By Tony Scott
The Chicago area has seen a surge of talent come forward into the hip-hop mainstream in recent years, with artists like Twista, Chief Keef, Rhymefest, Lupe Fiasco, Common and Mr. Kim Kardashian himself, Kanye West, paving the way. Aurora’s own Etha may one day very soon add himself to that list if his latest offering, “From the Heart,” is any indication.
Born Ryan Davis and a 2006 grad of West Aurora High School, Etha has released several CDs and mixtapes over the years, but “From the Heart” – a new EP to be released this Tuesday – is a strong mix of socially conscious rhymes and street beats, paying tribute to family, friends and community.
Etha held a special VIP listening party for 20 close friends and fans last night, and this roving reporter was there. The future hip-hop star performed his latest disc in its entirety, plus an extra song he was working on that was left off the album – a thrilling tune with a psychedelic soul riff reminiscent of “That Lady”-era Isleys. Hopefully it will be available as a download or single in the future because it was hot as hell.
During the listening party, Etha described each song and why or how he wrote it. He said each song described a different part of his
personality. “Work Out,” for example, is a song about everyday travails and challenges, “Grateful” is about his father, and “King City” shows off his “cocky side,” he said. And if “Work Out” is his “What’s Going On,” “So Good” is his “Sexual Healing,” a song “for the grown and sexy,” he teased.
“From The Heart” will be available this Tuesday at Etha’s website, iametha.com, and iTunes. Etha’s official CD release party will be at Two Brothers Roundhouse on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. No cover.