E-Turn recently released an album that technically isn’t an album at all. “So Meta” is a collection of songs originally created specifically for the Metaverse’s platforms. Due to high demand, the Orlando emcee was able to assemble much of her music for Meta into one place for her fans to hear.
So Meta is produced by Smoke M2D6 with one track handled by Even Tho. The 11-track album features appearances by Ken the Rapper and Prowess The Testament.
E-Turn spoke with The Real Hip-Hop about stepping out of her comfort zone musically, creating the “Hip Hop Is My Love Language” t-shirt, and her new album, So Meta.
TRHH: This album was released in a unique way. Tell me a little about the origin of So Meta.
E-Turn: It started off not as an album idea at all. What turned into So Meta was creating songs for Facebook, AKA, Meta for their reel system. So, basically, I got a contact from a friend of mine that does music full-time and they were looking for artists for work for hire gigs where they pay you one amount and then you write a song and then they get the rights to it. You write, record, deliver the song, they mix and master it and then they have the rights to it. It’s for the music in the reel system on Instagram and Facebook, the music that you can put over your reels. I guess their reason for doing that is so that they don’t have to pay crazy royalties to bigger artists. So, that was really helpful for me. It was like a love and hate relationship because I didn’t own the rights, but I was getting help paying my bills. I was getting one almost every month for a couple of years, so I was pretty much paying my rent with that. It was like a great thing because I could bang out a track in like a few days or whatever, and bomb! I did about 12 to 14 songs for them, maybe a little bit more.
All the songs that I did for them is not on So Meta. They gave me clearance for the ones that are on there. At first, I didn’t ever think I was going to be able to stream the music, I’m just like, “Whatever, it is what it is.” I kind of gained some fans off of it and some small businesses that were using the music over their reels for promotion sent me products and it was cool, it was really cool. But then people started asking me, “Why can’t I stream this anywhere?” I’d have to explain Meta owns it, but you can go into their sound collection and you can download. Which is hit or miss whether or not someone’s really gonna want to go take the time to download it and upload it in their thing and make a playlist or whatever. Eventually after the contract ended, I’m not doing it anymore as of now, I got clearance to stream the songs. I can’t reprint, reproduce, I can’t technically create a whole album release and monetize off of what we usually do when we release an album, which is create merch, create vinyl, create CD’s, tapes, shirts, whatever. I can’t really do that. It’s a little bit of an under the radar thing, so, I’m not like pushing it so crazy hard. But I got clearance to release it and I’ve just been promoting it as, “Yo, you can go stream my music, I have new music.”
That’s pretty much the story of So Meta. When I got that clearance I literally did like an AI graphic real quick and I was just like, So Meta is a popular thing that people say nowadays, like a trendy thing to say, and I was just like whatever, So Meta. I knew that if I sat and thought about it for too long that I would just sit on it and I would get in my head about it. Needless to say, I’m not like super proud of the artwork and the name, I just was like, yo, I just need to get it out so people can listen to this music. I hadn’t put new music out in a while because I had been making music for them. That’s pretty much the story of So Meta, hence why a lot of it’s kind of different. Some of them are different from my usual style because they would prompt me like, “We want women empowerment, we want this type of stuff, we want really catchy hooks.” It really gave me the opportunity to kind of go out of my comfort zone and start messing with some more poppy stuff or just kind of like different stuff that I was prompted to do.
TRHH: I don’t know if this is too inside, but with the clearance does that mean you make money off of the streams?
E-Turn: Yes, and I’ve actually been getting a little bit more money on streams since then. I think that people are hearing it on the reel systems and then and finding it on there and then downloading it. So, it’s been a really cool opportunity in that way as well. I’m still not making like hardly anything. Like before I was getting like a $20 check every two months or something, and then now I noticed in the past few weeks I’ve gotten a few like $12-15 checks. So, it’s on a bigger scale than I was before and the way that I really need to maximize that is I also signed a sync deal with a licensing like sync company, so, placement. The problem is I can’t give them the Facebook songs, they had to take a lot of my catalog out because of samples. They can’t use samples and I wasn’t about to lie.
My producer Swam was like, “They’re not gonna know, I chopped the shit out of them,” but I can’t lie. And if they catch it, I lose my contact with them, I’m not doing that. So, we had to go through and take mostly my whole catalog out. My first three albums are out and now I can’t give them So Meta, so really, I need to be working on music and giving them stuff that I can feed their system to where they can actually pitch it. It’s not a sound library, which is a little different. This is what they do — they pitch to TV, films, they have network connections. So, yeah, I really need to get that cracking and that will actually help with getting more streams. You know when you’re watching TV, films a lot of times you’ll Shazam. You’re like, “Oh, I like that song,” the outro of a movie or intro. That’s kind of what I’m working on right now.
