Tag Archives: Female Rappers

I Got A Story To Tell – Rah Digga

Rah Digga shares her opinion on BET’s recent documentary about women in Hip-Hop “My Mic Sounds Nice”.

Eternia Interview (Originally Posted On BlackSheepMag.Com)

Canada’s Eternia isn’t a talented female emcee, she’s a talented emcee, period. Raised on a steady diet of hardcore 90s Hip-Hop, the Toronto-born artist has been rhyming since her mid-teens, steadily building a strong base of loyal fans over the years thanks to an undeniable mix of lyrical skill, powerful stage presence and a disarming honesty both on and off the microphone.

Refusing to pander to the tastes of the masses, Eternia has managed to retain her dignity throughout her career by avoiding the usual female-rap pitfalls of performing half-naked or rhyming solely about sex, sex and more sex. Eternia isn’t one to deny her femininity, but she’s not about to reduce herself to a simple gimmick in order to shift units or get a few more Facebook friend requests either. Eternia wants to be judged purely on her music first and foremost, and deservedly so, because, as anyone who invested in a copy of her 2005 debut album “It’s Called Life” will confirm, this lady has more in common with the strong, independent fire of legendary icons such as MC Lyte and Queen Latifah than she does the fantasy-driven exploits of a Lil’ Kim or a Trina.

Yet as many gifted female rappers already know, refusing to become a walking stereotype can lead to a life of underground obscurity. An existence not without its successes, but one that must become increasingly frustrating when the mainstream music media continue to ponder the supposed demise of female emcees, as if no-one of merit has smudged lipstick on a microphone since Lauryn Hill began to favour strumming a guitar over spending time with a pad and a pen.

That said, Eternia’s latest project “At Last”, a full-length collaboration with Canadian producer MoSS, could just be the release that makes those who’re sleeping revaluate their opinions of what they should expect from a female artist in the modern rap world. A potent boom-bap driven blend of battle-ready bravado (“Any Man”), conceptual storytelling (“Dear Mr. Bacardi”) and sincere self-reflection (“To The Past”), “At Last” features Eternia and MoSS at the top of their game, sharing a natural chemistry that infuses the album with a magnetic energy, with Eternia clearly revelling in the opportunity to test her lyrical mettle against respected figures such as Joell Ortiz, Rah Digga, The Lady Of Rage and Termanology.

Ladies first? Yes, indeed.

I can remember you telling me in the Autumn of 2007 that you were planning on working with MoSS and here we are three years later with a completed album from the two of you. What led to you deciding to work together on a full-length project?

“I didn’t really decide to do an album with MoSS, it was kinda in the stars and just happened for me (laughs). MoSS saw me open at a show in summer of 2007 in Winnipeg, Canada. I was the opening act for Masta Ace, Toure, Marco Polo and EMC. He approached me during sound check, shook my hand and told me had my album. We were familiar with each other’s music, which was really dope. After I performed, I remember being at the merchandise stand at the end of the night and MoSS told me ‘I see a whole album in my head when I see you onstage.’ So he was really inspired and the thing that sold MoSS on my artistry was my stage show, and he wasn’t just talking about working on one song together and seeing how it went, straight away he wanted to do an entire album. So then I was thinking was he going to be a man of his word because oftentimes people talk and get excited but then don’t follow through. But that happened in the July of 2007, and by November of that year we’d already recorded the first two or three songs for the record. The first song we tracked in the studio was “32 Bars”, which is one of the opening tracks on the album, and if MoSS was here right now he’d tell you that as soon as he heard that track he knew the rest of the album was going to go well (laughs). We were recording throughout 2008 and halfway into 2009 and actually wrapped the mastering and mixing of the album in June 2009. So it took a year and a half to do the record, but that was mainly because I’m in New York and MoSS is in Toronto and we only tracked together in the studio. We didn’t record anything remotely or send music back and forth over email.”

I was going to ask you if you recorded the album together in a studio the old-fashioned way or if a lot of it was done via the internet with MP3s etc….

