Saturday, July 2, 2011

Jesse Abraham Invites Us Into His World: Exclusive Interview With Future of Rap Music

Last year, I was exposed to the music of this underground rap artist named Jesse Abraham. Hailing from Manhattan, but now residing in Brooklyn, New York, Jesse Abraham is making some serious noise. So much noise, that the underground hip hop community had no choice but to listen.

Jesse Abraham's sound kind of reminds me of artists and groups like Organized Rhyme, Aesop Rock, with bits and pieces of Asher Roth and Slim Shady sprinkled in the mix. Truth is, with a style that is all his own, it is incredibly hard to compare Jesse Abraham to any other artists out now or even before his time.

As Jesse Abraham continues to be appearing across blogs and online hip hop communities every where, he takes a special time out to grant us at the Future of Rap Music (F.O.R.M.) blog this in depth and exclusive interview:

F.O.R.M.: First of all, I would just like to thank you for this interview opportunity. Could you please tell the readers and future fans about yourself. Who is Jesse Abraham, and what do you represent?

Jesse Abraham: Thanks man, I appreciate you taking the time to ask me questions. I am Jesse Abraham – a person sitting on his bed wearing a yellow t-shirt eating granola cereal with vanilla almond milk. I represent all places, concepts, times and energies. I crack my knuckles a lot.

F.O.R.M.: What first inspired you to pursue a career as a rap artist in the music business, and what motivates you to keep pursuing your goals?

Jesse Abraham: I’ve never really pursued a career as a rap artist – I’ve just always enjoyed making and sharing music. Growing up in NYC in the early 80’s, I was surrounded by the culture of hip-hop in its infantile form.

Breakdancing and graffiti got my attention as a child, and once I learned to read and write poetry became a constant in my life. I put the words and music together and before I really knew what I was doing I had a demo recorded. I continued to write rhymes in class, freestyle with friends and listen to music as I grew up.

By the time I was 22 I found myself with a relatively extensive catalogue of songs I had written, and I just kept at it. It wasn’t until ‘09 that I discovered this thing called the Internet and began spreading my songs out to people other than my sister, my girlfriend and my roommates. My goal is to reach people and affect them, and every time I feel like such an occurrence occurs, I’m motivated to make it happen again.

F.O.R.M.: Earlier in your career, you were in a group called 'BTU', which was fortunate enough to open up for such a prolific group as Public Enemy. Did you take away any valuable lessons from Public Enemy's live performance?

Jesse Abraham: Being a part of that show was a true blessing, honor and befuddlement. I was 20 years old and suddenly I was backstage at BB King’s walking past Chuck D, a hero of mine. That was crazy. Seeing how composed and poised he and Flav were before their performance was really inspiring, and watching them do their thing on stage was dope – their set was like 45 minutes and they owned the crowd the whole time.

It’s one thing to be a good musician or a good showman, but to control a crowd with the professionalism and ease of a time-tested, world-traveled crew of hip-hop veterans is unparalleled. And these dudes were in their 40’s, killin it. It was truly overwhelming to share a stage with such awe-inspiring legends. I also learned that sound check actually does matter.

*Video: "Spiderman on Vitamins" - Jesse Abraham*

F.O.R.M.: How important is it for you to have your own website and connect with fans on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter? Also, what are some of the other ways that you market your music to your fans?

Jesse Abraham: Having my own site is cool, but I don’t really know how important it is. Between Twitter & FB & Tumblr & Bandcamp & YouTube & Flickr & MySpace & Blogspot…there’s clearly a plethora of ways for an artist to create an Internet presence without running their own .com platform. What I like about having it is that it allows me to create a visual aesthetic that uniquely represents my style, and I can alter and modify it the way I want.

Also, I bought the domain name before all those other sites existed, so I figured I might as well run with it now that I own it and it’s all cool looking and stuff. But the privilege of being able to interact person-to-person through social media outlets is incomparable. No matter how high my download numbers are or how many hits I get on a YouTube video, there’s nothing more exciting than when a fan reaches out to me directly. It’s probably fun for them to be able to interact with an artist whose music they listen to, but on the receiving end it’s unimaginably fulfilling – because it’s for them that I’m making this music.

Once someone downloads an album, that’s great, they have it – but you never really know how often someone listens to it, what it does for a person’s life or how someone is affected by your art. To find out, and to hear it directly from that source, is truly amazing. Playing live shows is my favorite way to get my music out there, as the response is so immediate and the listener’s experience is more all encompassing. Newsletters and status updates are cool, but seeing someone live really allows you to know what an artist is all about in a well-rounded manner.

