By Auriel Thompson
“I’m not a big name, I’m not going to be your next Future or Drake, but everything I make or put out, I put my heart into. If your questioning whether your should check out my music or not, ask yourself, do you care about the name of the person whoreleases the music, or do you care about the heart and passion of the music?”-EMD
Musically, you may have heard of him as EMD, a mysterious, experimental local East Lansing rapper who performs at small venues, such as Mac’s Bar, or Open Mic Night at the MSU Union.
However, many just know him as Evan Dunbar, a sophomore at Michigan State University, majoring in General Management and minoring in International Business.
From working in the Sparty’s Human Resources Office, to his general attire of glasses, sweater vests, khakis, and loafers, the last thing you would expect from EMD isfor him to be an aspiring musician, let alone an aspiring rapper. However, in EMD’s case,never judge a book by its cover! Big things come in small, unexpected packages.
“Whenever I tell people I rap, the usual reaction I get is dismissive laughter and I understand. It stems from my character and demeanor. I guess you can say, at times,I feel like I don’t belong but, honestly, there’s nothing I would do other than music. It keeps me going, and sane, almost. I love what I do so, I ignore the haters honestly.”-EMD
As an East Lansing native, EMD has always had a love for music. A lover of all genres and types of music and poetry, EMD always saw music as and escape or an outlet from the harsh realities of life. However, it wasn’t until his freshman year of high schooluntil he became serious about music and decided he wanted to make music on a professional level.
“I’ve been doing this for about four years now. I used to write a lot of poetry starting out and started playing a lot of different instruments, like the violin, the piano,and the trumpet…” says EMD.
“As far as writing goes…I wrote, and still write, everyday. Whether its poems, songs, whatever…I have hundreds of notebooks and material.” Moving from his love of poetry, and his unique upbringing and background, EMD began to grow a special love for the Hip-Hop/Rap genre.
“I chose to do rap music [out of any other genre] because I wanted to make people hype. I felt like I couldn’t sing well enough for pop music, classical music is too melodic,jazz and blues is too technical, and country music, I found, almost “too American”. Hip-Hop was just more my style,” says EMD.
EMD doesn’t want to be seen as a ‘serious’, lyricalrapper or someone who constantly speaks about the world’s current issues, like Logic, J.Cole, or Macklemore.
Instead, EMD wants to talk about his experiences, and his life, andstay true to himself, while still being able to get people out of their seats and dance to his sound.
“For me, my lyrics aren’t meant to have an emotional impact or whatever, I just want to talk about me and my story.”
Currently, EMD releases music via his SoundCloud, EMD East Lansing. As of now, he has released two singles, “We Are Spartans” a song inspired by the infamous27-23 win between MSU’s football team and their rivals University of Michigan, AnnArbor, and “Rue’s Revolution” a song he released the day the movie, The HungerGames: Mockingjay Pt. 2, sampling the song The Hanging Tree, which is also apart ofthe film.
EMD doesn’t see himself going mainstream anytime soon.“It’s not that I’m not confident in myself but rather I feel like I still need to progress as an artist, understand the direction I’m trying to go, musically and image-wise,and find myself. Once I do that, then I’ll release an actual album,” says EMD.
“As far as going mainstream is concerned, I’ve never really had much interest in it. I want to stay independent and maintain my creative control, but maybe get a big, mainstream distributor or promoter, similar to what Mac Miller did”.
EMD is in the works of building his own label and studio in Lansing under the name “Shooting MoonsMedia”. With the help of a few loans, his personal savings, and the savings of his team members, EMD was able to find a location in Rio Town of Lansing, and is currently fixing and building the location up in order for it to be a functional studio.
“The studio is going to be great and it’ll definitely be an upgrade from Tuck’s basement in his house.” However, the studio isn’t only being built for the sole purpose of EMD’s team and production.
Once finished, the studio will be accessible to any aspiring artists in the Lansing area who are seeking to produce music on a professional level. EMD has even stated he willing to hold ‘how-to’ classes on how to write music,audio production, and etc. Stay updated EMD can be found on social media via Twitter and Facebook.