Local rapper speaks up with his lyrics

Zach Simon

For Minneapolis native Jason “Ecid” McKenzie, growing up on gangster rap was just as natural as breathing.

Starting out in high school as Dice the Greedy Player, McKenzie felt it necessary to have a name that reflected his rap idols. However, upon enrolling at the Institute of Production & Recording in 2002, the young talent felt that he was not being true to himself and changed his name to Ecid. 

“I want to inspire people to be themselves and achieve their dreams,” McKenzie said. “By finding our inner selves, our best can be achieved.”

It’s the same message he stresses to listeners in the lyrics of his 2012 record, “Werewolf Holograms.”

A majority of McKenzie’s carry a hefty message. From the social commentary of “Men Kill Men” to the politically charged “The Pursuit Of Everything In Between,” McKenzie is always out to say something.

As a connoisseur of yoga, McKenzie tries to keep a healthy balance in life. In his lyrics, he even takes a stance against the perceived obsession with fast food and misguided trust in Ronald McDonald’s red wig.

In his 2013 record “Euphoria Vol. 1 & 2,” McKenzie comes into his own. “Heart Break College” sends the message that not everyone belongs in college. The shadowy “2pac Cobain,” illustrates party culture and the grimy feeling one has internalized upon waking the morning after a heavy night of indulgence. “Dream Boat” lifts the veil off misconceptions around finding the “perfect guy.”

It isn’t all heavy messages, though. Growing up with rap, it may surprise some that Kings of Leon and Nirvana  fell into the favorites of the young word-smith.

McKenzie ended up paying homage to his various idols by mashing up an a cappella version of N.W.A.’s “Bow Down” and various rock licks from Kings of Leon, an endeavor that turned into an album titled “Kings of Compton.”

As a relatively fledgling genre, McKenzie attributes the growth of local electronic rap to Out of Bounds , a two man project consisting of St. Paul native Chris Caesar and co-producer Keith Goya.  Goya plays keyboard for the duo and is one of the many people that McKenzie trusts on production advice.

“I couldn’t have evolved into the artist I am today without inspiration from performers around me.”