Redd Roxx Rundown: Meet Eric ‘Poetry’ Becker
blog by Maria Redd • October 12, 2012 @ 11:48am
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Eric ‘Poetry’ Becker. Poetry is an educated and dynamic artist whose skill and talent has set him on the road to success in the music game! I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him to give us a glance into the poetic mind of Poetry.
Redd Roxx:So let’s start out by telling the people who Eric “Poetry” Becker. Where are you from?
Poetry: I am originally from Niagara Falls, NY. They say I am a kin to 95% of Niagara Falls. I was adopted at four, then moved out to the suburbs just outside of Niagara Falls. If you have ever seen the movie, Losing Isaiah, that is literally my life story. Relative to my blood family, I am told I am a kin to Washington, Davis, Harris, Harrison, Searcy, Kitchen, Allen, Mason, Billips, etc.
RR: That’s interesting, and credit to you to have made it so far given your upbringing. Something else I found interesting about you, aside from your stuggles and music, is that you are very educated and you hold a host of professional and educational credentials. Do you mind listing them for us?
P: I am a current master’s of architecture student at the University at Buffalo. I graduate in 2014, then hope to get into civil and structural engineering.
I am a poet, philosopher, self-proclaimed author, public speaker to middle and high school kids, visual artist, photographer, etc. I represent several organizations—I am a Senator at UB’s ArchGSA (the Architectural Graduate Student Association); I am an officer of public relations for UB N.O.M.A.S (the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students) and I am a chaperone at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff Estate.
In addition to being a public speaker for Reverend and Master Robert Heisner at Project Future WNY, I have also been merited with several educational awards and have worked at all three of my colleges—those being ITT Technical Institute in Getzville, SUNY Empire State College and the State University of New York at Buffalo.
RR: You’re a busy man! So, now that we have established that you are far more than what meets the eye, let’s get back to the music. Who’s your greatest musical influence?
P: There isn’t one sole individual. I listen to whatever moves me. I listen to a song over and over until it’s stuck in my head so I can listen to it in my head at any given point in time from that day forward. But if I had to choose one artist who I think moved me the most, it would be 2Pac Amaru Shakur because he brought so much to the table. He was an all-around artist, talent, activist, actor, poet, author and great individual when he wanted to be. That’s what hip-hop needs more of.
To name more, I would say any great artist like Michael Jackson, Sade, Alicia Keys, Nas, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Musiq Soulchild, Lauryn Hill, Usher, Jaheim, etc. There are too many to name. I also find inspiration in artists, bands and composers like Chopin, Beethoven, Jennifer Athena Gatalis, etc. Each artists brings a different vibe or presence to the table, so I favor a lot of artists for specific traits. I am influenced by a lot of artists who I think have the talent, upbringing, wisdom, and vision—they just need the right production and marketing team to bring their greatness into fruition.
RR: I understand that it can be very hard to choose just one artist—you listed a lot of industry greats! Many are legends which makes me wonder at what age did your passion for music begin?
P: Thirteen years old. Seventh grade of middle school is when I knew hip-hop was my calling.
RR: Do you consider yourself an emcee, lyricist or poet? Or are they all one in the same to you?
P: Each song or freestyle brings out a different side of me. I am an emcee by way of freestyle, a lyricist by way of song format and a poet by way of spoken word whose context holds substance—something the hip-hop game is severely lacking at this current point in time.
RR: Digging a little deeper, being what would be considered an educated man, you obviously know the difference between entertainment and reality. Do you find it difficult to create music that is both commercially appealing and socially conscious?
P: No, because the person I am fits both of these molds. When I am in the club, partying with club owners, bouncers, bartenders, models, athletes, artists and people in a position of power, the reality of my life is exactly what sells commercially. When I am in the club or at the bars, the topics of conversation are typically not socially conscious, so you adapt to that environment.
But, when I am in public, speaking to these kids, or in a place of higher learning, or giving a speech in front of an educated, intellectual person, the context is different. Understand? The beat I am given to paint the picture depicts the mood and vibes I feel, consequently making me think, act and talk a certain way.
The only difficulty I find today is having the public not want to listen to anything but this bubblegum, peaches-n-cream, fake-ass horse manure that is polluting the airwaves! Get offended? Guess what—I’m probably dissing you!
RR: You threw in a couple jabs there but I’m not mad at you! I agree that a lot of music lacks substance and that lack of substance appeals to the individuals who may not know the difference. So I absolutely agree 100 percent with you there.
Seems like you’re really in tune to your musical side. What projects do you currently have in the works?
P: I have recorded most of my first independent album, A Diamond in the Dirt, with guest features including T Roc, Rachel Palumbo, Wenzday Atemz, AK Reed, Quiet Boy, Alumni, Get’Em and more. That project got pushed back because we are moving it independently and I don’t have the time to milk this money—there is no time to work a job when you are a master’s student.
Besides that, Vandal has just released a club banger called “Impatient” featuring Fosta, Coach, and myself, Poetry. Shout-out to Coach for signing a deal down in Florida! Shout-out to Fos, too. He’s been making moves all over, moreso down in Atlanta. I heard he has a couple deals on the table right now with some majors.