“The only thing that was done over the net was MoSS sending me beats to write to and I would write to them in New York. But when it came to tracking, mixing, all that, we did everything together. I go back to Toronto like every three or four months, so every time I went to Toronto we’d bang out like three songs. So we basically did that three or four times over the year which is why it took so long (laughs). I actually made MoSS come to the studio because usually he’s just used to giving artists beats, so I think this was the first time he’d actually produced an artist like he did with me. It was definitely the first time I’ve ever had just one producer for a full project, and he was able to work closely with an artist and give his feedback directly to me in the studio. So it was a first for both of us and I think we both learned a lot.”

As this was the first time you’d worked with just one producer on an entire project did that have any impact on your creative process?

“I think it allowed me to become a lot more confident and comfortable with my sound. Whenever you get a beat it really dictates how you write and what you write. Sometimes I don’t even know what sort of subject matter I’m going to write about until I hear a beat, and then literally the way a beat sounds or feels will make me say ‘This is a song about family’ or ‘This is a song about someone who’s pissed you off.’ The beat will tell me what I’m writing about. So when you work with a whole bunch of producers, you might be challenged more, but the finished product can be all over the place. So I definitely feel that with this project, what we wanted to achieve and what we did achieve is a very sonically consistent album. You’re not gonna get confused when you listen to this album, you’re gonna know who Eternia is, what she represents and what kinda music she makes. The same goes for MoSS, if you didn’t know what kind of producer he was before hearing this album, you really get the full sense of his abilities on this project and I think he’d agree with that statement. We really wanted to achieve a sound on this album and create our own sonic brand.”

You actually started promoting “At Last” just over a year ago with the “Road To Release” video blog series. Why did you decide to start pushing the album so early given that it’s only just now being released?

“I’d love to say it was this really well thought out strategy, but the reason why we started promoting the album a year ago is because we really didn’t know what label the album would come out on, what the release date would be, anything. So instead of sitting on our hands or shopping the record behind the scenes with no buzz, we wanted to create a reason for fans to want to buy the record and also for labels to want to sign us. So really the reason we started “Road To Release” a year ago was to create a buzz so that we could even get the record out. DJ Sav-One from UndergroundComeUp.Com played a huge role in the “Road To Release” series and, in fact, I think it might’ve initially been his suggestion. It was a lot of work putting those together as I edited them all myself. But people started talking and once we started meeting with labels they knew who I was because of the blogs so I really couldn’t have planned it better.”

You’ve always prided yourself on having a very personal relationship with your fans – how do you maintain that accessibility and constant feedback without letting it cloud your judgement in terms of what you need to do as an artist?

“That’s a very good question. I’m the kind of personality type that takes human relationships very seriously. For example, if I have a conflict with somebody, and it might even be someone I don’t know particularly well, but it just weighs on me because I like everything to be peaceful. So it stresses me when I can’t respond to everybody or when emails go completely unread because I can’t keep up with it all. DJ Sav-One has picked up a lot of the slack around what I used to do in terms of responding to people and keeping fans up to date. So he logs into a lot of my accounts, but anytime an email is sent saying it’s from Eternia it is from Eternia, he would never respond to someone under my name. But what he will do is give me a heads up or forward certain emails on to me that I need to respond to quickly so I don‘t drop the ball on anything. I’m really not that big as an artist, I’m not Beyonce or anything so it’s funny that I’m even saying this (laughs), but when I go out sometimes I feel like there might be people in the room who’ve hit me up on Facebook or somewhere and I haven’t been able to respond to them and that stresses me out because I wouldn’t want anyone to take that personally. So I guess over the last year the accessibility fans have to me has had to be curtailed a bit, which is why Sav-One is the main contact now as my business partner for a lot of things relating to Eternia.”

Do you take it as a compliment that fans feel like they can communicate with you on such a personal level?

“Definitely and I feel like I’ve built lifelong fans for that reason, because people have been able to contact me and I’ve responded in some way. I think a lot of my fans feel like they know me as a person rather than just as Eternia the artist. I would never take any of my supporters for granted which is why it stresses me that I can’t always respond to everyone directly, so it’s definitely a juggling act between trying to do as much as I can to be accessible and communicate with fans, without that taking away from what I need to do as an artist. I’m really bad at multi-tasking, so whereas some people are really good at doing all these different things at once, I need to focus on one thing at a time. Like now for instance, whilst we’re doing this interview, I’m not on the computer checking emails or looking at something else. For me to feel like I’m really being effective at something I have to be just doing that one thing. Which is also why when we were recording “At Last” I didn’t work on any other projects.”

