Electronic media and film major and musical artist Ed Sites, who also goes by White Bread Ed, believes he can use his music to better society.
“I see year by year what is going on in our culture and I see a lot more violence sex and drugs, and those things have always existed and they always will, but I want to use my perspectives to help anybody that might be surrounded by them and looking for a way out,” Sites said.
Sites discovered his talent for rapping when he was 13 years old as a way to escape his daily school environment.
“I remember being a young kid rapping and touching on serious views and serious topics but you just aren’t taking it seriously because you are a kid but at the core of that is that your perspective,” Sites said. “The things I have seen from then to now really just shape everything that I rap about.”
After receiving positive feedback from his peers, Sites began to pursue his career as an artist after high school. He recently put out his first official release, an EP entitled J.R.I.D.E containing six songs that he wrote himself.
“I had done a couple mix tapes throughout the years, but this was like the first project that we owned 100 percent rights to,” Sites said.
His friend Towson student Andrew Sorrells also known as Drew Beatz, handled a majority of the instrumental production processes, working alongside Sites to develop the beats for the EP.
“The reason I decided to do an EP is because I feel like today music is mostly digital based…I really wanted to try to incorporate that feel of an artist putting together a package where the cover and the artwork match the lyrics and it is really almost more of a book where the lyrics are on the pages and everything,” Sites said.
J.R.I.D.E is an acronym that stands for “Justice Rarely Is Done Enough” and carries a message in all of the songs that is deeply personal to Sites. He described the process of releasing his EP as releasing a piece of his life because the lyrics are heartfelt and inspirational to him.
“I just want to encourage everybody to be themselves and to be positive all the time and to really not let their environments and all the negative things that go on in this world bring you down,” Sites said.
He explained how his experiences as a child growing up in the Beltsville area shaped who he is today and his perception of the world.
“I have seen life from really all sides, it’s been a crazy life and I really just try to relate to all people that any position you might be in today no matter how bad or messed up it might be tomorrow is always a better day to change it,” Sites said. He is now working towards helping other youth better their experiences in school by developing a non-profit organization entitled The J.R.I.D.E Foundation, which aims to strengthen communities through music and art.
“I like to use music and art to make justice happen daily on a small level,” Sites said. “If I was a young kid and I had certain opportunities or outlets then life would have been a lot better for me, but then maybe I wouldn’t have as much to rap about.”
What jump started his idea to bring music and art outlets to young students was his experience with EMF associate professor Elsa Lankford at a middle school called The Baltimore Information Technology Academy where they worked as a class developing a studio for the students there.
“Where I live specifically I know that like seven to eight years ago they cut a lot of the music and art programs from schools and I really would like to use my music as a way to get those back into schools,” Sites said.
Students in Lankford’s classes still volunteer at the school as part of her class requirements. Sites said that when he volunteered there for a year, he taught after-school workshops and showed the students how to use programs like Pro Tools to record their own music.
“These sixth and seventh graders they go through hardships as well so to be able to give them that outlet, to be themselves when they are not around teachers, its just a good thing. So I would like to do that on a national level someday,” Sites said.
In addition to promoting his music online on sites like iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube, Sites is also incorporating his EMF education into his career. He is currently shooting music videos as a continuation of his EP and writing songs for his first full album entitled “The Whole Loaf” which he hopes will eventually help him to start a tour.
“I don’t really limit myself to just being an artist,” Sites said. “I do most of my own production on the audio and video side so I am really just a media-based person.”