RR: Seems like some of your fellow artists are seeing some success. AAre you currently signed to a major or indie label?
P: No, I am not signed. I represent an independent movement called W.I.D.E Open Entertainment with T Roc, Mackey, and some people in California. My A Diamond in the Dirt album is under that umbrella, feel me?
RR: A lot of artists are choosing to go the indie route these days, such as yourself, mostly to be able to have creative control over their works. With that said, what do you feel about the state of hip-hop today?
P: F***ing horrible! I am sick to my stomach when I really think about what it used to be, what it is now, who the cause is and what “artists” are considered to be the “best.” In addition to seeing and hearing people who don’t deserve a shot in hell getting signed to majors while true talent is out there, like a diamond in the dirt, struggling to survive.
The current stage of hip-hop is more fake than reality. I come from the school of hard knocks, where if you say it, you either did or will do it because there’s hundreds of thousands of dudes out there that will see to it, so be ready at any given point in time.
This mentality leads to so many deaths, prison sentences and true talent getting washed away. This explains why the game is looking to market a different demographic. This is both a positive and negative direction, I think. It’s good because they aren’t looking to market gangsta sh*t but it’s bad because a lot of marks are talking it but aren’t walking it. Straight up, you look like food to me and the company I keep in the streets.
RR: Well, it seems you are trying to bring some realness back to the industry, starting locally, which I applaud. I noticed on your song “Impatient” you collaborated with Fosta and Coach—are there any other local artists that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
P: Not really too many hip-hop artists—no dis. I’ve pretty much worked with or have connects with the names in the 716 that I respect or admire. Shout-out to Joe Streetz…he’s the only one I haven’t given a mention to. Shout-out to G5-Gi…but me and duke already have a connect.
Shout-out to Dionsyus. He needs to come out of the shadows and follow up. I like his fast flow. There’s a battle-cat I seen with a smooth flow named Stizz. Shout out to him. There are a lot of names I haven’t heard so I’d suggest you local artists to reach out. I am far from arrogant or big-headed.
I have heard some singers from the town that I’d like to collab with—one being the beautiful Ms Mia Gardener. I’d like to see if me and Ms. Jocelyn Bowman could create some classics. Shout-out to Rachel Palumbo—we’ve got some classics on deck! The artists I have been reaching out to are moreso in LA, NYC, the A and across seas. I am not too focused on the local scene because Buffalo is not a mecca. In order to open up the doors for the town, I’m down to make connects elsewhere and make it big then come back and put people on.
RR: I have had the pleasure of doing a feature on Dionysus as well. He’s also very talented! Back to you, do you currently have music available for purchase? If so, where can we find it?
P: You can get that “Impatient” single on iTunes. Shout-out to Eric “Vandal” Ryan and Cochise! Other than that, we can’t wait to drop our radio singles off the album. T Roc and I have just been waiting for the right time. I am an extremely busy man so it’s much harder for me to create a buzz when I can’t hit the pave and work the records. DJ Supreme!
RR: Big ups to my WBLK family! Can’t wait to hear some of your music come through our airwaves! As far as live performances, anything in the works?
P: No, not at the moment. Music is on the backburner until the summertime when my schedule is open.
RR: That’s understandable, education first. Even though you aren’t working too much on your music at the moment, how do you feel about the state of the local music scene in Western New York?
P: I feel it could be better on some levels but I think we are in the best position we have ever been. People are getting signed, they are networking and making connects with the right people and major recording artists consistently pump with the town. It’s only a matter of time, God-willing.
RR: Absolutely. Speaking of major recording artists, if you could collaborate with one major artist, who would it be and why?
P: I can’t name just one because there are way too many. I am moreso focused on working with producers. Get at me!
RR: What’s your biggest personal inspiration behind your music?
P: The kid who feels like it’s hopeless. The girl who feels like she’s won’t survive. Because whatever is against you wins when your soul dies. That person with all the talent in the world, they just need a righteous person to put them on. That gangbanger wishing there was another way. I just want to give to music what it gave to me. Without it, I’d be dead, in prison or on my way to one of the two. Quote me on that!
RR: There’s no better reason than to do it for the people in my opinion. Kudos to you on that. If you could give some advice to other up-and-coming artists, what would it be?
P: Be yourself! Don’t talk it if you don’t walk it because being true to yourself during the expression of your lyrics is the key to success, not trying to be something or somebody else, regardless of what people say or how people want you to act.
Never let up! If you want it, plan, execute and never let nobody tell you you can’t! Because the crabs in the bucket will always try to quicksand you! The world is our playground, so reach for the stars and shine! Most importantly, don’t sell your soul! Study the art-form beforehand so you understand what you are representing and the traps and mistakes made by the ones before you so you don’t make those same mistakes!
RR: Lastly, leave us with one of your favorite quotes:
P: [A quote from the movie, American Gangster:]
“See, you are what you are in this world and that’s either one of two things: Either you’re ‘somebody’ or you’re ‘nobody!’” Get yours!
RR: Wise words from a decent man! Thank you so much for your time!
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