Pearl Harbor Entertainment CEO and performer Emerson Windy has only been releasing music since 2012 but the rapper/producer has built a growing musical movement. In a rare feat for a new artist, Windy’s Herojuana debut mixtape included appearances by established rappers Pusha T, Lil Wayne, Raekwon 2 Chainz, and more. The project also featured production from elite Hip Hop beatmakers like Timbaland, Mike Will Made It, T-Minus, and !llmind.
Windy is currently working on his next project which is on pace to be just as star-studded. Chris Brown, Drake, Future, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, Timberland, and DJ Mustard are all attached to the upcoming summer release.
Besides a new artistic effort, 2015 will once again see Windy participate in Magic 92.5’s Cruise For The Cause. The San Diego radio station teamed with the Emilio Nares Foundation for a charity car auction to raise proceeds for children battling leukemia and other forms of cancer. Windy donated his 1963 Chevy Impala to the campaign in 2012 and plans to donate another vehicle this spring.
DZI: The Voice connected with Emerson Windy to talk about his support of Cruise For The Cause, growing up in his San Diego County city, his music, and more.
Yohance Kyles: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
Emerson Windy: To be honest with you, I’m still discovering my voice(s). I wrote and recorded my first song merely 3 years ago, so it still feels like every time I get in the studio and attack a different track I learn a little bit more about Emerson Windy. Even I’m still discovering what I can do vocally and creatively, because I try to do exactly what the record and my instincts tell me to do. I would get bored listening to myself if I sounded the same on every single record, so I assume the fans appreciate variety.
YK: What was it like growing up in Oceanside, California?
EW: That’s easy G… beautiful. I love O’side, it’s home. Growing up in the O cultured me in its own way. Being the Weedman since my late teens and a popular personality when I was younger brought me into contact with damn near every group of people in my city, and I loved that. I got homeboys and homegirls in every neighborhood to this day. Black, White, Mexican, Samoan, Asian… Crip, Blood, Essays, South O Whiteboys. It don’t matter, I fuck with ’em all. It’s all O’side.
YK: Why did you decide to forego being an athlete to work in music?
EW: Chronologically, I decided to forgo being an athlete to hustle trees. Once scholarship time came I didn’t want to leave what I had built. Thinking like a teenager with 80 grand under his bed… I wasn’t going anywhere. Now I left all my old daily operations in the street to pursue music and tell the “Tales of Weedman Windy,” as raw as they may be at times. No glorification, just information.
YK: Your debut album Herojuana featured numerous established artists and producers. How did you arrange to get so many top stars to contribute?
EW: Trendsetter Sense from the Aphiliates set all that up. He reached out to me about a year ago and began working asap. He liked what I was doing musically, so he reached out and got other people to like it. He thinks I have “staying power” as he and some of them put it. They gave back to Hip Hop by helping the next generation. I’ll do the same. Stay up and stay bless to all of y’all.
YK: There was some controversy surrounding some of the imagery for the project. How did that situation affect you and your approach to creating future work?
EW: Not much at all. If I allowed someone or something to steal my need to explore the realms of what I believe to be beautiful or thought provoking, I’ll quit. I’ll go be an accountant, I’m good with numbers. Controversy or not, that situation ended well. They saw my soul and knew then that Windy meant no harm and that I simply see culture as beautiful. I still do and always will.
YK: Your song “Black America” touches on serious topics related to the African-American community. In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue hindering Black people from succeeding in this country?
EW: The president is Black, so we’re doing ok on the surface to some. But the biggest thing I see – and this is something I didn’t touch on in “Black America” – is this… We don’t help each other, because we don’t trust each other as a whole. We’re like pit bulls in these two ways…
We fear each other more than anything so we’re mostly prone to react violently towards each other. The majority of Black people’s daily non aggressive good-natured actions don’t make the headlines. We’re judged primarily based off the actions of our 1 percenters. So just like pit bulls we are feared and appear to be savages to those that don’t understand us, and a lot of times we don’t understand us.
We need to value each other and want more for our communities. If that happened, then everything else falls in place. Families stick together, money is saved by keeping a household alive, education is made more important, values are instilled, violence and crime drop. I wish it were that simple.
YK: What would you name as the five essential tracks from your production catalog?
EW: Half of that list would include tracks on my next solo project that haven’t been released yet. I’m extremely proud of them, but to answer the question:
“Assholes and Elbows” featuring Parlay Starr, Snoop Dogg and Kokane; “Big Spenda” featuring Waka Flocka, Me and the homie Hofa Bang; “Bad Boy Sh*t” for my Rap/Rock group I’m in called the K.O.P.S. (Kings Of the Party Scene). For 4 and 5 I don’t remember the song titles offhand, but one was for my homie Hood and Crooked I, one was for my fam Johnny Rain.
YK: What inspired you to participate with the Cruise For The Cause campaign?
EW: I just saw an opportunity to get involved and help some good people that were helping good people who were dealing with a loved one fighting cancer. I had recently lost my mother to the same thing, so I felt compelled to get involved.
I donated my 1963 Chevy Impala SS lowrider, fully decked out like G’s should be. I loved that car, but I felt better giving it away and knowing that car raised tens of thousands of dollars that went to people that need that more than I needed another nice car to drive.
YK: Have you decided what car you will be giving away this year?
EW: I’m either gonna give away a Benz CLS 63 or a 1964 Cadillac Deville. I haven’t decided. I don’t really care. I may even let the winner choose. I just want the Windyians to be happy. Nothing makes me happier than giving back to the people that got me this far.
YK: What’s next for Emerson Windy?
EW: In a nutshell… making my next move my best move. But to be specific, I’m gearing up to release videos to “Poppin”, “I’m The Man, Come Get It (Remix)” featuring Pusha T and P Money produced by S.K.I.T.Z Beatz. They’re all shot by my boy Yellow Nigro from YellowOneProductions. I’m releasing them all to WorldStarHipHop including “Black America” and a new record called “#HashTagHoe” for all these sneak dissing Twitter thugs poppin’ up [laughs]. It should be a busy summer my G.
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Check out Emerson Windy’s Herojuana