By Joseph Hess
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From his humble home in north St. Louis, Prince Ea (born Richard Williams) is quietly preparing to emerge before a national audience. Various books, including Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power, are scattered about his room, and his thirst for knowledge is even more evident as you listen to Ea's music. The topics of his verses range from ancient scriptures and the Illuminati, to love songs and battle rhymes. His substantive lyrics and pinpoint delivery have helped him take first place in VIBE magazine's "Vibe Verses" contest — which earned him $5,000 worth of gear and a full-page feature.
B-Sides: Where did you get your name?
Prince Ea: I'm an anthropology major, so I look at where people came from. The first recorded civilization was the Sumerian culture; they had the first known political structure and the first written cuneiform script. They claimed to have gotten their knowledge from their gods, called the Anunnaki. Prince Ea (or Prince of Earth) was the one who engineered, or spawned, man.
How do you compare yourself to this figure?
I'm the truth, man! I know it sounds pretentious to say, but what I spit is the truth. My main purpose is to enlighten the masses. Whether or not [people] believe what I'm saying, the idea is that they take the initiative to go research it.
Do you think you're a conspiracy theorist?
[Laughs] I don't even like that word. It trivializes what you're talking about. As soon as people hear the word "conspiracy," they're like "Hmm, nah." They dismiss it. Conspiracies, of course, do exist — you've got the Pentagon Papers and things like that — but I like to have evidence behind what I say. I'm a scientist; I believe in empirical evidence and tangible facts.
Given the unconventional subjects you rhyme about, do you consider that a hurdle as far as reaching a mass audience?
Yeah, I'm always going to rap about stuff that's important to me, but I'm definitely multi-faceted. Beyond Sumerian history, I talk about where I live, girl problems — I'm very versatile. I think getting parts of my message to the mainstream can be a hurdle, but so far I've been embraced.
Has your recent coverage in VIBE magazine opened any doors for you?
Being featured in VIBE, where 'Pac and Big have been, definitely looks good on an application. I've had a lot of fans, producers and rappers reach out to me to "collab."
What emcees/producers are you currently working with?
I just finished a video with my boy Wax from LA — it should be done in a couple of days. I've been talking with Immortal Technique, and I've been talking with Cannabis. I'd really like to get something done with both of them on the same track. As far as producers, I'm working with D'Scorched, HQ from Fort Wayne [Indiana] and this cat Zambo from Germany.
What can your fans expect from your upcoming mixtape?
My goal is to touch a lot of people intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. It's not about who says the most complex lyrics that only a few people can understand. I want to simplify my message to reach a lot of people in the same way Bob Marley did.