Eric Degelos Jr. has always been good at English and word play, which is where he gets his raw talent. Going back as far as the sixth grade, it was normal to find him jotting down lyrics and rhymes. Come high school he began to get serious about it, and he began recording his raps and establishing a name for himself during his senior year of high school. “I've always thought of myself as a raw artist,” said Degelos and this is where part of where his rap name, ED Raw, comes from. It also comes from a family name. As a kid his little brother couldn’t say Eric, only managing to get out Raw-Raw. His family soon followed, with everyone calling him Raw for short. So, he took his first and last initials added his nickname Raw on the end and that’s where ED Raw originated.
At the young age of 19, his father passed away, encouraging ED Raw to shift his focus and do what makes him happy. He took this tragedy and found a way to build from it. Being exposed to reality at an early age and being forced to grow up is what influences his music. “I feel like I’m a credible source…I have the ability and capability to shed light on not only what I went through, but to give a little insight on how I built myself.” He uses his music as self-motivation and hopes that others will gain that too. Of course, money is a top goal, but in reality, he just wants to be happy and content with giving people his heart. ED Raw is inspired by Drake, J-Cole, and Kevin Gates. He connects to all three on a different level, but says “I want to be confident and speak that wisdom like Gates does,” and that's just what he intends to do.
At the beginning of his career his “light bulb” moment came after completing the song “Move” with partners tSur and Froeba. In the making of the song, something sparked for all of them and made them want to chase a certain direction and sound. When the song naturally became their favorite song, it made the whole thing become real for them. It was a big move for all of the guys, but even more for ED Raw. The song pushed him out of his comfort zone and helped him to grow as an artist; he learned a lot about his sound as an artist, propelling him towards the sound he is currently known for. He quickly began to mold into the artist that he is today.
Not long following “Move” ED Raw realized that the group was also molding and changing him for the better. Originally going by the name Jet Team (the first letters of their real names), the group included ED Raw, tSur, and Elijah The One. The group soon expanded with the addition of Froeba and XNDR. Froeba had been releasing mixtapes since junior high and came in with some sick beats to work with. Meanwhile, XNDR had always been a part of the squad giving frequent input on songs, but sooner or later he had his own lines for songs. Naturally, the group was happy to add him in. They had about 15 members, but only 5 rappers, and a new name: SWAD. SWAD stands for Started With A Dream, fitting for the young group of Northshore rappers. The group was familiar with Kidnap, another local rapper, but had never worked with him directly. While working on “Heavens Drive,” their biggest project yet, they brought in Kidnap to lay down some bars. After working on “Heavens Drive” together the group knew he would be a perfect sixth edition. Kidnap said yes before they even finished asking him to join.
Working in the studio with six people is hard, but once they pushed through the uncomfortable parts and figured out a way to do it, the group was ready. Their tactic was simple, if your verse is hot you’re on, if it's not hot then you’re not on the song. Soon SWAD booked their first show at Vibes Art and Music Festival in Covington. It was a learning experience for all of them. The show was sold out, but the group had never performed at a venue like this. According to ED Raw, the group could not stop cringing when they sat down to watch the video of the performance. “We all watched film the next morning and none of us were happy. There were so many things we needed to improve on.” SWAD was a lot more confident for their second show at The Brown Door in Hammond. They set it up themselves, were way more organized and felt like the set was mature. It was their best one yet and set the tone for what was to come.
Aside from SWAD, ED Raw has some big things coming up:
“I’m not going to tell you exactly what I’m doing, but I definitely have my own move coming. So just be prepared…early 2020, like, if not January 1 then very soon into 2020 you’ll hear something from ED Raw. We’re always looking at shows, so you never know where we are going to pop up. But as far as I go and as far as where I’m at, I’ve been in my bag a little bit trying to get some of these songs I have out the vault done because I have like twenty slaps sitting in it…. I’ve been getting some stuff done. But I’ve also been linking with kidnap for sure. We’ve been in our little duo bag, coming out like JID and Cole.”
As for the long run, ED Raw sees himself speaking to people. He wants to reach those who are in need of the right words. He left us with a few words from the end of one of his songs: “Sometimes we find ourselves without direction, disconnection, or fear of rejection, but until we find ourselves, we may never live the life we we're destined.”
ED Raw's latest verse is a feature on Tsurs's "Level Up." The song also features fellow SWAD member Kidnap. Check it out on Spotify below!
Artists: Drake, J Cole, Kevin Gates
Album: Drake - Nothing Was the Same
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