F.O.R.M.: You've worked with a lot of up and coming producers such as K.O. Beatz, !llmind, Jinesis and many others. What do you look for specifically when you select producers for a project?

Jesse Abraham: I don’t really choose producers for a project, I more-so choose music. My beat selection process is very detailed, as I’m quite picky when it comes to beats and I am always trying to work with a sound I’ve yet to mess with. Innovation is paramount, as is that all-elusive “bounce” factor – I like that head nod ish.

I find great pleasure in writing and crafting songs, and once a beat makes me want to construct something (not just write rhymes, but assemble a composition) then I know I’ve found a beat worth keeping. I also like comparing new beats to those that I may have already selected for a certain project. Overall, I aim for my songs to affect people, so if a producer affects me, that’s a good start.

F.O.R.M.: On the collaborative tip, you have worked with a lot of underground rap artists such as Homeboy Sandman, Blu, Fresh Daily and Eric Sosa among others. How do you decide which artists to approach for a guest feature?

Jesse Abraham: I like to work with artists that intrigue me as a fan first. I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by this inimitable talent-pool here in NYC, and to be able to work side by side with these cats whose music inspires me is truly a gift. I sometimes will pick a beat and immediately hear someone else’s style or voice within the drums, or the melody, or just in the tempo.

Sometimes I’ll meet an artist and we’ll just vibe as humans, which often results in the inevitable “Yo, we gotta collab” interaction. Other times I’ll end up in the studio with someone and the wheels just start turning organically. Every situation is different, and at this point in my musical meanderings I couldn’t possibly be happier with the artists with whom I’ve had a chance to join forces.

*Video: "A Little Bit of Everything" - Jesse Abraham*

F.O.R.M.: I counted at least 30+ venues in the New York area alone where you have performed live. How important is it for you as an artist to grind out live performance after live performance on the local scene while also building your online presence as well?

Jesse Abraham: The importance of touching as many stages as possible cannot be underemphasized. There's so much to be obtained from rocking live - creating new fans, reinvigorating already existing supporters, building with other artists & DJ's, selling merch, forming relationships with promoters & venue owners, having fun, networking with anyone and everyone possible, putting up stickers in bathrooms, trying out new material & learning from other acts...all valuable features of the live show experience.

The indie scene is largely based on building relationships, and doing so face to face is incredibly more effective than online. As efficient & convenient as the Internet may be, nothing beats an actual interaction. And as cool as it is to have projects out that are accumulating a buzz, seeing the love in the faces of individuals in the crowd is unparalleled.

F.O.R.M.: On June 14th you released the expanded album edition of your "One Day" EP. What inspired you to turn the material from the original EP into a full-length album?

Jesse Abraham: I dropped the EP knowing that I'd eventually release the LP version. I did it in parts as a bit of an experiment - the EP was exclusively for sale via iTunes (and it hardly sold at all) and the LP was free (and it moved like crazy).

I knew that the EP was only a few songs shy of being a complete album, so once I filled those gaps and felt like the time was right, I made the move and dropped the full-length. I'm very appreciative for how it's been received and I look forward to continuing to spread the word.

F.O.R.M.: Now that the "One Day" expanded edition is out, can you tell the fans what to expect next from Jesse Abraham?

Jesse Abraham: I suppose people can expect a continued jovial existence, gradual decay & eventual demise. Between now and then I will be working on a concept album slated for an early 2012 release, as well as rocking as many out-of-state shows as possible. I'm planning to learn how to cook Australian food and being able to sit comfortably on the ground is a goal of mine.

F.O.R.M.: Lastly, is there any shout outs or important messages you would like to share with your fans?

Jesse Abraham:
Dearest Fans:

Please be nice to each other, and be kind to people who are not my fans as well. If I am performing in a show that you are physically capable of attending, then you should come and check it out with your eyes and ears.
If you’d like to, you can download all of my music for free at
You can learn all about who I am as a human at

You can catch me rocking a significant show at Southpaw in Brooklyn on Aug 25th (more details on that to come).
Don't drink milk.
Make something every day.
Defy your parents.

1 comment:

  1. Jesse Abrahem is really awesome and he is a great singer.His video little bit of everything is amazing.He has done a great job.


Rap music business - Marketing and Promoting the Future of Hip Hop