brooklyn by Julia Ismail May 22, 2018
There are a handful of female emcees that can keep a steady flow while delivering heavy bars. For Diani Eshe, a 19-year-old rapper based out of Brooklyn, she does just that, effortlessly.
Growing up, Diani split her time between living in BK and touring the country with her father, Talib Kweli, New York City hip-hop legend. In an interview with Kulture Hub she said,
“I spent a lot of time either on tour all around the country with my father, or living a regular life back in Brooklyn with my mother. I grew up with the best of both worlds.”
Diani jokingly compares her childhood aesthetic as a “Hannah Montana” or “Cheetah Girl” look, but she has always held an affinity for rap. She cited Eminem and Kanye West as her musical influences.
“Music was always in the air in both homes, so it became both a hobby and career path since I was a child.”
During her rise, Diani has continued to put her education first. She recently graduated from Brooklyn School of Music and Theatre. Now, she’s attending college part-time while setting up her future as an artist.
Music, specifically rap, followed her throughout her life as she got to have many experiences with her father on the road and her brother in the studio. Diani continued,
“I was always around rap just from touring with my father before school became super hard and time-consuming. I also would attend my older brother’s studio sessions whenever I could. Although singing has been a passion since six years, rapping was always my life’s background music. Eventually it caught up and thought nothing of it. It became natural.”
In her single “His Novel”, Diani shows all of her musical talents in one song.
She raps alongside the beat and takes us on a ride through her innermost thoughts, every line is woven into another blunt statement, as Diani never filters her words.
This is opposite “Perfect” with Alfa Simmonds, where she shows off her aptitude for singing.
Diani’s goal right now is to continue creating music and drop more singles over time. She says the next five years of her life will garner her a following stronger than her already supportive one, and a stronger sense of community beyond her music.
“In the next 5 years I want to be able to provide to my community with more than just music. I see myself having a strong following that supports and accepts me. By that time I should at least complete a third album or project, and working with whoever I find talent in, big name or not.”
Her free time is kept fun and simple.
“I love inviting my friends over to make music. It’d usually be making beats on Logic, or writing until we get tired and binge watch Rick and Morty. Painting has also been a hobby for 2 years.”
“Confident, humble, and optimistic,” were the three words she used to describe herself. A quick peep on her Instagram shows that this statement is very true. She keeps her page light, beautiful, and notably make-up free.
To Diani, art is stepping out of her comfort zone.
“I’ve always found it important to limit hesitation and doubts. My inspiration is the people I surround myself around. I love to be around people who can take action without a concern of what other people say. I can say it’s really been rubbing off on me!”
Her favorite rapper to mirror in her music is Kendrick Lamar. She describes his ability to translate the events of his life into lyrical poetry as his hallmark trait as a rapper.
“He translates his life story in his music and makes his audience piece it together like a puzzle. I find it absolutely nuts the way he can tackle any rap style and make it still sound like Kendrick.”
She also shouts out her brother, Amani Fela as the heaviest influence on her music. The seemingly mellow tone of “Glossary” loops over itself, neatly sending you into a vortex of textured beats resting underneath smooth verses.
“Kendrick definitely has influence on my music but the heaviest influence on my music is my brother, Amani Fela. His musical composition has always been different from the people I find myself around. His music inspired me to be different and explore my creativity.”
Though she hasn’t made any music with her father yet, she promises it’s definitely happening in the future.
“Music with my father is definitely something to look forward to and be patient with. I think it is very important to make sure people recognize me as ‘Diani Eshe’ before ‘Talib Kweli’s daughter,’” she says, “I can ensure that there will be some great projects from him and me in the future.”
To others on the come-up, she cites confidence as the most important quality to have when breaking into the music industry.
“When you lack confidence, it shows more than you think so. It determines whether or not you get to the next step in your journey. If I always had confidence and self-validation, I would be a lot farther than I am now. Don’t feel like you can’t do something because it hasn’t been done yet or it’s not accepted. With confidence all of that vanishes and next thing you know, people are craving more. Many young girls lack self-assurance and self-validation and I’m here to bring it out all of them.”
Keep an eye out for her new EP and accompanying visuals, Diani is doing big things!