The minute you listen to a song by The Fifth Estate you notice something a bit different about his flow and delivery. You can tell he’s having a blast creating music and it shines not only through the sounds but also the cadence with which he raps. In his project “Stuck In The 90s” The Fifth Estate takes the nostalgia of the 90’s and presents it in a way that pays homage to the classic time period through a modern lense. I had a chance to sit down with the Texas emcee and talk about a number of topics.
DEHH: For those who don’t know who is The Fifth Estate?
The Fifth Estate: Fifth is of the people and for the people. Always. He’s an ambivert. He’s a walking stream of consciousness and random. He’s way too introspective and a routine victim of his own thoughts. He makes the music he wants to hear. Yeah, I just did that all in third person, haha.
DEHH: Now obviously hip-hop exists everywhere but tell me a bit about hip-hop in Texas
FE: Man, Texas hip-hop is a beast because our state is so huge. I think it’s mostly known for UGK, Swisha House, and screw tapes but it’s so much more. I currently live in El Paso which is the furthest west that you can go in the state without hitting New Mexico. It’s roughly 10 hours from where I grew up and (it goes without saying) there’s a heavy Mexican influence on all of the local music and acts. Outside of Houston and Dallas, I don’t think Texas hip-hop is well defined which is fine by me. It allows me to create how I want to create without fear.
DEHH: I’m sure you know the market these days and while I was pleasantly surprised to hear a project influenced by the sounds of the 90s, but some genuinely feel the sound is dated and shouldn’t be pursued anymore. What was the motivation behind the project?
FE: So a bit of background; m o o n is my right hand man and one of my best friends. We both came up on a lot of underground hip-hop and stuff with a lot more soul to it. Although neither of us are hip-hop purists (we once were), we just felt that we owed it to our roots to make a project paying homage. I feel like that nostalgic sound evokes my most thought provoking and lyrical content, currently. I’m way more than that boom bap sound but I have such love and respect for it. Stuck in the 90s was a very personal project in many ways than one. It was sort of a reawakening.
DEHH: It would have been real easy to just take some beats from 90s and rap over them, you went the extra mile and grabbed your own team of producers and crafted your own sound. Tell me a bit about the production and the team around and enlighten me a bit on what the recording process was like?
FE: The whole recording process was relatively simple in itself. I have a home studio that I work out of and outsource all of my recorded files to Tyler Wrighteous for mixing and mastering. It’s funny because until this project, I’d really only worked with Tyler as an engineer. A mutual friend put us in contact like three years ago and we’ve been working together ever since. Zou High and I are mutual fans of one another and linked up through SoundCloud. Jay Humble is an OG and m o o n’s mentor from back in the day. He put us in contact with one another and I was fortunate enough to work with him and get the beats for WARGAMES and Back Home. The most interesting thing about this project is that it’s very 2017. I mean that to say that I’ve never actually met Jay, Zou, or Tyler in person. M o o n has spent the majority of this year overseas too so all of these beats were emailed back and forth. It was a bit disconnected but I talked with everyone pretty often as I created the project.
DEHH: There are all types of callbacks on this record to 90s shows, cartoons, video games, artists and more, what’s your favorite part of the 90s?
FE: Dude, the 90’s had SOOOOO much to it but I’d have to say 90’s cartoons take the cake. It was actually a while before I watched anything that wasn’t a cartoon on my own. Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, and movies were the genesis.
DEHH: You gotta fill me in man, what inspired “Korean Jesus Speaks” I was cracking up through the joint
FE: Yo, the whole KJS moment wasn’t planned at all haha. We originally had some other skits planned but I just got a voice message one day from m o o n, out of the blue and that was it. One take. No rehearsal, just off the cuff. It was hilarious. I don’t think he wanted it on there but everyone lost it when they first heard it. Most people don’t know this but he’s Korean American from Rowland Heights, CA. He’s wild, period. I’ll just leave it at that.
DEHH: Breaking into the artist space is not easy, what tips would you give up and coming artists that want to forward their career and the culture?
FE: I don’t have this thing figured out at all but I can assess the growth and progress I’ve made in one calendar year. I’d say that it’s important to be a student. That’s how I see myself in relation to everything around me. Constantly learning. What’s most important is, learn your craft and find your voice/sound. I’m still in the process of perfecting my voice and finding my sound. Next, I’d say take the time to craft your image on social media and in person. Then learn your local scene and network with not only musicians but people in the culture. Remember that if you want to make it a career, you need to take it seriously and actually invest time, money, and energy in yourself. Don’t go for broke and don’t neglect your responsibilities. I don’t believe in that “no sleep” grind. Balance yourself and learn as much as you can.
DEHH: What’s coming next for you? Any shows we should know about? Will we get an album from you in 2018?
FE: I want to get Stuck in the 90s in front of as many people as possible and not just digitally. I was fortunate enough to be a small part of an unofficial SXSW showcase this year and I plan to be back there in full effect. I have one big local show that I’m planning that’ll close out the year for me (information coming soon). I’m going to do a hell of a lot of travelling to introduce myself to new audiences and I’ll say that a project (album or not) will be out next year. It’s all about the progression.