So I was scrolling through twitter (literally yesterday) and I was scrolling on my tl and I came across some outlets that were talking about this guy named Elujay and his new song “Flagrant”with Saba (who’s name I’ve seen alongside Mick Jenkins before). So being the nosey person I am, I decided to just click on the link to see what all the hype was about and….. I was immediately interested. The song had instrumentation and I was like “damn this is quality, I need to get the sound cloud” and after going through all of the songs, I made up my mind. I had to find this Oakland dude and someway… somehow I did just that. In my interview with the rapper, we discuss being a rising artist, getting advice from Kehlani, and linking up with Chicago’s Saba. (Peep below)
–Hey Elujay! How are you ?
Elujay: Hey ! I’m good, how are you ?
–I’m great ! So before we jump into this interview….how old are you? I’m asking because you highkey look young as f**k..like a good 17
Elujay: Dang guess that’s a good thing but no I’m actually 20
–Oh wow that’s crazy. So how long have you been rapping then ? Since 2012 or 11′ ?
Elujay: Dang how’d you know that ? Nah I actually started making beats at first in the 7th grade and then I started rapping around the 10th grade
-So has this always been your passion or was this just something that happened overtime ?
Elujay: I mean I been around good music my whole life . My mom played the piano and then my parents always surrounded me musically with Erykah Badu and Tribe Called Quest so music was always just a good vibe for me.
–Oooooo what’s your favorite Tribe Called Quest song ?
Elujay : I would say Scenario but honestly that whole album is good so..
–Very true and the whole Midnight Marauders too
-So being that your from Oakland, who would you say has inspired your music ? 2Pac, Too Short, or Mac Dre ?
Elujay : Mac Dre for sure
-Dang, not Pac ?
Elujay: I mean Mac Dre rapped over some ass beats but his delivery was always polished plus … he put me on to his player ways *laughs*. 2 Pac was cool but to me he doesn’t represent the Bay Area. No disrespect to Pac tho.
-I feel it. So I noticed that most of your songs like Soul Food, Pushing Lines, and Flagrant you use some type of instrumentation . Is that a style you plan to be consistent with or ?
Elujay: Oh yeah! It’s just because like…I feel like there isn’t a lot of musicality in music anymore in general and especially and in Hip Hop. It just seems like everything is computerized these days.
-I see so far it’s been working out to your advantage . The instrument use definitely caught my attention especially on your song Soul Food. How’d you link up with Saba for that track ?
Elujay: To be honest my manager put me on. Saba came through the studio one day and just wrote a verse to it . We actually made that song awhile ago but we just sat on it for awhile. Most of the songs I’ve released, I always sit on them for a little bit. I just like everything to be released in a certain way. I just want to push my project (Jentrify).
-Dope ! SO speaking of Soul Food, have you ever watched it before ?
Elujay: I should. I don’t know why I haven’t seen it. Like..even my dad has the soundtrack for it
–Oh yeah that’s wild. You definitely got to watch it. It’s a classic ! What date are you pushing for the release & what kind of project is it going to be?
Elujay : I’m shooting for a full-length project for June sometime.
–Anyone your collabing with on the project?
Elujay: Yeah I got a couple artists I’m working with. Oh yeah and I got Samaria in the cut.
–Dope, dope ! So I gotta ask this.. In your song you say “rolling up that Keisha Cole” and “I smoke that Rosa Parks”. If you had to choose between the two, which one would you smoke?
Elujay: Definitely that Keisha Cole, that’s that California kush
–Aye okay [laughs]! Okay so being that your out of Oakland…. can we see a Kehlani collab soon?
Elujay: It’s crazy cause I used to kick it with her and the people at her school. She’s definitely doing her thing but yeah um… If we’re working in the studio together, sure. If not then I don’t know. I really like things to be organic ya know ? I’m just a laid back nigga. It’s funny cause I still got a picture of us with Domo Genesis when Odd Future was just coming out but yeah like she’s just doing her thing right now so I’m proud of her.
–Yeah she’s definitely dope for sure ! So you actually dropped your Flagrant single today with YMTK on Pigeons and Planes. What made you guys collab for this particular song & were your lyrics relevant to any real situation or?
Elujay: My home-girl mentioned me on twitter with this producer and said that we should get together and so eventually we tried to link up but for some reason we couldn’t get a date together. Eventually we met up and he was playing the sample of the song and I was yooooo what is this ! He even brought the emotion out of me for the song. Like I was going through some shit and he got me to put it in the song.
–I know majority of your songs you not only rap off but you produce it. Do you want to bring in other producers eventually or is this just a personal preference thing for right now ?
Elujay: Oh no I love working with other producers but making beats was my first love. If my hand isn’t in it then it’s not my sound. I mean if someone makes beats, why not use them ? But I like the process cause it gives me a chance to sorta wear the artist hat and be the driver of my own sound.
–Now being that your sound is pretty unique , semi-instrumental, and catchy like sh*t, have you gotten any Chance The Rapper comparisons?
Elujay: Actually a blog from the Bay Area just said that today and ya know…. it’s whatever. I don’t think I sound like him. I think Chance made it cool again to use instruments like Kanye made it okay to rap about things outside of drugs and shit . I’m an avid listener of Chance though so I think he’s dope. Not that long ago I got the opportunity to work with Nate Fox who worked on Acid Rap
– Do you ever take those comparisons as a compliment or are you just trying to keep focus on your own identity ?
Elujay: Yeah I’m just trying to push my own thing right now. I like to step out the box ya know ? Like my music reaches people outside of Oakland and I get a lot of love out of it. Last year I was at Kehlani’s and she told me… never stay in the box and that you got to make people fuck with you outside the Bay Area then bring it all back.
-Seems like that’s pretty common for most artists though. Once other people mess with you , everybody else will want to catch up. Your music has definitely been speaking for itself lately though so all in all your dope. What can we look forward to this summer coming from you ?
Elujay: Think I’ll be here in LA, trying to figure it out right now so I don’t wanna speak it into jinx. I’ve been getting international play lately so hopefully within the next 6 months ill be setting up for a tour. I’m coming up slowly but surely but that’s what I love about it. It’s organic, grass roots.
-[laughs] Well thanks so much for letting me chop it up with you for a little. I’m looking forward to your project dropping and excited to see where you go from here!
Elujay: No, thanks for having me ! This is keeping me going, I appreciate it !