Edited by: Tom Williams
One day Planetary (Outerspace) hands me a cd. It's EQ's Out The Ashtray Of L.A. album. The first thing I noticed was the guest appearances, which include Philly's own Outerspace and Reef The Lost Cauze (both appear on 2 tracks each.) I had already seen EQ's album on all the popular "underground" hip hop websites, but still didn't know anything about him. So the next logical step was to interview him. With so many talented rappers in the underground, he chose to show Philly some love on his project. Now it's our turn to return the favor. Meet EQ.
215hiphop: For those not familiar, tell us who you are.
EQ: I go by EQ, I grew up DJing in Northeast L.A. Most emcee's will probably talk about their background in music etc...but I was just fortunate enough to have a few homies with decks and a whole lot of vinyl. I started spitting/producing at the age of 15 after business died down in my area for DJ's; I needed something to keep me involved in music by any means necessary.
215: You have an impressive guest list on your album, including Philly's own Outerspace & Reef the Lost Cauze. What made you want to work with them?
EQ: I've been a fan of Outerspace since I was a teen. Back then I was just a knucklehead copping anything I can get a hand on; Jedi Mind was the illest. So I remember the day I went to cop some vinyl and saw Jedi Mind Tricks Presents Outerspace, ever since then I was hooked. After following their projects, I stumbled on Reef, and so on and so on. This was still around the time when everyone was bumping a lot of West Coast hip hop (which I'm a fan of as well), I just found my preferred type of music.
215: Tell us about the new album, Out The Ashtray Of LA.
EQ: After working in groups for so long as a producer and as an emcee, I thought it was about time I should drop the album I've been wanting to make since I was 17. Although times were hard and problems are always gonna be there, I decided to get this done by any means necessary. I stopped complaining about how hard it was gonna be and just did it. And there ain't no better feeling.
215: Philly is known for our DJs, and I know that's how you started out. Tell us a little about that.
EQ: I started DJing at the age of 11 and I picked it up quick, being the only kid my age at a house party. It was an experience, I mean sure I was spending anything I got on new records but I loved doing it, being in control of the parties sound, it was a trip. I was fairly decent at scratching, I mean I wasn't no DMC champion, but enough to do cuts. I was really ill on my timing, which ultimately helped me on producing.
215: How did you transition from DJ to MC?
EQ: Well after DJing for so long, the party scene died down ... or it got dangerous. After a few people I knew were shot and everyone I kicked it with got older and stopped on music themselves I needed to find something. Living life on the 9 to 5 tip was not gonna cut it for me. So I started out producing (my first beats were super whack.) Then one day at school I was peeping out a cypher and although they were doing their thing someone spit a battle rhyme in my direction. So I just replied on some funny shit. People kept asking why I never thought about rhyming, so I gave it a shot.
215: With so many new artists coming out every year, tell us why we should check your album out.
EQ: It's the constant hustle I'm putting in. I mean so many emcee's coming out every year just thinking this is the cool thing to do. It's a life style, a business, an art form, and in some cases the only thing a person has. I mean people don't understand how much work goes into an album or to stay consistent. I produce, emcee, DJ, and engineer for a lot of people and make sure everything is quality and presentable. I didn't realize that 'til the older heads broke it down. That's why I got nothing for respect for those that help, cuz they see the hunger.
215: The album has been out for a few months now. Are you satisfied with how it's been received so far?
EQ: It's doing great, Undergroundhiphop.com has been showing mad love, not to mention all the positive feedback I've been receiving. All I'm looking for is getting it in the right hands. Considering it's been out for a few months it still has mad potential.
215: Any plans for shows on the east coast?
EQ: I'm looking forward to the possibility. I mean I've been offered but I can't be getting all worked up on every proposition. I'm confident it will happen but I'll believe it when i see it.
215: Last words for Philly?
EQ: Much respect to the city with a culture I've lived by for most of my life. You truely are the foundation of brotherly love. Cop the album or listen to it and feel free to give your honest opinion. Big up to the fam, 215hiphop.com, Planetary, Reef, Mag and all the AOTP, thanks again.