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Prince Ea (circa. 2011)
|Birth name||Richard Williams|
September 16, 1988 |
St Louis, Missouri
|Genres||Hip hop, conscious hip hop, political hip hop, underground hip hop, alternative hip hop|
|Occupation(s)||Spoken word artist, activist and poet|
Richard Williams, better known by his stage name Prince Ea, is an American spoken word artist, poet, and filmmaker. After graduating from the University of Missouri–St. Louis with a degree in anthropology, he initially pursued a career as a hip hop artist. Inspired by artists like Immortal Technique and Canibus, he started and popularized the "Make S.M.A.R.T Cool" movement to promote values like intelligence, free thought, unity, and creativity in hip hop music and culture.
In 2014, Prince Ea shifted his focus from music to creating motivational and inspirational spoken word films and content. His YouTube videos have received over a billion views. These types of videos include topics such as environmentalism, race, work–life balance and spirituality. He credits his shift in perspective to the inspiration of ancient wisdom texts such as the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita.
The youngest of three children, Prince Ea was born as Richard Williams on September 16, 1988 in St. Louis, Missouri, and has resided there his whole life. He first started working under the stage name "Prince Ea" when he graduated magna cum laude in Anthropology from the University of Missouri–St. Louis. "Prince Ea" is derived from Sumerian mythology meaning "The Prince of the Earth".
In 2011, Prince Ea was rapping for his own entertainment and developed a few videos. These often ended up on WorldStarHipHop. In late 2008, Prince Ea released the mixtape "The Adolescence" on the internet for free download. A few days after the release, he recorded an amateur video of himself rapping and entered it into a Vibe magazine contest dubbed "VIBE Verses". Subsequently, Ea was declared the VIBE Verses grand champion and was awarded $5000 in music recording equipment along with a full page article in Vibe magazine, which held a total value of $50,000. In 2009, he won a Funk Volume competition, stemming from success on YouTube, which allowed him to become the first hip-hop artist to have a feature in Discover magazine. Ea has also been awarded the grand prize of a competition run by Trojan condoms entitled "Magnum's Live Large Project II" hosted by rapper Ludacris in which he was flown out to Miami to perform with the platinum recording artist. In 2011 he won the Riverfront Times "Best hip-hop artist in St. Louis". In February 2011, Prince Ea independently released The Compilation Mixtape, a free digital compilation mixtape with selections from DJ Techne.
"Make 'SMART' Cool" movement
In 2009, Prince Ea, upset at the present state of the music industry, decided to form a movement named "Make 'SMART' Cool". The "Make 'SMART' Cool" movement (SMART is an acronym for "Sophisticating Minds And Revolutionizing Thought") attempts to "promote intelligence to everyone, everywhere and integrate it with hip-hop. To create and nurture, without discrimination or preference, a community of free-thinking individuals under the singular purpose of promoting the ideals of education, intelligence, unity and creativity throughout the world at large."
A successful underground clothing line for the movement, which includes T-shirts and sweaters, was released and has gained support from artists such as newly signed So So Def producer Mike Kalombo. Artists supporting the movement include Traphik, Sha Stimuli, August Rigo.
In 2016, Prince Ea received criticism from other YouTube channels including Nerd City and English YouTuber Boyinaband. Boyinaband criticised Prince Ea for spreading misinformation regarding mental illness, not citing sources for studies he quoted in videos and for the large number of click bait articles he posted on Facebook, which Boyinaband suggested may have been an undisclosed source of revenue. Boyinaband's first video was taken down over a copyright claim but the claim was disputed and the video re-uploaded. Prince Ea made a response video against criticism he received from Boyinaband and Leafy, showing some of his sources (which were mostly from blogs and unscientific online articles). He did not respond to any of Boyinabands other claims, instead criticising him for not trying to have a more positive impact.
- Vibe's Vibe Verses Contest (won).
- Funk Volume's "Don't F**k Up Our Beats" Contest (won).
- Discover magazine feature
- Magnum Trojan Live Large Contest (won).
- Riverfront Times contest - Best Hip Hop artist.
- Juicy J underground search contest (won).
- Jae Millz Contest (won).
- Cox, Calvin. "Prince Ea draws the notice of VIBE magazine for his unique take on history and relationships." Riverfront Times. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- Exclusive interview with Prince Ea
- "Alumnus rapper works to 'Make "SMART" Cool' - UMSL Daily". 18 October 2011.
- "Mixtapes "Make "SMART" Cool". Smartiscool.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- “” (2008-12-15). "Prince Ea Spits Live On Camera For Vibe!!!". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- “”. "Prince Ea WINS VIBE MAGAZINE CONTEST!!! Thankyou to everyone who voted!!". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "Prince Ea " Make "Smart" Cool". Smartiscool.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- “”. "Prince Ea speaks on his Career and Anthropology". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- Calvin Cox (2009-06-17). "Prince Ea draws the notice of VIBE magazine for his unique take on history and relationships - Page 1 - Music - St. Louis". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- “”. "Funkvolume Win! and Spidermonkeys". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- “”. "Prince Ea - Bars From Sumer". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "Hot Science: A Geek's Look Back at 2010". www.discovermagazine.com. 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2011-05-02.
- "Video: Prince EA Wins Trojan Magnum Conest; To Appear on MTV's Made". industry314. June 7, 2011. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012.
- "Prince Ea Q & A " -Young Tunna". Youngtunna.wordpress.com. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- “” (2009-11-29). "Prince Ea "I Make Smart Cool" Official Brand/Promo Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "Mission "Make 'SMART' Cool"". Smartiscool.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "Don't Trust Prince Ea (Diss track)". Retrieved 31 July 2017.
- "My Prince Ea video was removed". Retrieved 23 June 2018.
- "RESPONDING TO MY HATERS (Leafy, Boyinaband...)". Youtube. Retrieved 2017-07-31.