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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Jesse Abraham
Monday, February 15, 2010

Born and raised in Manhattan, but now living in Brooklyn, Jesse Abraham has a lot more than just “emcee” on his creative resume. He’s a published writer, accomplished poet, tried his hand at stand up comedy, and he co-founded Hartman Tutoring, a Manhattan-based tutoring company where he is currently the managing director. While doing all these things, however, music kept calling. Last year Abraham decided to start going all out with his music, and with the exception of a horrific near death incident (that you can read about here, because I wasn’t about to ask him to relive it again), he’s been unstoppable. Abraham, teaming with Spills, recently released the Alphabutter project, and on February 16th he’ll be coming out with his own mixtape titled XS. With each project he does Abraham always makes sure to follow his three rules of making music, “Rule #1: Don’t bite. Rule #2: Be dope. Rule #3: Always progress.” This week I caught up with Abraham to find out more about his work, his life, and what he hopes people are saying about him behind his back.

Adam Bernard: Tell me a little bit about your history. Give everyone an idea of some of the things that helped shape you growing up.
Jesse Abraham: When I was a kid I didn’t generally fit in with a lot of the kids I was surrounded by because all I cared about was hip-hop, basketball and Michael Jackson, and in the 1980’s this was not very normal for a 4’2” freckle-faced kid who went to the Rodeph Sholom Hebrew Day School. At the same time I didn’t really fit in with my friends who I played ball and listened to EPMD with, because I was a 4’2” freckle-faced kid who went to the Rodeph Sholom Hebrew Day School. I was a somewhat unique kid – break dancing at the age of four, rocking baggy clothes when I was seven or eight, waaayyyy before it was “in style,” I started shaving designs in my head by the time I was ten, and it was all real to me, because that was what I grew up around and that was what I first gravitated towards. I was being true to myself, even though from the outside looking in it might not have appeared that way.

Adam Bernard: You recently dropped the Alphabutter project with Spills. What were your goals for this, musically, when you started putting it together?
Jesse Abraham: Alphabutter was an album that in many ways hoped to reflect the organic, joyful manner in which the material it came to life. We had a deadline due to the fact that Spills was headed to Cambodia right around New Year’s, so we pumped out as much material as possible, smiling. We wrote and arranged most of the tracks in a two week span at Spills’ apartment in Bed-Stuy surrounded by friends and family, dogs and bottles, lighters and vegetables. Although as emcees we both have a more serious side to us, this project is meant to be a celebration and an adventure. The other artists involved are good friends of ours, so the entire experience is coated in music’s mucilaginous mayhem. Alphabutter is a manifestation of family-based love and passionate energy. It’s universal, and it brings us together. That’s what this album did for us, and it’s what we hope it can do for its listeners as well.

Adam Bernard: How did you originally link up with Spills?
Jesse Abraham: Picture the scene: I’m walking from the Myrtle-Willoughby G train stop over to some “studio” where I’m gonna meet a dude named Spills and possibly record some stuff.  I had just met his fiancé a few days earlier and she urged me to come by to work with him/them. I walk into their house not knowing what to expect, just ready to rhyme when asked to, and I’m welcomed by Angelo opening the door a crack and saying, “I have a dog! Ignore the dog! He’ll eat your face!” Spills was setting up his 34 lb. microphone in the middle of their living room. We said whatup and the beats started playing. Moments later some friends of theirs walked in and found themselves chilling in the midst of the infantile stages of Alphabutter’s creation.

Adam Bernard: That’s really dope, and Alphabutter has some great music on it, including a remix to “Double Time” that features Pete Colon, Warren Britt, Cav, Premonition, Top $ Raz and Dyalekt. What about each of these artists do you feel makes them a unique voice on the track?
Jesse Abraham: I was so excited to get each one of these superb artists involved on the album, and to have them all on one track was phenomenal. Spills and I actually had verses of our own recorded for this remix, but we chose to remove our parts in order to let these dudes take the shine 100%. I had never heard Pete Colon spit before, but Spills was adamant about getting him involved so I was more than happy to oblige. I think he comes with a great flair for interesting rhyme schemes and I really loved his cadence on that track. Everyone knows Warren Britt for his energy, but I view Warren as a really gifted lyricist with an amazing knack for imagery. He said, “making volcanoes vomit” and “shootin pool with the planets.” Warren’s just a dope dude, and it comes through in his approach to his craft. Cav is actually a guy I’ve known about for years through his group The Dugout. His style is just amazing to me. The way his voice cuts through every track he’s on and his way with words is really refreshing. He’s a flat-out dangerous emcee. Premonition? I don’t know who that is. Is he on this song? Ha! Prem’s a whirlwind of talent and experience. I can’t get enough of his wordplay, and he’s the Barry White of hip-hop. Top $ Raz I came across when I started hanging out with Kalil Kash. When I heard Spilled Milk I was like, “this dude has some serious crossover appeal.” It’s not that his style is commercial, it’s just that it’s overwhelmingly engaging. He sets himself apart on this track with his ability to flip his voice and his poetic rhythm. And then Dyalekt comes in and straight up kills it with his first line. This dude is an artist, 100%. His ability to dance over the beat amazes me, as he doesn’t hit any corners or get stuck in any cavities. His flow is effortless and he’s such a unique dude, it’s an honor to share the floor with him any time.

Adam Bernard: What about your own voice? What do you feel you’re bringing to the game?
Jesse Abraham: Through my music I hope to not only share who I am/was/will be, but also inspire listeners to share their own personal truths, as well. My honesty will invite other people to find their honesty. The average emcee can often be described as the loudest in the room. Not me. My music doesn’t scream, “look at me look at me!” It’s more of an opportunity for me to say, “look at us.” As a constantly active participant and observer of society, my music is music that is essentially made by everybody for everybody.

Adam Bernard: If you overheard two people talking about your music, how would you hope they’d be describing it?
Jesse Abraham: I would hope that they would describe my style as unique and masterful. I craft words carefully, and I approach hip-hop in a very personal manner, so I would hope that it comes through on my songs. And then, for those who might really burrow through my writing, there are hidden gems in nearly every line I write. I was raised on Faulkner, Shakespeare and Fitzgerald, and my rhyming has hints of literature more than poetry. Literally almost everything I spit has a double meaning of some sort, and as I studied the symbolism and allusions of great novelists, I attempted to incorporate the same sophistication into my lyrics. So the word “dope” would be nice to hear.

Related Links

Website: jesseabraham.com
Twitter: twitter.com/jesseabraham
YouTube: youtube.com/jesseabraham212
Facebook: facebook.com/jesseabraham212
Alphabutter: alphabutter.bandcamp.com
XS: jesseabraham.bandcamp.com


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:25 AM  
  • At 2:25 PM, Blogger Warren said…

    For The Winterview! XS is Coming and i'm STOKED!

  • At 1:49 AM, Blogger feleciacruz said…

    "Jesse abraham is the shit shit shit, its ridiculoussssss"

  • At 9:50 AM, Blogger Elan Freudenthal said…

    Great interview. Respect


  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger J. said…

    Look man, I'ma tell you like this. Jesse Abraham is that dude!! If you haven't download XS, what are you waiting for stupid?? Get to it!! Wont regret it, Tell em J Monop sent you!

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