An Interview With The NY Rapper, SAINT HILL On His Brand New EP, ‘The Essence,’ Staying Busy At Home These Days and More!
On March 13th, the New York rapper Saint Hill unveiled his honest new EP The Essence via Players Republik.
A six-track release showcasing Saint Hill’s head turning flow, The Essence opens with recent single ‘Ain’t Got Time’, an infectious slice of modern hip-hop produced by LO and strung together by the pitch-perfect vocals of Kansas singer-songwriter Matthew Grant.
Check out the EP Here: https://ffm.to/the-essence
Grant appears again on the EP’s title track, with his soaring vocals proving the perfect match for Saint Hill’s high-energy rapping. Next up, ‘Absent’ is the EP’s most hard-hitting track, with Saint Hill delivering an uncompromising dose of social realism over a menacing beat. Closing things out, ‘Deliverance’ sees him at his brilliant best while Varnell Hill is on chorus duties.
“Creating The Essence EP was definitely a fun experience,” Saint Hill recalls. “I wanted to embody a little bit of everything that I think is ‘essential’ to rap and hip-hop.”
He continues: “I wanted to show lyrical versatility and skills through the bars and different flows, like on ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Deliverance’, but also tell stories and make the listeners feel different emotions, like on ‘Last Breath’. Overall, together you get a variety of things that bring out “The Essence” of what rap is all about, and that’s something I felt has been missing lately.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Saint Hill is an artist heavily influenced by Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G and the ‘golden age’ of hip-hop, while also drawing comparisons to the masterful Big L due to his clever wordplay, technical skill and incredible breath control.
A pitch perfect sonic representation of his personality, The Essence is the release destined to propel Saint Hill to the hip-hop A-leagues.
Learn more about Saint Hill in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So how are you keeping busy and musical these days during this crazy Covid-19 pandemic?!
I’ve been doing just about anything to keep myself from going insane! Haha! I’ve been working out, listening to beats and just continuing to write new content. You know, just taking advantage of this time stuck in the house!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician?
When I actually thought I could become a musician was in high school. I used to play around rapping from when I was way younger, but I think it was when I got to high school when I really thought to myself, “Hmm…I think I can really do this!” Thinking back, I probably was super wack at that point, but in my head, I thought I was the nicest!
What do you think motivates you day in and day out? How has that changed over the years?
Originally I was motivated because I wanted to prove myself to everyone, and show my skills in a pool where many can now wake up and simply declare themselves a rapper. My motivation has changed over the years because now I’m not looking to “prove” anything. I know what I’m capable of, and while I’ll continue to put my all into my music 100%, now my motivation is simply the fun and passion I have for the creative process. I love watching everything come together, from the beats, to the hooks, to the bars, and the adlibs, everything! Then finally seeing how its received by the listeners, its definitely a thrilling process, and that’s what I do it for now.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the kind of music that you make? If not, why is that?
I think my hometown has influenced the way I write music. A lot of artist from New York are big on lyrics and word play, which I love. To me it adds an additional layer to the music and its something I always aim to include in my own. I’m not saying everything has to be overly complex, but bars still matter!
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Was your family and friends supportive of this career choice?
Music was important in my life because it always helped me get through anything. Whether it was tough times dealing with family issues, or relationship problems, or happy times with family, friends, and loved ones, music always played a huge part. I love how music associates itself with specific points in your life. It’s like hearing a song could take you back to a particular moment and all of the feelings can come rushing back, its dope!
If you weren’t a musician today, could you see yourself doing anything else?
If I wasn’t a musician today, I’d probably be doing something in computers, or video editing.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career?
The biggest surprise so far has been the amount of strangers who reach out to show love and support. When I first started making music, of course the people who would originally hear the stuff I made were close family and friends, but to my surprise, it wasn’t the “family and friends” who showed the most support.
What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
A welcomed challenge would be finding the time to make music. Aside from this current time I have stuck at home due to COVID-19, I would literally have to write music everywhere just to make time and get certain things done. I come up with new flows and bars while driving, flying, taking a shower, riding the train, you name it! It’s not always the easiest, but I love it either way.
What has been the best part?
The best part would be creating and recording. I love the process and watching everything come together. Challenging myself, re-recording to get certain parts just right, and making sure everything is enunciated correctly. It’s tough, and sometimes overwhelming, but always worth it to see it through to the finished product.
Let’s talk about your brand new EP, “The Essence.” What was the inspiration for these songs?
The inspiration behind the tracks on “The Essence” was literally just to give the listeners a piece of me, while also giving them a piece of everything I think makes Hip Hop, Hip Hop.
What was it like working with your producer LO and singer, Matthew Grant?
It was dope because both are extremely talented! So the music comes together and speaks for itself!
How did you go about choosing them to work with on it?
With LO, I had the chance to listen to the beat for “Ain’t Got Time”, and immediately after hearing it, I already knew I had to write to it! For me personally, sometimes hearing the right beat is all it takes to inspire me to write. It may not happen all the time, but in this case, it did, and everything flowed naturally! As for Matthew, I had the chance to work with him in studio out in Cali, and we vibed together on a few tracks. The chemistry was so authentic, so our talents both shine through on our collaborations!
What was it like working with Players Republik to release it?
Working with Players Republik has been great! It’s always convenient when people genuinely share a vision because it makes for smoother process!
Why do you think they are the right place for you and your music today?
While anyone can listen to “The Essence EP” and vibe to it, Players Republik creates a direct link to a community that I hold dear to my heart, and that’s the gaming community! As a gamer, I know how important music is whether its playing through with in-game music, or just listening to a soundtrack as you tackle some levels in a new release you just picked up! Music plays a huge role, and I love how they bridge that community together.
Did anything surprise you about the process of putting the it together?
I was pleasantly surprised as to how responsive everybody involved was, especially when dealing with the distances between each party.
What were the challenges?
The challenges faced would probably just be the deadlines at which things needed to be taken care of, but that’s typical in most scenarios. I wouldn’t consider it anything out of the ordinary.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
Since I first started making music, I think my range of content as well as how I approach writing has greatly expanded, and so in turn my sound has changed. I welcomed that sort of change though, because I think it makes me far more versatile as an artist, one that cant simply be placed in a box and labeled.
How do you feel about social media?
I love social media. I spend a lot of time browsing social media for the jokes and the memes, but I definitely need to put more time into sharing more of myself.
What do you think social media has done for your career so far?
I think social media has helped me tremendously in my career so far simply by creating links with people who believe in me, and support me on a daily basis. When people have the opportunity to see my talent through clips on social media, it allows them to directly interact with me, something that would be extremely hard otherwise.
What is it like keeping up with all your different accounts?
Keeping up with all of the accounts is definitely a challenge, especially when something new is popping up every other week! I like to stay involved though, so I’m definitely on all of the major platforms.
What is your favorite way to connect with fans?
My favorite way to connect with fans would be through Instagram.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
In the future I would love to work with Jhene Aiko, Fabolous, Chris Brown, Joey Badass, & A Boogie.
Who has been inspiring you and the music that you make?
I wouldn’t say a person in particular because I get a lot of inspiration from things I personally experience in life, the people around me, or the things I see that are going on in the community.
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played?
I would love to hear a song of mine played in a movie or a TV show. I think that would be dope and something I could cross off my bucket-list!
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope people take away how authentic the music is, the amount of passion that goes in to the craft, and just genuinely enjoy it to the fullest!