A Hip Hop artist, educator, and filmmaker, Eric Axelman grew up in Skowhegan, Maine. He was profoundly inspired and motivated by Hip Hop culture and the affects racial segregation and oppression has on society. He moved to Southern New England which led to his going to college, starting a nonprofit community-oriented organization, and curating a music career.
The Executive Director of Pushed Learning and Media, Eric tours schools across America using Hip Hop and other modes of artistic expression to raise conversation amongst youth and teachers about topics such as oppression, racism, and inequality.
In his work as a Hip Hop and anti-racist educator, Eric explains that he “[Focuses] on the white consumption of Hip Hop music, and the different ways that white listeners think they connect with black/latino culture through media-based interaction.”
His debut album ‘Too Much’ was released on October 28 which Eric has already released three music videos for.
As for his most recently released piece of work, Eric and his producer Cognate teamed up with the Nigerian-born, Brown University-graduated, rap phenom DAP The Contract to release “Crossed the Line”.
“I created this video with my good friend and collaborator Chris Oates, who I’ve been friends with for a long time. The beat was made by Cognate, and we featured DAP the contract, who is one of my favorite artists and who it was amazing to work with. We’ve been working on the song for the past five months or so, and we started shooting the video in October. We wanted to create a desert vibe, juxtaposed with some really interesting interior bar shots that Chris designed.”
Eric explained that the original inspiration for the song was based off of one of his favorite stories from the Torah, the story of nMoses, though loosely interpreted.
“In the song, Moses pretends he’s spoken with God. When people begin believing what he says, he’s put in a situation where he has to try to part the Red Sea and see if God is going to come to his aid or leave him and his followers to die. It’s ultimately about lying, and the emotional and personal repercussions of doing so.”
Eric explains that he has been left disenchanted with commercial music ventures and how this song is ultimately an allegory for that feeling.
“About a year and a half ago [I bought] views for a video, as I thought that’s what I needed to do to be successful. I realized tons of people were doing it, and when presented with the opportunity, I jumped at it. However, once people began congratulating me on the number of views, I felt sick to my stomach, and went through a process where I decided to never do it again.”
Currently, Eric is directing a film about the American Jewish relationship to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He recently returned from filming in Israel and so far the film features Cornel West and Noam Chomsky.
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