TRHH: Are you in a position to get sample free music or do you have producers who don’t sample?
E-Turn: Yeah, my boy Smoke has a whole folder and he does sync full time. He works with rappers and does his own stuff, but he’s actually supporting his family off of sync I think. He’s got enough rolling in now that it’s working for him. He has a whole folder of sample free or sample cleared beats that I can pick from. Also, I’ve connected with a couple of people that are also linked with my sync company that they also have a deal with them and they’re just producers.
I’ve been collaborating with this one guy recently trying to make stuff happen. It’s a little more poppy and like not really my style, but that’s the cool thing about having done the stuff with Facebook. It kind of got me more in the in the flow of not only cranking songs out, and lyrics, and just like writing and getting it out there, it also expanded my ability to do a little bit more poppy stuff as opposed to the boom bap.
TRHH: Smoke M2D6 produced all but one song on So Meta. How involved was he in the lyrical side of creating So Meta?
E-Turn: Not at all [laughs]. Basically, it was a perfect win-win situation. I would give him a cut of the pay I would get, and I would grab a beat out of the folder, and I would make my song, and give it to Meta. It worked for him because he already has the beats in there. He’s got like tons of beats just in a folder for rappers to pick from. You pick a beat, basically, I’d give him a cut, and then I would write my lyrics, record it right here at my home studio, and turn it in. It was a good situation for that.
TRHH: So Meta seems like a roller coaster of stages in your life. Was it challenging to put so many different feelings out there for the world to hear?
E-Turn: You get used to it over the years. It’s kind of what my music has always been. It is always weird to go past a certain point with the reality. My music is generally a realistic situation. It’s my life, or other people’s lives, or something I’m experiencing, or what’s going on in the world. So, to a degree it does get difficult to get past a certain level of depth with reality, because it’s so personal. But I’ve gotten used to it over the years. I think the cool thing about being able to put quote unquote “your business” out there through your music is you can make it a little more abstract.
And unless someone asks you, you don’t necessarily know if you’re talking exactly about yourself. You could be speaking about watching someone else going through something that you related to. That’s a really cool aspect of being able to put it into your music. It’s kind of open for interpretation. Like, “I wonder if that’s happening to her exactly? Or something she went through before? Is it happening now? Is that really her story?” I try to mix it up so that unless someone’s asking me directly it’s open for interpretation, basically.
TRHH: On the song “Can’t Keep Me Down” you say “finally I can breathe.” You seem to be in a better place. What got you there and what are you doing to stay there?
E-Turn: Yeah, it’s a roller coaster. I don’t think I’ve stayed there in years. Relationships always kind of circle back to where we’re at. If we’re in a relationship and we’re not doing good in our relationship the closest person to us, it affects us, and it affects our daily lives. I think I was probably in a better space in my relationship at that time and also doing a lot of self-exploration, therapy, and really self-love stuff. Really trying to lock in the self-love/self-care stuff and not in a synthetic way. Not in a way that’s like putting a show on for people, because that shits like trendy these days.
I get it and it’s good that it’s trendy, because people are actually being able to explore that for themselves, but there’s a lot of fake positivity going on and a lot of fake self-care. They’re like, “I’m doing this” and they post it on Instagram or they say, “I’m doing this for myself,” but then they get off the phone and they’re shouting at their husband or kid and they’re just miserable. I think I was really starting to get into a place where I was really trying to become more self-aware, and love myself, and accept myself for who I am.
TRHH: You seem to be doing a lot of other things besides music. You’re selling a pretty popular t-shirt, and I saw your voiceover reel on Instagram. Talk a little about the t-shirt and how did you get involved in doing voiceover work?
E-Turn: The t-shirt I had seen. I’m always trying to think of new merch ideas and then I was scrolling on Instagram and you know the ads come up for things that they think you would like and it said “Music Is My Love Language” on this random t-shirt on an ad and I was like, “Okay, I’m making ‘Hip Hop Is my Love Language.” That’s brilliant. I still need to figure out if I can trademark that and I need to get it poppin’ because if you Google “Hip Hop Is My Love Language shirt” I’m the first one that pops up and I don’t pay for SEO optimization or anything like that. It’s just there’s not a lot of that existing out there, so, I picked a good one. I came up with it, dropped it, and I knew people would like it because I liked it — I’m a Hip-Hop head and it buzzed. People loved it.
