The Next Big Thing? Eminem’s Artist EZ Mil Talks Working With Dr. Dre & Looking Up To Kendrick

EZ Mil Eminem Dr. Dre Photo credit: Jayar Tolentino

EZ Mil is definitely the one. Eminem and Dr. Dre signed him together, the first time since 50 Cent.

Ezekiel Miller has taken the world of rap by storm like a proverbial super cyclone. The Philippines native embraces the roles of a Filipino-American vocalist, composer, instrumental virtuoso, dancer and record producer affiliated with FFP Records. His musical palette spans an array of genres, encompassing pop, soul, R&B, Hip-Hop, rock and beyond. He skillfully wields a diverse array of instruments including the guitar, electric guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards/piano. Notably, he secured a groundbreaking achievement as the first Filipino to ink a deal with Virgin Music Hollywood | UMG.

Beyond his musical prowess, Ez Mil radiates profound affection for his family and friends. His humility and generosity are evident as he lends a receptive ear not only to music but also to the narratives of his loved ones. His distinctive style has garnered him the moniker of “the next big thing” among these content creators, who have recognized the fusion of his Hip-Hop compositions with influences drawn from genres like R&B, pop, and innovative sounds. His lyrical tapestry is intricately woven from themes of resilience, love, remorse, life, aspirations and the depth of human emotions.

AllHipHop: First of all, how you doing?

Ez Mil: Good, sir. Just chilling. Woke up like an hour ago.

AllHipHop: Oh, where are you now?

Ez Mil: I live in Vegas.

AllHipHop: Vegas. Oh, you just woke up? Oh man, you’re living a real rap star life now. Were you out or were you working or what were you up to?

Ez Mil: Yeah, kind of on some stuff like songs and just relaying to some people. Yeah, just something like that so far.

AllHipHop: Got you. How long have you been in Vegas?

Ez Mil: About five years.

AllHipHop: Really?

Ez Mil: Yes, sir.

AllHipHop: What made you go there?

Ez Mil: Prices, to be honest. Because L.A. [was expensive]. I entered through Seattle to the States [from The Philippines] and then stayed in L.A. for a year. And then it got a little too hectic in terms of prices over there, man.

AllHipHop: OK. No, I completely understand that. That’s what’s up. So you have to tell me, first of all, AllHipHop is one of the long-running, premiere Hip-Hop sites. And if I’m not mistaken, we were founded the year you were born, which is kind of funny to me.

Ez Mil: That’s crazy.

AllHipHop: I’m cracking up to think about that. But that was actually a really, really, really dope year for hip hop. ’98, right?

Ez Mil:I would say so, because I don’t know what came out that, I wouldn’t be able to tell. But I feel like around when I was growing up as super, super small, Hip-Hop was everywhere.

AllHipHop: I can tell you, though, people like DMX were first coming out. Eminem was actually really starting to roll around that time. He was really beginning to pop off. Jay-Z really found his stride in ’98, he was out before that, but he really started to blow up with his label and everything. So that’s the second coming of Hip-Hop’s greatness, because after Biggie Smalls died and …

Ez Mil: 2Pac?

AllHipHop: 2Pac, yeah, that’s when Hip-Hop started to really come back. So, it’s kind of cool. So how is it for you? Eminem! Let’s just get right into it, I’ll never forget passing on my opportunity to meet Eminem. I was in college at the time and literally there was a thing going on on campus and my friend, my best friend was like, “No, I’m going meet Eminem in Philly.” And I was like, “Nah, I’m good. I’m going to stay at this party.” And that was the last time I really came in his orbit, in a way to meet him. So how was it for you? This is a dream come true for most people.

Ez Mil: Yeah, man, to me it is. For real. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it because before, I just listened to the man, for real, on headphones and then YouTube. And it wouldn’t be too much of that because a lot of the time growing up, your parents, they ain’t going to let you, but it’s the Philippines, so whatever. I listened to him a lot. Him, Kendrick, and A$AP Rocky, and it was just on the media like this. I just see it on whenever we go to computer shops for some internet and to play some games. Sometimes I wouldn’t even be playing games, I’d be on YouTube watching music videos and learning about different stuff.

AllHipHop: Yeah. No, that’s what’s up. Your song, “Realest,” really put you on the map. I mean, you were out there before, but that song really put you on the map. How did that song come about? Did you guys work together on it or were tracks being emailed or what?

Ez Mil: Yes, sir. So in the gist of it, yeah, we ended up working on it together because before even knowing that it was them that we were going to meet, I had already made the beat. So I just came to them and straight off just showed them the heat.

AllHipHop: Now, I saw one of your interviews and you mentioned this has been under your hat, so to speak. A secret, basically. How long have you had to keep it a secret?

Ez Mil: Roughly four months.

AllHipHop: OK, OK. That’s not too long. I think after six …

Ez Mil: Not too long?

AllHipHop: Well, that is kind of forever. That type of secret, yeah, definitely, definitely. Who’s the first person you told? Was it your family? You had to tell somebody.

Ez Mil: Family, because it’s a family business. So just family first and then just implementing. We would be, probably in terms of gatekeeping, before when it comes to the songs and not letting anybody hear it first before it comes out. This was different, man. It was information that, come here, we got to tell you something. It was something. And him being the mogul pioneer that he is, I’m just happy to be under his wing.