There’s quite a cross-section of featured artists on the album – how did you decide who you wanted to work with?

“I remember we were in the studio one day and MoSS was asking me about dream collaborations and to just name people that I’d like to work with, so out of that list of names we managed to make about sixty percent of those collaborations happen, with people like Ras Kass, Rah Digga, Jean Grae, Tye Phoenix, Rage, Maestro Fresh Wes. We reached out to Rah Digga through her management and they’d already been familiar with my music for a long time, and Rage obviously worked with DJ Premier who MoSS also works with so that was pretty much a family thing. What was cool was that everybody who featured on the album already had an awareness of both my music and MoSS, so although there was a business element to it, the collaborations also felt personal. That really showed me that sometimes the world might not know who you are, but your peers will and that’s very validating.”

Do you also feel that the fact you’ve held your own on “At Last” against some extremely respected lyricists means that perhaps those people who’ve dismissed you in the past will have no choice but to take notice this time around?

That’s a good question because until someone reminds of it, like Sav-One or MoSS will say ‘Hey, you realise you just went toe-to-toe and held your own against….’, I don’t even really think of it like that. I think haters and critics will always be haters and critics regardless, so the bigger you might get or the more you might prove yourself as an artist, I don’t think anything will ever shut them up. Most of them are just insecure people who like to talk shit. But the people who were already supporting me, I’d like to think they knew I could rap before I collaborated with any particular artist. I always knew that I could hold my own against artists that other people rate and who I also listen to and respect. I mean, some of the artists I’ve worked with on this album I’ve listened to since high-school so it’s an honour to get on a track with them. So in the end, it’s about me being able to tick the box on a personal level and say that I achieved an ambition to record with people who I’ve looked up to over the years. It’s comparable to us being played on Peter Rosenberg’s Hot 97 show last month or being in the latest issue of The Source in the Under The Radar section. Things like that are personal dreams that I always wanted to be able to say I did and now I can, which is cool. It’s not about me throwing these things in people’s faces, it’s about me being able to cross certain things off of my wish list (laughs). So at this point it’s not really about proving myself to anybody else as I’m pretty comfortable with myself. I don’t necessarily think I’m the best emcee of all time, but I definitely think I have talent and an ability to rap.”

You must get tired of talking about the whole ‘Where did all the female emcees go?’ debate, but given that XXL just ran an article posing that same question, what are your thoughts on that topic considering there still are female emcees such as yourself, Invincible and Jean Grae out there making music?

“The main way that I feel about that I articulated last year on my track “Sick” which was written in direct response to pretty much what you’re talking about. I was listening to Shade 45 and the people on the station were literally whylin’ out saying ‘RIP to female emcees’ and playing Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown records from the 90s. I was just astounded by their ignorance and lack of awareness and knowledge of what other music is actually out there. I haven’t read the XXL article you mentioned but have read other articles like it, and sometimes it feels like a slap in the face, but other times I just think that the people writing these articles aren’t professional in what they do and aren’t bothering to do their homework or even Google (laughs). If they were to sit down and type ‘female emcees’ into Google then they’d answer their own question about where the female rappers are and that article would be void in my opinion. So to me articles like that indicate a lack of knowledge from the journalist and also a lack of desire to expose new female emcees who’re obviously working hard. Perhaps to them, if someone’s not signed to a major label like Nicki Minaj then they don’t exist, but that really is just ignorant to think that way and that whole argument is just redundant. I think a lot of the time journalists at some of these magazines are scared to co-sign anyone that isn’t on a major or who hasn’t already been co-signed by the Dr. Dres, Eminems, Jay-Zs and Lil’ Waynes of the world. But that’s the difference between being a leader or a follower. The saddest part about an article like the XXL one you mentioned is that propaganda and hype in the media can really impact people’s thoughts and opinions, so there will be people who’ve read that article now walking around thinking it’s true instead of looking for themselves.”