I really need to focus on promoting that more and looking into the trademark and really creating different merch items with that on it, and really pushing that slogan because people love it. Especially with all the like self-expression stuff these days, people want to express themselves through their fashion and through stickers, whatever. That’s the story behind that and it’s one of my most popular sellers when I go on the road. Especially now that I’m out of my vinyl. That’s the other big seller, but I’m completely out and I don’t currently have the money to invest in that, hence, good segue, why I’m doing more voice over now to try and get some more money coming in.
TRHH: On the song “I’m That Type” you talk about family and men that did you wrong. You go on to say you had to tell dudes to fall back. You can cut men off, but it’s hard to cut family off. How did you deal with the family that you had issues with?
E-Turn: I’m still trying to figure that one out. There is a particular person in my family circle and a couple that I’ve kept distance with, but the one in particular I’m thinking about I essentially just had to like, I’m not ghosting them per se, but I’m not like wanting to hang out like that because I just can’t handle it. It just gets to the point where it’s like If we’re talking about the same issues every single time and you’re not changing them, then what am I exposing myself to if I’m constantly there? I can be there for an ear, but when it becomes like 15 years of the same problem it’s like, “Alright.” And if this is all you’re going to talk about essentially you just gotta make the decision.
You try the in between of like, “Alright, well what are you gonna do about it? If this is what is always gonna be in our presence when we’re together let’s come up with something.” It’s different if you’re venting a couple times, but when it’s your family and it’s years, and years, and years, and years, and you’re watching the same toxicity over and over, eventually you just gotta put the space there. I still once in a while see them, but I’m still figuring that. Really you just gotta put the distance there and pray for them, you know.
TRHH: Self-preservation. You have to. That’s something I struggle with. I struggle with being with family and keeping my distance. I feel bad almost, but I have to do it. You have to do it for yourself.
E-Turn: I feel you so much, trust me. I’m struggling with cognitive dissonance with the family situation because I was raised very family oriented, especially on my dad’s side — my Persian side. My mom grew up estranged kind of from her family, but you know blood wise she’s Latina native. They’re very family oriented, so, it’s in my blood to be family oriented, and then my dad raised me very family oriented, so, it’s really difficult for me, for sure. I like that, self-preservation, but also understanding how you can spend a little bit of time with them and just try to keep your cool, and peace, and love them a little bit, and be out.
The more you work on yourself you can take people like that in in pieces and keep your cool, and love them how they are, and accept them how they are. You have to accept them how they are, because you can’t change them. That’s the tough part right? I’m working with my therapist on that right now, like how do I accept someone when they’re just fucking up and it’s affecting me and it’s hurting me? Well, you keep the distance, pray for them, love them, accept them, but understand exactly how you can protect yourself as well ‘cause I ain’t trying to go to hell with nobody [laughs].
TRHH: What do you want people to take away from So Meta?
E-Turn: Personally, I want people to take away that I am definitely in a transitional phase in my life of trying to figure out how I can be true to my sound and my style with also opening up to being able to survive off of my music. Because you know a lot of sync stuff is getting more into the realm of bringing that boom bap back and that classic Hip-Hop back, but also being able to like go outside of my sound and experiment so that I can get placed in movies, or commercials, or even be exposed to a bigger population, a bigger amount of fans, because I’m able to switch it up a little bit.
So, personally that’s what I want my fans to understand and it’s tough because once people are like solid fans of yours they wanna go on the journey with you. So, when they really like fucks with you they wanna go on the journey with you and they’re cool with being like, “Oh, that’s different! What E-Turn? Cool!” But when they’re just now experiencing your music for the first time and you’re all over the place, that’s hard. That’s why they always say when you’re building your brand and building yourself up as an artist you gotta find a sound and you gotta stick with that. You gotta be grounded and consistent.
So, it’s a weird space in my career right now. Very weird spaces. I’m like, “Alright, well I wanna still be true to myself as an artist,” and I will morally still always be true to myself. I’m not gonna go over there and be like, “Shake your ass girl!” Style wise I’m figuring some things out — how to stay true to myself and my sound with also like, yo, I got bills to pay. So, like how am I going to stay true to myself and still pay my bills?
So Meta I would say is the first in a new journey kind of for E-Turn as an artist and a brand. Where is she gonna go from here, you know? As far as content on So Meta, it’s a little roller coaster-y because again, I didn’t put an album together. I literally just released a bunch of these songs that I made for Meta for Facebook and that’s kind of ironically where my life is at right now, it’s a fucking roller coaster. So, So Meta is a roller coaster style wise. Nothing’s put together like I would like it to be, but that’s kind of where my life is at in general. So, it’s meant to be, I guess.
Purchase: E-Turn – So Meta