It was mellow on Main and 5th when I got to Los Angeles for Epic’s “Third Shift” EP release on Friday, September 16th. DJ C’est La Vie was spinning and I walked over to enjoy the free vino Epic had supplied for his guests. A few popular hip hop tunes played before C’est La mixed in Epic’s music and his sound quality and vocals fit right in. It was at this point that I noticed the hard copies of “Third Shift” spread out on a table. The quality was impressive–and I say that in relation to the blank disc, no-label, magic-markered product I’m used to receiving from independent artists. There is a quality to the event, a quality to the presentation, and a quality to Epic that is absolutely admirable.
The release, which was set to begin at 7:00PM, was pretty loose in structure. There were no forced speeches or opening performances…just happy people enjoying one another and indulging in photographer, Marcie Navarro’s very active, very cooky photo booth. When Epic finally took command of the microphone at 9:45PM, he started by thanking everyone for coming out and announcing that this was his first solo event, but what he did next is what struck me most. Epic starts coursing through his appreciation for a few key people in his life in such an exemplary way, that I feel like I’m being thanked. His recognition went something like this:
He thanks Ramir, for playing a huge roll in the production of “Third Shift” He also thanks TMG who produced “White Boy” and who he’s been working with for 3-4 years.
His bestfriend, Farrin who is featured on two tracks for “Third Shift” and also worked with Epic on the “Middle Class American” project is next in line to receive the emcee’s gratitude, apparently Farrin has also been to all of his major shows. Epic’s mother, Chantay, however can’t make it to every show because, as he jokingly put it, “She’s a grown ass woman.”
There is never a question when it comes to the dependability of Rick Montano, CEO of Barlely Broke Intellects, according to the artist, and photographer Jorge Peniche is one of his bestfriends in the world and responsible for all of the artwork on the “Third Shift” EP.
Epic thanks his brother Ryan next and gets choked up when explaining that Ryan has made it to nearly every one of his shows. However, beyond his tears, Epic is quick to remind the onlookers, “I ain’t no bitch, though. Run up on me though, I’ll whoop anybody’s ass in here.” We have a laugh, after a few of us wipe away our own tears, and our host finishes up by recognizing Marcie Navarro for all of her support, Kenny also known as “KaySoCool” who handles the artist’s booking, C’est La Vie for her time, a friend from ninth grade, and his grandmother who he warns us is an O.G. and not to come at her sideways.
Then Epic tells us he hasn’t prepared any music for the night before spitting an incredible a cappella that is surprisingly political in nature, criticizing the government and addressing the issue of crack cocaine in the community. He then performs “White Boy” noticeably embarrassed because his young niece is present, and after requesting a photo with everyone in the room, the show is over.
I was engulfed by high spirits and motivation by the end of the night. Epic’s natural ability to be both shy in-person and cocky on the mic is endearing because it’s honest, and it was a pleasure to be there to enjoy the well-deserved celebration. I have a new respect for Epic’s work because of the respect he has shown for it, his effort to produce and provide a quality product for his audience only means that his list of thanks will continue to grow, because Epic is the type of artist you can put your faith in. He is the type of person you want to support.
Make Love & Do Work,