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do with it. I whole bunch of different aspirations for that project but I’m happy with what it did and that was basically bring the people that knew I rapped all the way in. All my friends, all my family, all these people that knew I been rapping, writing, cyphering in the streets and all that. Now they were like, “oh he got a project.” Now they had something where they can constantly go back to and reference and listen to and it was a complete body of work that I was able to provide them. I was happy that it did that. It pulled everybody that knew me in all the way and when I dropped Rhyme & Noodles Volume 1 that’s when I started getting attention from strangers, and randoms, and blogs and websites, clothing lines and so forth.
What was the concept behind Rhyme & Noodles?
One day I was in the crib somebody gave me a call and times was hard, pockets weren’t swole like it should have been so had to do what we can. We were eating mad Ramen Noodles all night and day straight up and down. I was eating Ramen Noodles, I was penning rhymes and one day I got a call and the person said to me, “yo why every time I talk to you on the phone you always eating something” he was like, “what you eating?” And I was like “Ramen Noodles” and right there it clicked. I was like, “oh shit, that would be crazy if I named the project ‘Rhyme & Noodles’.” That bugged me out. That’s basically how it went down real simple just like that.