Welcome to another edition of Po Politickin. In this episode, we are rejoined by Brooklyn emcee Jesse Abraham.
Two-time UMA nominee Jesse Abraham was born in Manhattan as the first child to two public school teachers. He grew up in the downtown neighborhood of Tribeca, raised on the city’s hip-hop culture and the eight-track tapes his parents introduced him to as a youngster. At five years old, Jesse was writing and, by the time he was nine, recording demos on cassette tapes. The authenticity of his music now reflects his growing up in New York in the ‘80s, right alongside the groundbreaking hip-hop of Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys. He quickly developed an affinity for rhyming, wordplay and rhythm, walking the halls of his Hebrew school reciting lyrics by KRS-1 or A Tribe Called Quest.
Between the ages of 10-14 Jesse lost his father, an uncle and two of his best friends in unrelated incidents, turning towards writing to cope with the tragedies. A published poet at the age of 15, Jesse suddenly realized his true passion was for hip-hop, inspired by such artists as KRS-1, Kool G. Rap and OutKast. However, it wasn’t until he went to college at Atlanta’s Emory University as a philosophy major that he began to realize that he wasn’t just writing lyrics, he was composing songs.
While at school, Jesse formed the group BTU with a pair of friends. They recorded a demo that resulted in a series of performances, including opening for Public Enemy at B.B. King’s in Times Square. After transferring to Emerson College in Boston, Jesse joined Preacherfunk, a hip-hop band with a following throughout New England. Upon graduating and moving to Brooklyn, Jesse founded a tutoring company of which he is still the managing director. By the summer of 2009, Jesse Abraham began to attract considerable attention on the open-mic circuit and in the online world of hip-hop, winning numerous freestyle competitions and establishing his rep. Mixtapes he released such as Alphabutter (Jan ’10) and XS (Feb ’10) only increased the buzz.
His 2010 debut album, Bars & NoBull (Oct. ’10) spent weeks on DJBooth.net’s Top 10 Charts, and the singles ‘Yoga’ and ‘Little Bit of Everything’ were major hits in the underground and their respective videos were YouTube successes. Jesse spent much of 2010 promoting these projects on countless blogs and radio shows, until he was ready to record and release One Day in 2011. The project’s lead single, ‘Spiderman on Vitamins’, made major waves throughout the online world of music, peaking at #3 on DJBooth.net’s reputable Top 10 Singles chart. The album features the single ‘Always & Forever ft. Homeboy Sandman’, which premiered on XXLMag.com and the follow-up single ‘Words Past the Margin ft. Blu’ which premiered on NahRight.com.
Debuting at #5 on DJBooth’s Top 10 Charts, the album was recently nominated for Indie Album of the Year at the Underground Music Awards, along with JA’s nomination for Lyricist of the Year.
More than just an emcee, Abraham also contributes to the hip-hop culture as a producer, marketing consultant and concert organizer. He has produced shows in multiple cities through his Skill or Be Skilled production company, has performed in over 50 venues on the east coast, including sold out shows at Joe’s Public Theater and Southpaw, and has participated actively at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas and the CMJ Music Festival in NYC year after year. He continues to reinvent the responsibilities a hip-hop artist holds, and his potential is only surpassed by his passion for the genuine essence of his genre. But if you ask him, he simply aspires to inspire.