A New Wave of Hip-Hop: Eric Matthews “That KiD”
By Zach White
Today there are a bunch of big names in the hip-hop scene and it seems like just about everybody knows one of them whether you listen to them or not. With so many of these big names in the scene, it doesn’t leave too much room for many newcomers to pave the way for the future in hip-hop.
Luckily the underground scene has Denver musician, Eric Matthews. To some, Eric Matthews’ calm attitude and shy personality might make him appear to be your average 23-year-old guy. However, once you get to know him he is so much more. Not only is he an underground hip-hop artist that raps, he also produces the majority of his music and works with a handful of other musicians to help them make their music. On top of this, Matthews manages a group of artists under his underground label, New Wave. Matthews’ label hosts around 12 of Colorado’s very own underground hip-hop artists that all keep Matthews busier than your average 23 year old.
What genre would you say your music is?
I would say my music is more of a new age hip-hop but with a classic twist.
What got you into music?
Honestly, my brother and my cousins. They would play old CDs and tapes from back in the day and that made me want to find new types of music and artists that would make me feel good.
What’s New Wave?
New Wave ENT is kinda this label we have going but it’s more of a team my brother and I put together. It’s just how we imprint ourselves in music.
Who’s a part of New Wave ENT?
Oh man, who isn’t? We just released a second tape and there are seven out of 12 artists, that are on the New Wave cypher we have. We got my little brother, he goes by the name of Despicable, we got another artist, he goes by R-Beezy. I linked up with him through another friend who goes by the name of Slick, then one of my friends from back in high school, he goes by Dr. Haze a.k.a Swizzy Sweez. We got a singer named Akrid. Man, there’s just so many people in there it’s kinda hard to keep track. I could go on all day about who’s involved.
What’s it like running New Wave?
It’s tough, but I feel like it’s a blessing to have so much talent around you.
What’s your favorite song you’ve made and why?
That’s a tough choice, man. Personally, lately, my favorite song I made is probably this song called ‘Mr. Lonely.’ It’s like a third person view of my life. If you listen, you can kinda get that I’m talking about myself. But it’s just kinda like talking about, I dunno, it’s hard to explain it in depth. It’s like me talking about the things that I’ve grown up in and like the why do I feel the way I do when stuff goes down. But at the same time it’s something everybody can relate to. But when you finally listen to the words you know I’m talking about myself in third person. That’s probably one of my favorite songs I’ve done lately. But there’s a lot.
What’s your favorite song someone else has made?
Lately my favorite song that I’ve heard is by this kid coming up, his name’s Papa J. He’s been back and forth between Colorado and L.A. and has this song called, ‘Kiss The Sky.’ I think he got like a Lord Finesse sample in the background, but it’s just like a nice-vibe hip-hop song.
Who are some of the artists you listen to?
I don’t really listen to too much mainstream but you could say like J. Cole, Kanye West, ASAP Rocky, he’s kinda getting big in my catalog. Nas is always a definite ever since I found out who he was, but I’m more into like underground hip-hop. You could say I listen to Rhymesayers’ Brother Ali, Atmosphere, The Grouch and Eligh, and Greaves.
Who inspires you the most in music?
I would honestly say my little brother. He pushes me.
Who is your favorite artist you’ve worked with?
People like Papa J, my little brother and a couple of other artists. It’s like when they call me to come into the studio or send me something, they already got it mapped out or they need me to do a verse. It just works.
Where do you see your music going?
To be honest I don’t really want to sign to a label if that was possible. But if the chance comes it would be good publicity. I just see my music influencing people. If we make it or not it’s just something that I like to do for myself.
What’s the hardest part for you with making music?
The hardest part of making music is appealing to people. You can make a really good song and three out of 10 people won’t like it, or five out of 10 people won’t. It’s like you’ve got to fit into all the genres but still be yourself. That’s the hardest part for me.
What’s your favorite part of making music?
We do a lot of party songs now lately; it’s just how we’re trying to appeal to the younger generation.
I have a song called “Spazzin’ Out.” I was mad at work and was walking home; I had this beat in my head all day. I wrote a verse to it on the way home and laid that down. It’s just like using the expressions I feel.
If you could work with anyone in music who would it be?
Producer-wise, I’d say 9th Wonder, he’s a real dope influence to me. I used to listen to him with my little brother growing up. He’s a real great producer. Artist-wise, I’d say Dizzy Wright.