Business-savvy vixen Essence isn't just coming for her spot next to regining rap veterans, she's making it known that it's already her time. With her first EP, Fame On, dropping in a few months, the Connecticut-bred, self-proclaimed diva is steadily building her own empire, De Essence Entertainment, LLC, and building with heavy hitters in the music biz. Since penning her first rhymes at 14 years old, the business owner never let up on lyrical growth or deserted her passion for music leading her to where she is today. Without further ado, VIBE Vixen would like to introduce the "Unorthodox" emcee who discussed her trek into the music biz, why relationships aren't on her grind radar and her upcoming music projects. -Niki McGloster
Who is Essence Rap Diva?
When I started I was really hardcore, just going at the rapping really hard lyrically. As an artist, I’m really organic, I’m original, I have a fusion sound now with my sound and my voice. I’m just that female artist all around that makes the music relating especially to females in all aspects of our lives, so you’re going to be able to relate to my music whether you’re sad, happy, making money, just an all around female movement. I can even call myself Rap Diva because I grew into myself, I found my femininity and I believe that as female rappers, we can still be feminine and sexy and have that elegance to us.
You’re an attractive emcee. Do you think that takes away from people paying attention to your raps, and how do you balance the two?
It’s very evident that sex sells in the entertainment biz, but I think my music speaks for itself. There’s content in my music, but at the same time I’m a female and I’m comfortable in my skin, you know. We all want to feel sexy, so I feel there’s an equal balance in my whole image.
Well since we’re talking heavily about women, what’s your opinion on the state of female emcees as a whole, and, of course, the female artist in the forefront right now, Nicki MInaj?
With Nicki Minaj, I feel like she’s opened the lanes back up for female rappers period. She’s got her own thing going on, her versatility, her personalities going and just her whole fashion statement, so I think she’s doing her and that’s a great thing. She’s on the highway and there’s so many lanes, and that’s when I’m coming in and picking whichever lane I want to go in. As far as female emcees, people don’t realize how many female emcees [are out there]. I just hosted The Female Of The Rap Game Vol. 7, an underground mix CD, and when I actually sat down and listened to all the female rappers, everybody had talent. Lyrically, content… it was ridiculous. I had to vouch for the CD, and I was really happy that I did it. I mean, one or two needed a little work, I’m not gonna lie. It wasn’t one hundred percent perfect, but the talent that’s out there... I remember Lil’ Mama being in one of the cyphers that we did and there was so much talent from everywhere. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and there’s a lot of female emcees out there. I think gradually it’s going to become a bigger category in the industry, especially when I’m around because I definitely want to make some type of unity and put female rappers together.
As far as being a female emcee, do you want to get into the game and supersede that title? For interview purposes and to explain who someone is you have to tag it “female rapper”, but when you label someone as that, others believe that it is inferior to or less than a male emcee. What are you thoughts?
I definitely feel like my delivery and my rhymes represent me and are strong enough to hold me. I feel like us as women, we can definitely hold our spot at the top next to these males rappers. I don’t necessarily want to depend too much on that lyrical strength like that because, yes, I hold it, but I’m very versatile. If it’s one of those tracks where I’m laid back, I’m just laid back on the track. That’s one thing I want the fans to know; I have many layers to me as an artist. I’ve grown to just want to make records, songs and a variety of songs that will just touch other people.