Esh swings hard with latest. Trust me, I’ve felt the punches.
I had no idea that I was squared off against a seasoned MC, producer, and DJ when Esh and I traded blows in front of a raucous crowd at a charity fight night at Boston Boxing and Fitness a few months ago.
It wasn’t until after that I heard the name in musical context and found out that my sparring partner had the seventh project of his underdog career, Darwin’s Frankenstein, about to drop. Some of this happened in the ring.
Formally known as Esh the Monolith, my friendly adversary tossed out a few feeler jabs to get heads bobbing in late July. “Good Night for a Daydream” showed me why this guy was so resilient; while I can pop him every now and then, it’s clear that Esh can take life’s beatings and put them to beats. Depression, drugs, and Tinder be damned.
“My last album was all about losing control of my life, and finally reining myself in at the last minute before I got lost in the debaucherous abyss,” Esh says. “I am in control on Darwin’s Frankenstein. It’s not an exercise in discovering who I am, but one of knowing who I am, turning the lens outward, and observing my surroundings. It’s still totally selfish, but in a different way. I’m trying to make sense of the world around me, not myself.”
Once he regained his composure, Esh started slugging with the reflexes, finesse, and stamina of seasoned vocalist. His rhyme schemes are more clever than ever before; his footwork and his inside hooks are heavy like those of the legend Micky Ward. Tracks come blasting from the bell to the finish, with an atmospheric groove you might equate to butterfly floatation.
The Providence-born puncher’s pugilistic spirit was forged in the fury of the punk and hip-hop scenes, with the boisterous bare-knuckle wordplay of Wu-Tang, Kool Keith, Souls of Mischief, Sean Price, Ill Bill, and Dead Prez, all of whom taught the young gun the ropes.
“I’m extremely proud of this body of work and I just want people to hear it,” Esh says. “I’ll tour the album towards the end of the year if I feel like it and if the right opportunity presents itself. Other than that, it’s about creating more art. It’s always been about that. Also, going more than three rounds without feeling like I’m dying would be nice.”
ESH ALBUM RELEASE PARTY WITH CESCHI, ORCHIDS, AND CLIFF NOTEZ. THU 8.31. GREAT SCOTT, 1222 COMM. AVE., ALLSTON. GREATSCOTTBOSTON.COM