This Is Eskay

From Urb.

Hip-hop hopefuls used to pass through the pages of The Source, XXL and maybe even this magazine on their way to big budget videos and bright lights. Today, rappers go nowhere unless Eskay says so. His chronically updated is the site for hip-hop news, videos and empefrees. This shift in the powers of hip-hop media can really be summarized in lines from two Brooklyn MCs. Biggie once said “And she loves to show me off of course/Smiles every time my face up in The Source.” Today, Brooklynite Skyzoo—who built his buzz on the web—says, “So ya’ll can go and type what ya’ll like/Comments is comments, I rather go and surf through Nah Right.”

URB: Why you? Why your blog? Eskay: I kill ‘em with consistency. Lotta blog sites pop up and then disappear, but I’ve been here since I started, tryin’ to keep it quality…and a little luck didn’t hurt.

How many emails do you get a day and who actually catches your eye? [laughs] Anywhere from 85-200. The only people who get my attention really are those who do something out of the box. For example, I like what Mickey Factz is doing, what Donny Goines is doing. And there’s this kid Lyfe the Great who did a new song everyday for the month of July specifically to catch the attention of bloggers. I respect that work ethic, and that he’s doing something unique.

Why did you start the site? I was always the kid out of my group of friends who had the new mixtape or the new song. Mixtape downloads and all that stuff were starting to get pretty heavy online, and I always had pretty much anything people were looking for, so I said, “Let me start a place where my friends can go and just find whatever they need.” That’s how it ran until 2006 when a lot of journalists and other established hip-hop sites started linking to me, and it kinda took off from there.

How did the New Music Cartel come together and how’d you decide on those sites? Those are the people who I saw coming with exclusive music, being consistent with it. Almost any day of the week you can go to any of those sites and find something worth downloading. Then, one day, I was composing a post and that name just popped into my mind. I just kinda coined that term on the fly. It’s really just a brotherhood of blogs, a collective if you will.

So what’s first for the NMC? We’re hearing from a lot of labels who wanna jump on the bandwagon and release music through us, but that’s not how it works. Basically, if your music is hot, we’ll post it, but we’re not a distribution platform. I wouldn’t rule out a mixtape series or hearing us on the radio sometime soon. People are making suggestions about what they think we should do for the next step and we’re just taking it in.

What’s that street sign on your site and why’d you choose it? That’s the block I grew up on in Yonkers. Me and my friends would sit there for literally hours on end and just talk shit about rap. We’d have arguments that almost come to fist fights, all about hip-hop, so having that sign up there reminds me why I started the site, which was to bring that conversation online.