Hometown: HARLEM, NY
Instagram: @blackzeusx

What is the current passion you are pursuing?

My passion is music and songwriting (primarily rap but I am also heavily influenced by many genres).  I have a collective of amazingly talented and multifaceted artists called the Black God Pantheon and have been pushing my brand which is now Mandella Eskia (my first name and middle name slightly changed) for the past decade at least.

Anything in particular that sparked your drive to pursue these passions?

I wrote a rhyme when I was about 12 or 13 after I got the Bustah Rhymes When Disaster Strikes album and rapped it for my brothers.  It was super gangsta and they said “This is good, but you not gonna do NONE OF THAT”.  I was happy to hear that the rap was good at least so I kept at it.  It was one of the only things that I never got tired of.  Before that I played piano, acted (mostly improv),  and I would draw comic books but by the time I was 18 the only thing that was left was rapping and songwriting.  The other things are still in me somewhere so maybe I’ll get back to them but, there’s just something about the way a well crafted song can change others that has kept me engulfed in the artform.

Can you describe an instance or a situation when you faced significant fear or doubt in your life in which you successfully came out on the other side?

I’ve spent most of my life riddled with anxiety and didn’t realize what that feeling was until my mid to late 20’s.  I always heard about it but didn’t know exactly what it felt like until I researched it one day and realized “Oh snap, this is what that feeling was the whole time?”.  There are so many times I wanted to quit just because I felt like everyone I knew was passing me and getting opportunities that I wasn’t getting, especially recently.  Luckily I don’t stew in feelings too long and have always been able to bounce back but recently it was hard to get back up.  Luckily I have fans, family and friends that encouraged me and also I thought about all the regret I would feel if I didn’t keep pushing forward and that snapped me out of it.

What is your overall mindset/mantra in pursuing your passion despite fear or obstacles that come your way?

My mindset right now is really about reimagining what it looks like to be successful. For a while I wanted to be Drake or Jay Z and as I got older I realized that I just need to focus on being Mandella Eskia and that will take me wherever it is that I’m supposed to be.  Additionally I think refocusing on love and acceptance of myself is important as well as examining myself and my actions.  I’m not always correct and being able to accept that really helps me grow as a human.  Focusing on abundance and not lack of also plays a huge role in my mindset.  Celebrating my wins instead of always thinking “it’s not enough” is a part of that process.

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela


     “I Am The master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” – William Ernest Henley 


Listen to Kente Bandana here.

Listen to BUTTONS here.