Eric Sosa: Mr. 505 Decodes His Sosalogy
Eric Sosa, or Mr. 505 as he is known to refer to himself on Twitter, is not an artist that can be easily labeled or pigeonholed. Unable to be contained in preexisting classifications, he has created his own field of thought and philosophy, Sosalogy, which he uses as the title for his personal blog. Much like his laid-back personal demeanor, Eric Sosa’s music easily glides in, out, and around the boundaries of multiple genres, including Hip-Hop, Dance, Reggae, and Pop, just to name a few.
Today is a big day for the multi-layered artist. Today marks the release of his first single on iTunes, One You. In honor of the milestone, you will find him hard at work, performing live tonight at the New Era Flagship store at 9 East 4th Street in NYC from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Before his big night, we attempt to uncover the man behind the mic: What inspires him? What’s behind his success? And, most importantly, who is Sosa?
We’ll let the artist himself explain his music and inspirations in his own words in our latest IXiiV’s Spotlight On… Eric Sosa.
Your promotional singles and mixtapes often pay homage to classic hip-hop and pop artists, such as Pete Rock and Madonna. If you had the opportunity to collaborate with one of your idols, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Well Pete and Madonna would definitely be two. There’re so many but Ryan Leslie, Melanie Fiona, and Paramore just to name a few. I think I remake or remix the work of the artists I would like to work with because it’s like my chance to pretend for a couple minutes and hear what the actual collaboration would sound like.
It is difficult to box your music into one genre, as you experiment with many different sounds. How would you describe your sound?
I guess you can say my sound is everything outside “the box” (shrugs shoulders). Genres are categories, categories have boundaries, boundaries are limitations, and I don’t ever want be limited. Call it Alternative Hip-Hop if you HAVE to call it something.
You started in marching bands playing percussion. Your biography mentions your draw to rhythms and beats. What draws you to a track when making music? Is it the beat that catches you immediately, or the overall mix, or something else?
Yeah, well it depends. Usually it’s the beat that draws me in and inspires me to write. But many times I’ll approach a producer with the sound or melody or type of beat I hear in my head and have them bring it to life. Then there’re other times when I write an entire song without a beat, and just hope one day I’ll find a home for it. So yeah, it all depends.
You’ve had a lot of early success, including a feature on MTV2’s Sucker Free. What honor has meant the most to you thus far and why? What milestone do you have your sights set on next?
From a feature on MTV to a performance at a small lounge in Williamsburg [Brooklyn], I try to treat it all with the same level of importance. As far as what’s next, a lot… all I can say is stay connected, I want you to witness the growth.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by absolutely everything. Wait, that’s a cliché answer, let me rephrase that… There is absolutely nothing that doesn’t inspire me. Better (laughs)?
What discourages you?
What discourages me would probably the opposite of what motivates me, so not seeing results.
Seeing your stage shows one thing stands out the most – your ease and comfort on that stage. The performances are polished and you never seem lost on stage. Are you just someone who feels more at home on stage than off, or is it from preparation and a strong rehearsal ethic?
Oh, thank you. I think it’s a little bit of both. I think I was born to be on stage, ‘cause I just truly love to be up there, and it’s weird cause I’m a shy dude (laughs). But I’d definitely say practice has a lot to do with it as well, practicing and watching other people perform.
One can easily see fashion plays a role in your expression. You’ve also been a part of a few fashion campaigns. Is it something you do for fun, or do you feel fashion is yet another extension of your artistic expression?
Oh, I love fashion. I love music, I love marketing, and I love fashion. I can’t honestly say I know what I’m doing when it comes to fashion (laughs), but it’s definitely what I think is hot and just another form of expression.
IXiiV often advises artists to not only make great music, but be smart about the business as well. You seem to understand the work ethic and the business focus that is needed to make your music your career. Your logo and brand seem as very carefully thought out and executed as the music you put out. Where did that business savvy come from? Did it come easy or has it been a tough lesson to learn?
Thank you, I truly appreciate that. I’ve been rapping for about 14 years now, and I can say, aside from writing, the first 8 years was dedicated to studying the game. I definitely put a lot of time and thought into the business behind my brand, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without my team, so it means a lot to me when you say that. Shout out to Sosa Management!
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
For this business, I’m against doing the whole 5- and 10-year career plans. This industry moves too fast to have a plan that extends that far from now. No matter what, you will have to adjust sooner or later, so there’s no point. My career consists of about 1 or 2 years max, and that entails releasing my first single, One You, on iTunes, releasing my second single, Too Much, on iTunes, and going on a world tour.
What’s the worst criticism you have ever received and how did you react?
(Laughs) You’re going to laugh, but I think the worst criticism I’ve received was, “You sound like Foxy Brown” (laughs). I mean I respect everyone’s opinion, and I know everyone isn’t going to like my music but… Foxy Brown? (laughs and shakes head).
Your mixtape series, Rhyme & Noodles: No Artificial Flavoring, intertwines many different genres of music – everything from Rock to Reggae. What was your favorite track to work on in that series? What’s been your favorite sound to experiment with?
My favorite song, and it’s funny you ask ‘cause I just came to this conclusion the other day, my favorite song on Vol. 2 is Came Along (Way). My favorite sounds to experiment with are genres like techno and house. Sonically, it’s just so worldly.
Sosa is not your last name; you’ve described Sosa as Eric’s alter ego. How would you compare Sosa to Eric? Where does one leave off and the other begin?
Sosa feels he’s the greatest of all time, untouchable, and can’t no one tell him nothing. Eric is quiet, humble, and just likes to keep to himself. Sosa usually comes out during performances, Eric is everything else.
You new single, One You, drops today on iTunes. What do you hope people take away from it when they hear it for the first time?
On One You is actually a snippet off the first volume of Rhyme & Noodles. Whether they like it or not, I just want the general public to recognize how transparent I’m trying to be as an artist.
We interviewed Danielle Thornton for our Boss Lady Spotlight series. You two seem to go way back. How would you describe working with her and what role has she had in your success as an artist?
We go waaaaay back (laughs). Danielle is my best friend, she understands me as much as anyone is probably ever going to be able to understand me. Working with her is not only an honor, but a pleasure; she’s an amazing manager, and even better person. She plays a big role in my success. Lets just say she’s the engine of the car, and if it weren’t for her, I’d have to use my feet on some Flintstones shit (laughs).
What’s been the secret to your success so far? Your team? Your music? Your work ethic?
Now you know I can’t tell you thaaat (laughs) ;o)
What’s one thing you want people to remember you for as an artist?
I want people to remember me for being 100% comfortable with being myself.