Gwendolyn Brooks once said, “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” This was a lesson musician and artist E-SO$A connected to early in life and lives by to this day. It’s ironic how E-SO$A was always influenced by the idea of building foundations for others, because that mission became his foundation in art. Now, E-SO$A is a thoughtful rapper, “master fabricator” as he calls it, and an inspiring mentor to his community. E-SO$A’s comforting and compassionate essence is fueled by his passion for social issues, helping others, and questioning current systems.
E-SO$A was born in Nigeria before moving to Chicago’s North Side, where he was always vitalized by Uptown’s diversity. To touch on his community work at a young age, E-SO$A volunteered and later worked at the Boys and Girls club until age 21. In advocating for and servicing low income families, E-SO$A developed a strong sense of gratitude for the ever-changing meaning of “home.” Now, you can find E-SO$A hosting cyphers at Millennium Park, rapping with friends at the beach, and, of course, he was avidly present for most of the protests occurring across the city last Spring into the Summer.
Using the momentum from the protests for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all the black lives taken due to police brutality and white supremacy, E-SO$A decided it was time to steer his passion for social justice in the musical direction. He was in such a creative groove despite all of the suffering happening around him and he felt his purpose glowing with a new light. This narrative shift helped birth “Blank Canvas,” E-SO$A’s newest album, which dropped on March 9th.
An album that epitomizes the continuous fight for anti-racism, ‘Blank Canvas’ was actually titled because, in the beginning, E-SO$A felt like he had this empty slate to fill, and he was open to whatever felt right. Obviously it didn’t remain empty for too long as it became packed with both E-SO$A’s experiences, and others’ experiences. ‘Blank Canvas’ has an array of diverse tracks that comment on politics, spirituality, passion, and mental health, but they all have a few things in common: His hooks are intoxicating and catchy, his verses are introspective and pensive, and his beats are sultry and calming, pocketing E-SO$A’s honeyed vocals perfectly. “Fuck Donald Trump and Fuck Lori Lightfoot,” he chants on his track, “Let Us Breathe.” The way the album unfolds could even be described as hydrating. His songs fill you with this tangible perspective… these feelings, stories, and reflections that have you hanging on every word. He urges you to keep fighting, keep taking life day by day, and keep being curious, but his effortlessly cool, deep vocals and rhythm give you something you can groove to. ‘Blank Canvas’ is a full experience. E-SO$A has a mind, style, and kindness only a true leader can have. He’s a voice of the times and a voice we cannot wait to hear more of.