Edgar Allen Floe - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
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Edgar Allen Floe: All In The Family
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The Justus League is slowly carving their niche as the biggest crew in the Hip Hop game. With The Away Team, Big Pooh, and L.E.G.A.C.Y. already dropping albums this year, its only right that Edgar Allen Floe gets his chance to shine. With his debut EP True Links, the North Carolina native continues the tradition of the Justus League through his everyday approach on the mic. As a big supporter of the JL, it was only right that MVRemix speak to Edgar about his debut release.
MVRemix: I just want to start off with some background questions so fans can get to know you beyond the music. So where were you born and raised?
Edgar: I was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is about an hour north from Wilmington. I moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey when I was about 4 years old, and was there until I was about nine. Then, I moved back to North Carolina and I’ve been there ever since.
MVRemix: What is it like growing up there over the years, and how did your surrounding environment help shape who you are today?
Edgar: I’ve been through a lot in my life, but I’ve always tried to look at the bright side of every situation. When I was in New Jersey, I moved around so much from school to school, so I never really had a chance to have any long term friends. But when I got back to N.C., then I began to have some stability, and I ended up staying with my Aunt, who is my Guardian and raised me since I was 10. So going through so much when I was young really helped me appreciate what I did have in my life, and I always wanted to make something out of myself. I was a smart kid, and I didn’t just want to be a statistic because of my environment, so I always tried to be positive and believe in myself. I’ve always done my own thing, and always tried to be myself around people, and I still carry that with me today. People always tell me I’m different or I’m a “real” person, and I’m glad I have a high level of respect around my peers.
MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip Hop?
Edgar: My first memory of Hip Hop is hard to pinpoint, because my surroundings had all the elements of Hip Hop all over the place. The graffiti was all over the trains and the abandoned buildings, or you would always see older kids in the streets break dancing. In New Jersey, there would always be these annual festivals, and the kids would jump up on stage and break dance for the onlookers. Hip Hop was everywhere. It was such a major part of life that you didn’t even have to try to point it out or anything. It was just as normal as street lights.
MVRemix: What was the one album you always listened to growing up?
Edgar: The first Rap album I ever listened to constantly was LL Cool J’s “Radio.” But when I was about 10-11 years old, I focused more on listening to the radio, because you could hear everything up there. I used to love listening to the radio all night. I would grab any old cassette tape I could and make dubs every week. I had this old yellow “Dick Tracy” cassette, where you would listen to the tape and read the book at the same time. I dubbed that tape with “Burn Hollywood Burn”, “Fight The Power”, all kinds of jams back then. I used to wake up every morning for school to the Compton’s Most Wanted cassette single, and every morning I would hear MC Eiht say “Wake your punk ass up!” [laughter] That got me up every single day!
MVRemix: How did you first get into rapping?
Edgar: I used to always memorize rap songs, and sometimes I would get up in front of the class and rap to my classmates, kinda like for “Show and Tell.” So I always liked to rap, but I didn’t really believe I could do it seriously. But eventually, I started to writing when I was 14. I would write to all the instrumentals I had from the cassette singles I bought. Ice Cube’s “Really Doe”, Redman’s “Tonight’s The Night”, KMD’s “Peachfuzz", I wrote raps to all of those beats. But when ’94 came around, there were so many crazy songs coming out, and I wanted to write to those beats. So I began to make my own instrumentals, with the pause button on my tape player. It would take me 30 minutes to make a smooth sounding 4 minute instrumental with the pause button. You had to be a patient person to make those pause tapes.
MVRemix: When did you know this was what you wanted to do with your life?
Edgar: Throughout high school I really loved playing basketball. I thought about taking it as far as I could go, and I thought about what it would be like to play in the NBA. But the older I got, the more I started to understand how much I loved music. I realized I could do music seriously when I was about 18. That was the time when I first went to a real studio, and when I started doing shows and performances at parties. I always felt like I had so much to say, considering I’m generally a quiet person. When I would write, I could express myself about anything, so it was like a way to release some frustration. So I just kept writing and kept doing my thing, and I told myself one day I would be able to be heard by many people if I continued to work hard at it.
MVRemix: How did you start to make a name for yourself locally?
Edgar: It began by being active in any of the local events. If there was some kind of festival or a party going on, I knew I could eventually get on the microphone and do my thing. You knew there would be other emcees at these events, so this would be the best chance to show them your skill. Then, those other crews would go back to their spot and tell their people about you. And in my hometown, word spread very quickly.
When I got to college at North Carolina State University, I did the same thing. Going to different events on campus and just showing my skill. I also would press up my own tapes and CDs, and use that to help spread the name around. When people would see you with your own CD, they would take you a little more seriously. So all of this played a major part in how I came up and spread my name around locally.
MVRemix: From there, how did your career progress to a larger scale?
Edgar: Once the Justus League formed, our material slowly began to reach more listeners. Then songs were beginning to get bootlegged and leaked. The crew didn’t know how to take the bootlegging at first, because it was helping promote us and get more people to take notice of our music. I remember this one cat tried to sell me a mixtape or compilation, and it had one of my songs “The Righteous Way To Go” on it! I was like “How is he trying to sell me my shit?” [Laughter] So we knew things were looking better for us since our name was starting to get to more people outside of just North Carolina.
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"I used to always memorize rap songs, and sometimes I would get up in front of the class and rap to my classmates, kinda like for “Show and Tell.” So I always liked to rap, but I didn’t really believe I could do it seriously."