STYLE IDENTIFIED: EZE JACKSON

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Eze Jackson, 33, political organizer

Nickname: Eze (pronounced ‘easy’) is just the first three letters of Ezekiel, my birth name. Eze also means ‘king’ in Nigerian, but it’s pronounced differently. I am not Nigerian though.

His music: www.soundcloud.com/eze-jackson

He’s on Twitter @ezewriter

“I’ve learned it’s better to keep rhyming and moving once you have your shirt off.”

There was something different about Eze Jackson, 33, as he tore up the North Lot stage with Soul Cannon at the 2013 Scapescape fest.

His words bounced off the monitors as the local emcee hit the crowd with his rhymes, laying on that “Imma do me” vibe with conviction. A more assertive passion Eze conveyed, as he jumped up and down the platform.

Perhaps it was his hair.

“I got tired of looking like everybody else because my walk is not like everybody else’s,” he said, “and no one is really.”

The new do –a crown cut. The hair on the sides and back of his head trimmed in basically a fade as the top of his head is covered with growth, making the shape much like a crown with the twisted strands.

“I was just wearing a regular cut or sometimes a fade and found myself reintroducing myself to so many people,” he said. “I looked average and I’m not average –nor do I want to be. I woke up one day and God said, “Grow your crown.” So I did.”

The set was over –applause and hollering ensued. Eze’s chest heaved up and down, as he tried to catch his breath walking off the stage. “You couldn’t tell because I was sweating and had my shades on, but man, that one song had me tearing up.”

Eze’s mother died about a week before the Labor Day weekend show. And when at times it felt the book of life closed on him forever, Eze said he realized the pages of his life were to continue turning and what’s to be read from them would only get better. “We share experiences and have similar things that happen to us but they’re all unique. ”

Since that show, Eze’s gone on to do others. He’s even spit out new work, which has you sitting back, nodding in agreement to his words. His latest, “Nosetalgia Freestyle” –his take on Pusha T’s “Nosetalgia”– speaks his own truth.

What makes Eze Jackson such a force in Baltimore’s hip hop scene is his music isn’t a clamor. His intention is for you to listen, to instill some of that good Eze sense. You’re able to visualize his story –whether it’s about how the streets of Baltimore’s roughest hoods helped make him the man he is today, or the hypocrisy of those against people rights –Eze schools you.

And after finding oneself putting his freestyle on repeat, one can only be excited to see what this master of lyrics has in store for us all in the future.

“So, I say my hair is my crown because I’m finally coming around to owning the fact that I am the master of my fate –my destiny.”

And it’s safe to say his destiny will be a great one.

One interesting thing about yourself:  I don’t like writing in any other color ink than black. Like, if I ask you for a pen and you hand me a blue or turquoise pen, I will ask if you have a black one. I don’t know why. I’m sorry if I ever hurt anyone’s feelings.

One thing no one knows about you and you’re willing to share: Some people close to me may know this, but, I once called Paul Mooney a bitch to his face. Alcohol is a hell of a drug. It can take you places.

Describe your style: The sharecropper who knows he’ll be King long before he ever is. Sike, whatever fits in size and budget that may or may not make my brothers laugh at me depending on where my confidence level is that day. I like to stand out without looking like I’m trying to stand out. My hair is my crown.

What you can’t live without: My family, music, food, sex and challenges.

You’d never be caught in… a dress, and anything that costs more than a necessary monthly bill, unless, said item was donated.

Favorite place(s) to shop: City of Gods, Banana Republic and thrift stores…and my brothers’ closets.

Style inspirations: Ol’ Dirty Bastard, my mind, and my wallet.

Thoughts on your city’s style: All over the place….Beautiful

You’ve gone through a lot this year. Want to talk about it, and has that been your motivation to work on new music? I want my material to catch up to my life experiences. 2013 has been a rough year for me. Among many things that happened this year, I loss my mother. She was my biggest creative influence. During that process this material is coming rapidly and I just want to put it out. I have realized that our mortality is not as durable as we think. My mother was someone I never imagined dying, especially, as young as 64. So now, here I am with this wealth of experience and connected dots and only one way to release it. The motivation has come from watching so many just copy and put out meaningless music. I’m not out to be some platinum rapper or even judge what others choose to do in their creative time. I really just want to be able to tour, touch lives and be open to receive. My mixtape is going to be titled “L.I.V.E. N.O.W” which stands for “Love Is Victorious Everyday. No Other Way”. This year, I’ve learned that if we choose love in every situation, we can come out on top.  We can live. The way we think, speak, act, and live is often infiltrated with thoughts and feelings of hate, jealousy, resentment, regret, greed, desire, and on and on.  But, LOVE is more powerful than anything. God is Love.

Musical inspirations: Ol’ Dirty Bastard, The Roots, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Kanye, Wu Tang, Action Bronson, ASAP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Juicy J, Yo Gotti, King Los, Greenspan, Al Great, Japiro, Kane Mayfield, DDM, Abdu Ali, OG Dutchmaster, Dan Deacon, Height, 90’s Hip Hop, and anything new and different.

What should we look out for from you in the future: I’m not sure what the future will bring. My band Soul Cannon has recorded an album that will be released at some point. My mixtape “L.I.V.E N.O.W.” will be available by March 2014, God willing. In the new year, I’m looking to do a lot more shows and continue to build on my set. I love my fans and supporters who come out specifically to hear live music. It’s a beautiful thing.

Anything else on your mind? Go Ravens :)

Check out Eze’s freestyle, shot and directed by Wendel Patrick.

[vimeo 78020116  w=500&h=280]

Creator & managing editor of Strangers With Style. Happiest when her work allows others to shine, too. Lover of collabs, social media, blogging, fashion, food & the color blue.