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By definition, Evolution is change in the inherited traits of a population from one generation to the next. These changes are caused by a combination of three main processes: variation, reproduction, and selection. When referring to ESSO, the Theory of Evolution is at the heart of where he stands right now, and a major influence in the direction of how he expresses himself musically. “Everybody wants to bring New York back. I want to be one of the people at the forefront of moving New York forward,” he says unapologetically, signaling a deliberate desire to carve his own niche and blaze his own trail.

Born and raised in Harlem, ESSO was always very much in tune with the duality of his surroundings. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, he was extremely aware of the street activities taking place around him, but he also understood the cultural significance of Harlem from a young age. This same understanding would help shape his musical identity years later. As he puts it, “On one side of Harlem you have the Bumpy Johnson’s and the Frank Lucas’ and AZ’s of the world, and on the other side you have the Langston Hughes’ and Count Basie’s and the Harlem Renaissance. I’ve been exposed to both sides, which makes me look at things differently than a lot of people.”

Since releasing ESSOcentric in October of 2006, and the follow-ups ESSObama: The Champagne Campaign, and E3: E-Day, ESSO has quickly become one of the most well known independent artists in New York City. Named “Unsigned Hype” by The Source Magazine in December of 2006, ESSO has also made appearances on BET’s Rap City and MTV’s Sucker Free: Straight from the Streets, SHADE45 (Sirius Satellite Radio), XM Raw 66 (XM Satellite Radio), various College Radio shows throughout New York State and was featured twice in SCRATCH Magazine to critical acclaim. He has also performed across the country in New York, Las Vegas and Washington DC, played at CMJ in 2008 and played South By Southwest for the first time in 2009.

With the release of E3: E-Day, ESSO also introduced himself to the online world and has become a constant presence on some of the most respected blogs and websites across the internet. In late 2008, ESSO teamed up with to release The Gardens, a collection of remixes of Lil Wayne’s Triple Platinum album Tha Carter III. Since then, he has continued to utilize the internet as a way of feeding his audience music directly from the source. “The internet has changed the game,” says ESSO. “There are fewer barriers now between the artists and the fans, so as an artist I embrace it and use it to keep myself out there while I put my album together.”

Currently ESSO is working on his debut album, titled EVOLVED. The title is reflective of ESSO’s attitude towards where he sees Hip Hop going and where he would like to take it. It’s also a tribute to the era that raised him musically that provided the foundation for him to make music at all. “It took me a while to figure out what my first album should sound like,” he says. “Now that I’ve figured it out, I’m excited to watch it all come together, and even more excited to see how people respond to it.”

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