Given the buzz that “At Last” has created and the obvious chemistry that you and MoSS share, are there plans for the two of you to work together again in the future?

“We never really planned past the release of the album but that wasn’t because we’re not open to working together again as a duo. We literally just took one step at a time and this step was just ‘Let’s do an album together’, which is a big commitment in itself these days for one artist to work with one producer for an entire project. So I think we’re open to opportunities that might be offered to us in the future, but no we’re not currently working on another project.”

In 2007 you posted a blog on your MySpace page that expressed a lot of frustration towards the rap game and hinted at you possibly putting the mic down for good, yet here you are in 2010 with a new project and sounding very enthusiastic. What changed?

“I’m glad you asked that. I do remember where I was back then and I viewed the project with MoSS in November 2007 as really like the light at the end of the tunnel. At the time I was at the end of my rope and I was ready to try something else in life from a career point of view. Then MoSS came along with this amazing opportunity to work on an album, and at the time he really didn’t know that he saved me from not actually doing this anymore. I believe that it was God who lined that up and I also believe that it was a big strong message to me not to quit. I remember MoSS saying to me on the phone that he wanted us to make an album that reminded us of why we were making music in the first place and why we loved Hip-Hop. Now he didn’t know at that time how close I was to throwing in the towel so when he said that it really hit me like a brick. So “At Last” really represents a sigh of relief to me. Also, I was baptized last year and that really changed the way I perceive everything in life, so it’s not about external measures of success or failure anymore, it’s about where God wants me. So everything in life has a different shade to it now based on my belief system. My priorities and focus in life have changed now and what makes me happy has changed, and that’s all happened since I wrote that blog in 2007. So thank God for that because if those things hadn’t changed, I don’t think I’d still be making music today. Recording “At Last” has really been like hitting the reset button.”

Ryan Proctor

Super Woman – Jean Grae

Jean Grae discusses the current state of female artistry in Hip-Hop.

He’s The Beatbox, She’s The Rapper – Chesney Snow / Eternia

After some hotel room rehearsing, Canada’s extremely talented Eternia tears it down with Chesney Snow in Philadelphia at Cushapalooza 2008.

New Joint – Jean Grae

Jean Grae – “Love Thirst” ( Blacksmith / 2008 )

Clever video from the NY femcee featuring some visual-sampling of Robert De Niro’s cult 70s flick “Taxi Driver”.


Microphone Techniques – Eternia

Canada’s Eternia gets busy at New York’s WKCR as part of Squeeze Radio’s 5th Anniversary celebrations.

Ladies First – Amanda Diva

NYC’s favourite femcee reports live and direct from California for episode seven of her “Diva Speak TV” series.

Eternia Interview (Originally Posted on SixShot.Com Nov 13th 2007)


With mainstream rap mamas such as Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown and Eve recently appearing to have lost their momentum, sanity and buzz respectively, talk has turned to the apparent lack of talented female lyricists in hip-hop. But anyone who thinks there hasn’t been a microphone queen worth listening to since Lauryn Hill stopped rhyming and started strumming her guitar obviously hasn’t been doing their homework. Enter feisty Canadian femcee Eternia.

Honing her craft since a young age, Eternia has spent the best part of the last decade operating under the radar whilst steadily building herself both a strong reputation as a lyrical firecracker and a loyal fan base. Embodying the strong but feminine approach of other respected testosterone-deficient artists such as MC Lyte, Rah Digga and Jean Grae, Eternia hasn’t sacrificed her womanly ways in order to fit into the male-dominated rap field, instead ensuring her experiences and opinions as a member of the fairer sex seep naturally into her music. Yet she still drops enough verbal bombs to let anyone know that, irrespective of gender politics, this lady is no gimmick and shouldn’t be taken lightly. So don’t expect any over-the-top porn rhymes, gangsta bitch posturing or half-naked videos from this husky-voiced hip-hop heroine.

