Brothers Eben “E-Class” Nettles, and Umar “Young Poppa” Abrams joined together to deliver socially conscious rap, symbolically naming themselves The Hoodies inspired by Trayvon Martin. The Hoodies have strived to provide a voice for America’s oppressed, incorporating influences from hip hop’s golden era within their music, reflecting sounds of artists such as The Notorious BIG, Nas, Jadakiss, 50 Cent, and Tupac Shakur.
Recently the duo released their eight-track debut EP titled Where Should We Land?. They chatted with The Knockturnal about working on the EP and how their influences continue to inspire them.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk about developing the concept of Where Should We Land?
E-Class: The concept of Where Should We Land? stemmed from where we are in our careers currently. I feel like we are on the uprise and in order to land you have to be airborne so the only way we land is if we decide to.
The Knockturnal: Did the current pandemic influence or affect your process in creating the EP?
Young Poppa: We had no distractions we locked in and created the sound we were looking for. There were times where we felt unmotivated because of the pandemic but we got it done.
The Knockturnal: What was the most challenging song on the EP to create?
E-Class: The song that was the most challenging to create was definitely Hold On Me ft. Cyann Colon & Rich Starz being that we were in the middle of the pandemic we weren’t able to record together so we had to literally send each other bits and pieces of the record and put it all together but when I expressed my vision Rich & Cyann were able to bring the vision to fruition! It was a difficult but amazing process. Shout out to Drawzilla for putting all of the vocals together and mixing and mastering that to perfection.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk about how did collaborations like the one you guys did with Mack Wilds come about?
Young Poppa: It happened through our big bro Jimmy Kendricks, we was in the studio with him and he played the track for us and we heard that chorus and knew we wanted to get on that. The next studio session we had we laid it down and it was history from there.
The Knockturnal: How are you guys continuing to develop your craft of freestyling?
E-Class: We just keep writing and studying the game; whether it be the current state of hip hop or the legends who came before us. We’ve just been getting better and better.
The Knockturnal: What advice have you received from your influences in hip hop?
Young Poppa: I’ve been told by Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss, Styles P, and so many more artists to stay true to my craft and never give up on my dream. So many jewels have been dropped on us from legends in the rap game and I appreciate them all.
The Knockturnal: Many of your songs contain sounds and samples from past decades, why do you feel the sounds have stood the test of time?
E-Class: Because certain music is timeless when a song is created and it’s classic you could literally flip and sample it and make it a whole new song. I love the art of sampling I’m a huge Kanye West & 9th Wonder fan so y’all already know how I feel about sampling.
The Knockturnal: This question is for Young Poppa. Recently you paid homage to Notorious BIG with a remix of his classic Juicy can you talk about the importance of that song to you and developing your tribute?
Young Poppa: The track is so important to me because of how much I’ve been compared to Biggie and how much I look up to him. being compared to him on national television with millions watching felt like such an honor so it was only right that I did the track as a tribute to one of the greatest of all time.