Armstrong hip-hop artist E-Klass schools listeners
Published: Thursday, September 8, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011 11:09
It's not easy getting into the music scene as a self-promoting solo artist, but for Armstrong student Edward Williams, aka "E-Klass," it just comes with the territory. On July 21 Williams released his EP "Klass Act," and has been getting the word out about his music ever since. A native of Warsaw, N.C., Williams moved to Savannah to attend Armstrong in 2009. It was here Williams met Casey "CJ" Jones, who became an influence for Williams to develop his skills as a hip-hop artist about a year ago.
While Jones was working on his "Rap Thesis" for his senior project at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Williams arbitrarily discovered his talents as a musician. Jones encouraged Williams to give rapping a try, and he's been hooked ever since.
"He just kind of blew up after I put a bug in his ear … ," said Jones. "We were in my kitchen and he was just letting stuff go, unloading poetry and stuff that he was just thinking of and it was all really good."
For Williams, rapping was a first, and he was just along for the ride.
"I'd never been a rapper. [Jones] told me to just work with it. He shot me 20 beats, the first night I probably recorded five tracks. I dropped a mixtape in a month and a half" Williams said.
Mixtapes are a way for rap artists to get their newest creations to the public quickly, without having to record a full-length album. Most mixtapes feature a couple of songs, are free for downloading and are meant to be heard and shared.
With minimal help from the local music scene, Williams has been perfecting his craft. Noting mainstream rapper T.I. and gospel rapper Certified Truth as some of his biggest influences, he gets as many instrumental tracks he can get his hands on, and records raps over them in his home studio.
"I try and do something different every time. Versatility, I think it'll help you last longer in this thing," he said. "Doing more than you usually do, getting outside your element is important. It's tough; you have to have new material all the time."
For Williams, his most recent creation, "Klass Act," is an example of his versatility.
"I just wanted to show ‘me' a little bit … I want people to get a feel for me, on the mixtape I've got something for everybody," he said. "I've got a poem, a love song, a hate song, a breakup song, a song for the guys … just trying to show what I'm worth."
Marvin "Ben Ten" Bennet, a fellow rapper and friend of Williams, speaks highly of "Klass Act."
"Overall it's the best work he's put out so far. The quality, the parts and mixing, his style, delivery and performance are all better."
As a student and member of the Army Reserve, Williams has a lot on his plate, but he always makes time to work on music. To Williams, time management and work ethic are the keys to his musical career, as well as making the most of every available moment.
"He's a go-getter. That's why I think I like working with him so much. We both want to succeed; we both want to enjoy what we're doing … . He's going somewhere, I know he is." Jones said.
Currently, Williams and Jones are working together on a production company they've created called Indie Five Star Productions. They hope to combine photography, short films, commercials and marketing skills into a variety of promotional applications, using the company to help themselves and other upstart businesspeople gain exposure.
The duo is also planning a music video for one of the tracks from "Klass Act."
In addition to a potential upcoming show on Sept. 19, Williams — in collaboration with fellow Armstrong rappers No Way Out — hopes to release a full-length album in February. He is also looking for other Savannah instrumentalists, vocalists and beat makers who are interested in contributing.
Above all, Williams thanks Armstrong students for their support, but stresses the importance of education:
"The rap game can end today — I've still got to go to college… . First and foremost I'm going to graduate."
Find links to music and more information about Williams' music at Facebook.com/ EKlass00, or follow him on Twitter @Klassic_life.