At just 19 years-old, Brooklyn MC Diani Eshe is making some of the most honest and powerful hip-hop music in the borough. She writes about the pain and pleasures of growing up with an uncommon coolness, taking on a divine oracle-like authority in her graceful rhymes and sophisticated flow. Diani is a seasoned storyteller, and her music is a window to her soul.
Diani Eshe’s (pronounced “ah-shay”) debut EP Echoe’s Ballad is a brief glimpse into her world and abilities as an emerging rapper. Tracks range from the lovelorn acoustic jazz ballad “Meet The Gang” to electrified “turn up” anthem “Kryptonite” to her undeniably poppin’ hip-hop soul single “His Novel”. Diani’s dynamic style might inspire comparisons to strong female MCs like Lauryn Hill or Azealia Banks or Noname, but she’s ultimately in a lane of her own.
Houston-based photographer Aria Herbst and I caught up with Diani Eshe at her Clinton Hill apartment on her way to work earlier this week. In person there’s magnetic lightness and ease to Diani’s energy, a contagiously optimistic, everything-will-work-itself-out kind of attitude. While we changed locations Diani told us about her nearly getting fired from job at a Manhattan Urban Outfitters and her whacko, Devil-pushing Satanist manager (who may or may not have it out for her)–somehow managing to laugh at all.
Listen to Diani Eshe’s Echoes Ballad EP below.
all photos by Aria Herbst