Issue 40 (2002)
“Protect your ears spin indy.” More than a tagline, the phrase is the foundation for the new Earplug EP collection being released off of Ill Boogie Records. The series provides a platform for independent artists such as Emanon, Mars Ill, and The Demigodz to showcase their ideas and talents through four separate efforts. Each project features a single that will be followed up two weeks later by the full release, repeating until the entire series is available. Yesh aka Yeshua Da PoED jumps off the series with the first EP entitled “Intofreshthings.
As part of the Wee Bee Foolish crew and half of the duo that brought us the incredible Siah and Yeshua EP, Yesh has garnered a following that has grown accustomed to him as a key component to a group. However, with this endeavor, he is finally able to pursue music the way he feels most comfortable, as a solo artist. “Intofreshthings” is an introspective look at the different sides of Yesh’s personality with each track providing a new perspective. He sets out to reintroduce the man behind the rhymes and the beats. Finally in complete creative control he rates this project as being his most rewarding work. The direction is noticeably different as he accomplished his goal of making a more mature record, contrasting the playful nature that was the focal point of the Wee Bee Foolish LP, Brighton Beach Memoirs. An example of this new focus is the revealing “Apt209,” where Yesh exhibits vulnerability, while discussing the struggles of pursuing a music career while still living in mom’s crib. In his mind honest expression was necessary to get the point across to the listener. “I want to make honest music. The quick assumption that people make is that if you’re making records everything is all good. It’s respectable to have a 9-5, but those people may not understand how much work it is to do what I do and how many sacrifices I make to live this life. Everything isn’t always good, but there is a focus to move beyond the problems in my life.”
Yesh’s personal issues aren’t the only things on showcase, as discussion of his vices, dreams, and random thoughts are strewn throughout the EP. The dichotomy is evident as track switches from “U Don’t Really” to “The Convo To Have.” On one hand he tells a girl he can’t deal with her in a closer relationship because of his dedication to his career, but on the very next song he is inviting a woman back into his life to fulfill the need for that same type of connection. This simple contradiction shines light onto the complexity of his character. “You would think that I’m saying where I’m at I don’t want a girlfriend, but I’m saying you don’t always feel that way and sometimes you feel the opposite and this is a thought I have as well. It’s love, it’s not like I don’t want to feel that.”
With the exception of DJ Mondee’s offering on “Apt209” Yesh produced every track. The variety displayed ranges from the reversed Sadat X sample on “Shout” to the jazz influenced melodies of “Welcome”.From a production standpoint Yesh has definitely continued to make strides and has added new techniques to his repertoire. Instead of relying on the nice flowing loops that were dominant in his early beats. “With time I’ve definitely stepped up what I can do production wise. I have a new approach to it, but I don’t want to give away all my secrets. My new shit right now is working on drum kits that have more than a kick, snare, and hi-hat to them. It produces a rhythm-oriented sound and that helps you do more interesting patterns. Right now I feel like I’m making music, taking sounds and making new rhythms.”
Production is not the only shift as his flow has undergone an even more noticeable transformation with his delivery much slower and more deliberate than in ‘96. As one of the self proclaimed few who learned to rhyme backwards, that is picking up writing first and working on flow second, Yesh is finally comfortable with his new sound. Admittedly in the past his patterns were based on speed. He’d slow down beats in order to fit more words into a verse forcing himself to kick the lyrics faster when the beat was played at its normal pace. “I definitely wouldn’t do that these days. Back then I thought that was the way I could sound like I was freaking it. I’ve grown from my first record, my voice has settled in. I can do so much more now with my delivery and cadence and beat wise I understand so much more. I used to rhyme a lot faster, but now I take my time on how I approach things and develop it to the way I want to hear it. In the midst of that my delivery is more careful to avoid making a lot of mistakes.”
With a slower more polished flow, Yesh focused on creating the exact sound he wanted and what better place to do that than at home. Instead of putting in extensive work at the studio Yesh produced 90% of the project in house bringing in guests such as CMNR from Word Association, partner Ken Boogalu, and even his sister to contribute to the record. “This is the first record I did at my house. In the studio you’re on the clock and you have to do your vocals as best as possible and make a decision that’s final unless you’re willing to go back and redo it. The extra artists on the EP came by my house and we had a chance to build and carefully create what we wanted to hear. In the studio it’s more rushed. I can definitely hear the difference and from now on this is how I want to record. Right now I’m about to move into my apartment and set the shit up the way I want it. The potential of what I’m going to be able to record is incredible.”
While the record succeeds at giving insight to his persona it ends on a purposely-dark note with the disturbing observations found on “Hustlers.” Yesh ends off the EP with a tale describing the lives of two individuals honed in the art of deceit, using their own brand of hustling to get ahead. While it’s an exercise in storytelling, it may be foreshadowing what’s to come. “The thing I really want to do is have my music show people what’s going on in the world that we might not see but not necessarily give my opinion on it. I want to spread awareness on issues without preaching. Its important for me to say I’ve done that, now I want to do this.”
Pick up Yesh’s EP “Intofreshthings” available off of Ill Boogie Records as well as the rest of the Earplug EP series. For more info on the series check out www.illboogie.com and keep up with Yesh’s future projects on www.headbopmusic.com Also be on the lookout for the next Wee Bee Foolish single, a collaboration with Def Jux representatives Cannibal Ox.