Following the 2005 release of her debut album “It’s Your Life”, a place on the Vans Warped Tour and a Juno nomination (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy), Eternia decided to go for broke and relocated to New York in an attempt to further her music career, a decision which has led to the 27-year-old MC having to face some uncomfortable truths about the rap business. She also recently released her new project “Where I’m At – The Set-Up”, featuring collaborations with the likes of 9th Wonder, Polyrhythm Addicts, Wordsworth and Kenn Starr.Prior to embarking on a two-week tour across Europe with DITC legend O.C. and Jedi Mind Tricks affiliate Reef The Lost Cauze, Eternia kicked it with Sixshot.com and talked candidly about the Canadian hip-hop scene, the problems faced by female artists, and the future of her rap career.

An obvious first question, but when and how did you first become aware of hip-hop?

I feel like I’ve told this story so many times (laughs). I’ve been listening to hip-hop since I was about 8-years-old. My brother was a fan of all good music, not just hip-hop. But it was through him that I was introduced to the music. He was listening to popular stuff of the day like N.W.A., 2 Live Crew, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and Run-DMC. So it was hearing those groups that first got me interested. I’m the type of person who, when I love something, I become very committed and I stick to it. So, however many years later, nobody probably thought I’d still be here, but here I am today still listening to and now making the music my brother introduced me to when I was a kid.

What drew you towards the lyrical aspect of the music?

Way before I ever started rapping I was singing and also writing poetry, which was something that had been inside me since I was basically old enough to write. To me, rap was a natural progression from that which just meant me drawing on a talent I already had with words before hip-hop was in my life.

What are your opinions on Canada’s present day hip-hop scene?

I’ve loved watching the Canadian scene grow. But whilst I think we’ve grown a lot when it comes to talent, other than Maestro we still don’t have any other platinum selling rappers out of Canada. If you look at some of our biggest rap artists, like Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, Choclair, even k-os, none of these artists have gone platinum in Canada. But when it comes to the talent Canada has to offer, whether it be MCs, DJs, writers or dancers, I think we have people who can compete with the best in the world. So I stand by the music and creativity Canada has to offer, I just think that because we’re so close to the US we sometimes have a hard time carving out our own unique identity. It feels like we go through waves in Canada where it’ll look like we’re at the beginning of something good happening and there’ll be a couple of artists getting some attention, but then all of a sudden everything will come to a halt. It’s really tough for artists in Canada but I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, that’s just the way it is.

Do you get tired of having to answer the standard questions about you being a white female rapper?

Definitely. I feel like I have an almost rehearsed answer to those sorts of questions which I’ll try not to give you now (laughs). I do get tired of it, but at the same time I understand the importance of it because to some people it’s newsworthy. When I first started putting out singles leading up to my debut album I did feel like a lot of the press I was getting was because I’m looked at as being ‘different’ to some extent and journalists are always looking for that new angle. So in that sense I guess the whole ‘white female rapper’ tag worked in my favor. But to be honest with you, when I was coming up in hip-hop I wasn’t trying to base my identity as an artist on either of those things. I just focused on being viewed as a dope MC and I wanted to be compared to my counterparts on an equal level. It’s only been as I’ve gotten older, done more interviews and traveled that my gender and race have become things I really have to think about based on questions that I sometimes have to answer. In Canada it was never really that much of a big deal because it’s a very multi-cultural place, so everyone hung together and it was just a case of if you’re dope, you’re dope. But since moving to New York it’s definitely been made very apparent to me that my gender and race can be an issue for some people and others are just shocked to learn that someone like me even exists, a half-white, half-middle-eastern female who loves hip-hop and is good at it.

You released your debut album “It’s Your Life” in 2005. What were your hopes for that project and did it meet your expectations?

I always look back on 2005 as being a great year because I achieved so much. I dropped my mix-CD, then my debut album, I toured Australia, and I shot at least two music videos as well. I know that’s nowhere near as much as some of my counterparts achieve, but for one woman with no management or team behind her, I think I did really well over that period. I’m a realist, so going into the album I definitely wasn’t naïve. I knew that album sales were declining; I knew that a lot of people didn’t really know who I was. I didn’t go into releasing the album thinking I was going to blow up off of it. I put the album out with the intention of creating a buzz and I think it definitely achieved that one hundred percent. The only regret I have about that album is that I wasn’t able to get proper distribution in the US and Europe. I had distribution in Canada and Australia but it would’ve been nice to have gotten the album in more stores worldwide. I actually moved to New York with the sole intention of getting US distribution for the album. But by the time I got here people were like, ‘You put the album out last year! Why would we put it in stores now?’”

