Protest songs meet entertainment
Cenk ERDEMYoung rapper Norm Ender says rap music’s lawless attitude is one of its features that match his character the most. His album “Aura” consists of humorous lyrics with the well-known “dissing” attacks of rap music, which not only feels lawless but also courageous. The lyrics are partly aggressive and partly fun. He has completely created the lyrics, music and the album itself and has been enjoying an underground fame for a long time. He has currently made a strong debut with his EMI - Universal Music Turkey release, hitting both music shelves and digital platforms as number 1. The album’s debut song “Deli,” which attracted a great deal of attention on all digital platforms and music markets, also hit YouTube with more than 5 million views in a short period of time. After the album’s release on Feb. 3, he dominated the digital platform Spotify and became number 1 on iTunes’ Turkey sales. I had the chance to celebrate his album and asked him some questions:
You grew up as the son of a father who sold vinyl records, so when exactly did rap music attract you in particular?
I can say that it was during the first years of school. Most of the beats those times were breakdance music, which contained all kinds of music elements. Later on, I started to get into g-funk style of the west side very much. It was clearly what we were calling the “groove.” When the “gangsta” rap hit its peak times toward the end of the 1990’s, I developed an interest in its rhythmic nature.
Rap music has a rebellious nature, so what about its characteristics that match your personality the most?
You can think of rap music as a blank page ready to be elaborated and you can give it the shape the way you want. It’s not just all about rebelling. It has a nature which can appeal anything. It is not restricted to any scheme. I honestly love its every aspect. You can produce some rap music that can fit to all kinds of feelings. It’s all about the talents of the songwriter. It can inspire some poetry and its lawless nature fits my personality the best.
I know you were very active during the recording process of the album besides writing your own songs, so how long did all the process take?
Writing down the lyrics, creating music, and the entire studio process took 10 months. Throughout the process, I focused only on the album. I tried to establish a balance to proceed in accordance with my goals. I got tired actually, but now it makes me happy.
Songs hit millions of views
Actually, as an underground rap star, you already had a fan base, so when did you start enjoying the outcomes of your own efforts?
I started uploading my songs on a video streaming site after completing my military service. In a very short period of time, my songs hit millions of views. Although the spread of internet use was not so common at that time and people did not have access to the internet on their phones. Millions of people listened to my songs and they spread my music all around. I even started to perform as a headliner at the gigs. If I assume the outcome as love, I have already received so much love from listeners, their support and attention.
The album features rap music’s notorious “diss” attacks which are very striking and brave; can we say dissing is a good way for catharsis?
It’s a perfect therapy to both the listener and me. With my most aggressive way of dissing, I do not directly refer to names.
I prefer to produce works that can release every emotion. I want people to feel connected to my art, to a person’s life. Sometimes it is witty and fun, sometimes it is rebellious and aggressive, but of course, my songs are mostly protest songs.
“Aura” contains very different flavors, but what are the strongest aspects of the album as a whole?
It has pieces that can appeal to different tastes. It is not disturbing to anyone; I used a simple but meaningful language. There is no accumulation in the arrangements, every instrument fits the right place to accompany the songs. The choruses are catchy. I guess it can manage to attract the listeners through its lyrics and music. Generally speaking, it is a high-energy album.
The song that attracts me the most in terms of its emotional tone is “Sonumu Görüyorum,” especially with its chorus, so when you write your songs, which ones relate to your personal feelings the most?
Each song brings out a different side of me. I cannot name a single song that represents me, but “Sonumu Görüyorum” is a work that brings my success to the front. That song now shows that I am at a point where I can do whatever I want. I mean, I am confident about my work and it feels like it is the best work until I do one better, but it is unfair to choose it over my other works. I think they all represent a whole. Frankly, I do not want to choose one.
Your lead single “Deli” is very cool and enjoyable, but which song has entertained you the most during the recording session?
The songs I had a lot of fun with were “O Zaman Dans” and “Kezban.” Both the lyrics and the feelings they give are very entertaining. “Kezban” shows my capability of observing. “O Zaman Dans” is like the laughter of someone who is losing it in every way.
Who would you name as your idols among world famous rap legends like Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.?
I cannot say I have an idol, but Tupac and Eminem have always been the artists I enjoyed listening to. Their lives, their attitudes and the way they reflected them to their music was very powerful and influenced me much.
Among the biggest rap legends, which of their pieces would you list as your most favorite 5 rap songs?
Tupac- Dear Mama, Tupac – Changes, Tupac feat Dr. Dre - California Love, Eminem - Lose Yourself, and Coolio - Gangsta’s Paradise.