The Hip Hop Shop: Ursa Major

Everything about where we’ve been relates to where we’re going, and for Ursa Major, his foundation will always be cemented in Brooklyn.

Even though he packed up and left at a young age, he admits that is where his roots will forever remain, adding, “There’s an attitude and confidence that you develop there that’s just BROOKLYN. Its undeniable, so I cherish it.” Influenced by the city that raised him, Ursa Major is not only an emcee, but a poet and we’re talking with him about both worlds colliding as one.

Kendra: Being that you came up in Brooklyn, if you had to compare your latest EP Polaris to a spot in there, where would it be and why?

Ursa Major: My hometown of Midwood. It’s by Brooklyn College, so you have the high intellect; It’s right off Flatbush, so you have the Caribbean culture and hood access, and the 1 train so you can get straight to the city.

Kendra: Stepping away from the music for a second. You’re also a poet, performing slam poetry. Did you take that on before you started rapping?

Ursa Major: Rapping first. It’s funny, because I discovered spoken word and slam poetry about five years after I started rapping. I was getting frustrated with myself. I felt like I had a lot to say, I couldn’t find original beats, and my flow was so inconsistent my songs weren’t sounding right. Spoken Word allowed me a different avenue to really express myself. Slam Poetry is very much like Battle Rapping. I would even call them fraternal twins. I’m glad I discovered it.

Kendra: Do you approach writing your poetry the same way you do your music?

Ursa Major: This is a really good question. My blanket statement is that I consider it all poetry, so there’s a high value on what I say, and how its said. The approach is definitely different though. Spoken Word is intentionally music-free. There’s a reason for that. You can do certain things with the rhythm and tempo to bring out key phrases and ideas. It’s more freeform. Rap, is music. I played bass (orchestra double bass) for about eight years. I understand how parts make up a whole. Most rappers who pride themselves on lyricism, struggle making full songs. Your bars and lyrics are PART of the song. It can’t overpower the melody, and the overall music. So it’s two different approaches for me.

Kendra: Now, you’re also fluent in a handful of languages. Would you ever consider an album in each?

Ursa Major: Haha I wish! I have tried to write songs in some of the other languages I speak. It tends to sound a bit forced. I am working on a song with some French elements for when I perform in France this summer. A whole album? Not by myself. Maybe as a compilation with worldwide native speakers.

Kendra: Lastly, what do you have going on in the coming months?

Ursa Major: It’s all about letting people know Polaris is here, and it’s only the beginning. Shows, networking, promoting and preparing for two major things: South By Southwest, and Touring Europe this summer. Looking forward to it. Real Music Rises! Keep up with all my moves on my blog, here.

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