(Eternia ft. Wordsworth & Kenn Starr – “Struggle” – Urbnet / 2005)

After moving from Canada to New York how difficult did you find it to break into the city’s hip-hop circles as an out-of-town artist?

I didn’t find breaking into hip-hop circles in New York that hard in terms of the real fans and artists. Plus, I already knew a lot of people because I’d been back and forth to New York since the mid-90s and had made a lot of connections. One of my first recordings was with The Atoms Family and I was really close to Cannibal Ox and other crews like The Anomalies and The Arsonists. So a lot of the people I’d forged relationships with in the 90s were very welcoming when I came out to NY. For example, Danny Castro from Lyricist Lounge had seen me rocking open mics in NYC in like 97 / 98, so when I came through he was throwing me on bills straight away because he’d already caught a glimpse of what I was about back then. I often wish I’d been able to move to New York in 1995 instead of 2005 (laughs). But to get back to your question, as far as breaking into real hip-hop circles in New York, I had no problems. But trying to break into industry circles has been something else all together. If nothing else, living in New York has really shown me the reality of what’s going on with the music business right now. I moved to New York to try and increase my fan base and make a living doing music and it has been hard for me to learn some of the harsh realities of the music game because the industry is in a really shitty state right now.

There’s a lot of attention being paid at the moment to what many people see as a distinct lack of quality female rappers in the game right now. What’s your response to that?

That makes me so mad! At first I’ll be mad at the journalist or whoever’s making that statement because they obviously didn’t do their research well enough. But then I realize that they’re talking about mainstream artists and I’m not on that level yet. So then I start to get mad at the industry because there’s a whole bunch of things that have nothing to do with music or talent that play a part in putting an artist in the spotlight. Then I become frustrated that I’m not in a position to be well known, but really that just makes me push harder. You can’t get bitter about things like that as an artist; you have to use it to inspire you. I will say though that hip-hop is still very much a boys club, and I don’t think people really wanna see what they claim they wanna see in some of those articles about how we need more female MCs. I mean, there’s a reason Lauryn Hill went crazy and I’m very empathetic to her situation. I have days myself where I feel like I’m about fall into that black hole that so many other female MCs have already fallen into. I’d love to write an essay on where those missing female rappers went and why. I guarantee that if I interviewed a hundred female MCs from over the last three decades there’d be a commonality in the reasons why they dropped off. I’m not saying there’s some big conspiracy against female artists, but the industry just isn’t conducive to female rappers. So the problem isn’t that there’s a lack of good female MCs, it’s a lot of other things such as male prejudice in the industry. For example, I’ve been told by people that sit in label and DJ record pool meetings that they’ve seen individuals dismiss me because I’m a female rapper before they’ve even heard my music. So it’s definitely an uphill struggle because there are people in positions of power within the industry who just don’t want to hear female rap artists.

But why do you think so many male rap fans seem to have a problem listening to female artists? Do you think it’s because some men feel threatened seeing an independent woman with her shit together, or do you think it perhaps goes even deeper and that maybe there’s something on a psychological level that stops some men from being able to connect with female rappers?

That’s a really good question and I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of reasons to explain it, but the thing I can think of off the top of my head is that, as hip-hop fans, we get used to a certain sound, a certain swagger, a certain movement, a certain tone of voice and lyrical content, all of which can make or break an MC. Those elements also relate directly to the differences between male and female MCs, because female rappers have a different style and sound and a woman might talk about different things. Hip-hop is predominantly a macho music form and there’s not really a lot of room for vulnerability. I do think that some male MCs, like Lil Wayne for example, really know how to emote. But a lot of the time there’s no room for male rappers to be sensitive or show their weaknesses, whereas women are very good at doing that. So in terms of content, voice, flow, I think female MCs naturally bring something different to the game and, unfortunately, that seems to be something that some people aren’t accustomed to.

