After a lengthy, unexpected bus ride through Brooklyn, this guy is sitting across the table from me at a diner reading me the most beautifully crafted, rhythmically sound, sexually provocative poetry I’ve ever heard face to face. No, that’s not a description of my most recent blind date. It’s my weekend interview with Billy Rivera, better known as Accent.
When I stepped on this dude’s feet numerous times at a Kinetics and One Love show, I had no idea I was badgering the walking blocks of such an interesting guy. Among the fun facts he shares with me over a chicken salad sandwich and a plate of pickles with hot chocolate (no, I’m not pregnant), Accent admits that he’s a Pokenerd, emo rapper, aspiring wine connoisseur and cat lover. Um..what?
Random fun facts aside, Accent is a very dedicated hip-hop artist with plenty to say, both on and off the soundboard.
“I’m probably one of the most emo rappers you’ll ever meet,” he admits. “Art in general comes from pain, and you take it and create something beautiful. My writing is so much better when I’m sad and depressed.”
It’s not that I want Accent to be sad and depressed, but if that’s what it takes to get these verses onto paper, I’ll take Emo Probs for $200, Alex. Thankfully, being self-proclaimed emo isn’t the whole of what makes Accent a great artist. He also prides himself on what he calls “perfect rhyme” and attention to rhythm.
“Accent means how it sounds when you speak, not what it means,” Accent explains. “I’m a notorious freestyler. My focus in freestyle is less on lyrics and more on rhyme and heavy on rhythm.”
Don’t get it twisted and think that he’s one of those rappers who only cares how the flow rolls. Accent is a rapper, but first and foremost he’s a poet, even if that’s not always where his emphasis lands.
“All that really matters is how it sounds, but if you really listen there’s always meaning,” he notes. “I don’t want people to get tired of my songs. I want my fans to analyze my songs like poetry. I don’t wanna write songs people can sing along to.”
Known well for his work with fellow hip-hoppers Kinetics and One Love, Accent is the only artist to have been featured multiple times on the duo’s mixtape, With A Little Help From My Friends. He’s also had hands in many other collaborations over the years he’s been writing and considers himself to have a sort of “underdog” vibe.
“Kinetics is Batman; I’m Robin,” Accent says, true to his love of comic books. “But Robin is nasty on the low.”
As nasty as he may be in collaborations, Accent’s unique talent lies in his Nuyorican quality. A frequent guest at Alphabet City’s Nuyorican Cafe, he writes and speaks verses with the skill and soul of a seasoned poet. Accent is never one to shy away from aspirations and shares that he plans to spend the upcoming year perfecting a poem for publication. Lucky me, he recited some for me over the diner table. I blushed. Think about what that means for a classy lady like me.
The first single, Everybody’s Crazy from Accent’s new album dropped last night (December 5) at 9:00 p.m. and the full EP, Sight and Sound, produced by Kid Vision is scheduled for release exactly a week later (that’s December 12, guys. Come on..do math). After that, prep yourselves for a music video or two and plenty of other collaborations with our favorite rappers…aside from, of course, Accent himself.
Originally published December 6, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com