(Eternia – “Love” – Urbnet / 2005)

Your new project “Where I’m At – The Set Up” has been marketed more as a mix-CD than a full album. Has that been done so you could get new material out quickly whilst avoiding the drama and build-up of an official album release?

Yes (laughs). It’d been two years since my debut album and I needed to get something out to keep the buzz alive. I don’t view it as a mix-CD in terms of the content but I do understand that it is (laughs). It’s somewhere in-between being a mix-CD and a full album. The downside of course is that people are treating it as almost like a promo project so I’m not really getting the same press coverage with this CD as I got on my first album, which is frustrating. But there was no label behind “The Set-Up”; it’s basically me just doing the whole thing as a one-woman show.

You recently posted a blog on your MySpace page in which you spoke openly about how much of a struggle it is as an independent artist and hinted at possibly quitting the rap game. How much of a reality is that for you?

I’ll say this and I don’t care if it sounds girly, but when I think about leaving hip-hop alone as a career I have tears come to my eyes. It really hurts me to think about it because I’ve invested myself in this music for over a decade now. It scares the shit out of me to think about the music thing not working out for me because I’ve never really considered doing anything else. The metaphor that I use to describe the way I feel about my career right now is that I’m bashing my head up against a brick wall, my head’s bleeding profusely, and everyone’s looking at me like ‘Why’s she doing that?’ But at the same time, I’m thinking to myself, ‘They’re gonna open the door. They’re gonna open the door’. But there is no door; it’s just a brick wall in front of me. My discouragement with the game right now doesn’t come from me doubting myself or my fans; it comes from me doubting the place of good rap music. The way music is viewed has changed in recent years and now we’re in a time where labels are doing ringtone deals instead of album deals. Music has become so disposable today and you could be the illest rapper out and still be struggling. Artists today have to do so much more other than concentrate on their music in order to have a career and I think that’s sad. I didn’t get into the game because I want to put out a clothing line or do ads. I got into it because I’m good at rapping.

So is there a Plan B if you do decide to stop pursuing music as a career?

It’s hard to admit it but I gave myself until I’m 30 for the music thing to happen. I told myself that when I turn 30 I’ll go to grad school and call it a day. I think I’ll always make music because that’s a part of who I am, but I don’t know if I’d make it available for public consumption. I’d definitely stop putting energy into Eternia the artist. But if that was to happen, as hard as it would be to make that decision, I’d know that I put everything into trying to make it work and I’d never have to wonder ‘What if?’

There’s been talk of you recording a full-length project with Demigodz member Apathy. What’s the current status of that album?

Apathy’s a really busy guy and it’s hard for is to get together to finish the project, but we’re fifty percent done and I’m dying to get it completed. I’ve never worked with someone so well in the studio before as I do with Ap. Everything I’ve felt before that I’ve had to validate about myself to other producers, I don’t have to do any of that with Apathy. Good music should be made almost effortlessly and that’s how I feel about the music I make with him. I don’t want to hype the project up to the point where people are going to be disappointed by it, but I just know that it’s going to be something special. I mean, it’s public knowledge that Apathy and I were together as a couple before anyone knew who either of us was as an artist. He raised me as an MC, literally. Who Eternia is today as an artist is based on me forming as an MC around him. We have a whole concept behind the album, and it’s going to be called “Eternia By Apathy”. I’m also planning on working with MoSS in the future as well. What I’m really trying to do now, if people will oblige me, is do full projects with just one producer at a time. I don’t really want to put together another mish-mash project. It’s not because I think there’s necessarily anything wrong with having more than one producer on an album, it’s just that I want to start making more thematic albums now that have just one sound. I love Australia’s M-Phazes as a producer as well and would like to do a project with him as I think he brought the best out of me on “The Set-Up”. I don’t know if all those projects will come out or how they’ll be funded, but they’re just some ideas I have right now.

That doesn’t really sound like the words of someone considering putting her microphone down for the last time as you suggested on MySpace…

(Laughs) Talking about music just makes me so excited. It’s the industry that makes me wanna kill myself, but I’ll always be excited about the music.

Ryan Proctor

(Eternia Live At NYC’s Plan B July 2007)