AllHipHop: Right, right. And you’re with Dre too. Dr. Dre as well. That’s such a crazy one too. Nobody since 50 Cent has been signed to both of them. That’s literally history. How do you get along with Dre? I mean, you’ve had to have hung around him a little bit, right?

Ez Mil: It’s good. It’s good. I would say it’s generally very good. Because I would say, in terms of the light of the moment as well, of course, it was Em who found me through my “Up Down (Step & Walk)” song, through the music video. And he was the one who brought that to Dre. So just at that moment, initially, hearing anything that Dre has had to say about me, he was curious too about a lot of the things but we just didn’t have much time. We ended up just listening to some songs. And he’s serious about this, bro. At the moment you saw the N.W.A kick in out of him talking to some of my people, and I was like, yeah, tell him. But it’s all cool.

AllHipHop: Yeah, that’s what’s up. You are like a multi threat. I’ve gone down the rabbit hole and I’m like, yo, this guy is so talented. Even down to the death metal, I was like, OK, let me find out. I am a little bit of a secret closeted metalhead myself.

Ez Mil: OK.

AllHipHop: I’m not playing. Obviously all the groups that I like are way before your time, but no, I’m serious. When I need to get out some aggression or I want to lift extra weight when I’m pumping weight, I don’t put on Hip Hop. Or if I do, it’s really hardcore.

Ez Mil: Has to be screaming. Not on some 6ix9ine, the ones who did it better.

AllHipHop: So talk about that, you can play instruments, you come from a musical family. I mean, I honestly can say I see you doing multiple things, not just rapping. What do you see your career path being?

Ez Mil: To be completely honest, if I specify what I would see myself doing further, because of all the things that, like you said, that I’ve done and gotten myself into in terms of the musical variety, I want to hone all of that. This is just looking further, further down the road. Probably to create a genre.

AllHipHop: OK. Create a whole new genre. That’s ambitious.

Ez Mil: I’m not the blip in the category where these new artists, because I relate to them if they go on DistroKid and start putting some stuff out there, and that would be one of the categories, one of those genres. Like, Hop, Blue Grass, and then it’s there. That’s the goal.

AllHipHop: You don’t have a name for it yet, do you?

Ez Mil: Not yet. Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait. I actually do, but I’m still in the drafts of it right now. Yeah.

AllHipHop: I’m a Grammy voting member, by the way, so we’re going to have to be able to vote when it does happen.

Ez Mil: Hey, the good looks, man.

AllHipHop: What is it about Kendrick that you gravitate to?

Ez Mil: Man too much, bro. Too much. Because at this frame of time when I was growing up, like in high school, it was really about also the rebellion state. I wasn’t doing too good in school and he’d just be my rotation. And A$AP Rocky. Specifically why Kendrick? Because of his subject matter and the topics he discusses. It’s literally paralleled what me and my cousins and friends were going through growing up in Olongapo City at that time. Where even my older cousin at the time, she said, “Yo, if you perform ‘Money Trees’ and do a cover, I feel like that. Gold.”

Yeah, yeah, we was really in whatever we was in growing up. So it was just this place of escape for us, to be able to listen to someone who was saying a lot of the things we was doing as well. Because we was really damaged kids, just growing up parentless. I wouldn’t say guardianless, but parentless, yeah.

AllHipHop: Yeah. What about A$AP? He’s very different.

Ez Mil: A$AP Rocky would have to be, I would say the get up and do it and make sure you look the best you can at that time. The fashion sense, like the swag? That’s swag, swag. We was bumping all out through the hood in the skate parks, bro. That was loud, out there. How real is this? I knew them whole people going to be feeling this. That was us, bro.

AllHipHop: There’s bars, there’s rhymes, but there’s also dances, there’s swagger. Is that your ultimate goal? Superstardom? What you aspire to be?

Ez Mil: I guess it’s part of it. I feel like it’ll help the greater cause as to what I’m trying to achieve for not just me and the immediate people around me, but the people. Because Asian American representation in terms of that light and, I don’t know, just what 50 said, maneuvering and … What’s the word that he said? Navigation, how you navigate yourself through the game is a big part of it and I just want to lead it right. And hopefully people learn from my mistakes going across the game. And having probably too much of hope that everybody would just be on your side, but that’s further from the truth. Being able to sift through people right then and there and not work with him and be able to say no.

AllHipHop: Yeah, no is a complete sentence they say. That’s what they say. Have you gotten advice from 50? 50’s really smart. He’s extremely smart.

Ez Mil: No, no, I haven’t. I haven’t. I’d love to. Just interviews.

AllHipHop: Yeah, yeah. OK, I see. No, I’m sure you will though. Now, being from The Philippines I would imagine … I just did a look, and I know Manny Pacquiao of course, but I think you’re rapidly rising as one of the most famous people to come out of The Philippines. A lot of them are politicians and stuff like that, but as far as Hip-Hop, not too much. I think you might be the most famous rapper out of the Philippines. What does that mean for you? And have you felt that type of love, being that representative on the global stage, basically?

Ez Mil: Yeah, definitely, sir. I would say I’m even still overwhelmed in terms of the warmth, in terms of the receiving of me in certain places. Because there was even this one instance where we was just in this party, in a skate rink, and there was this lady that was a family friend of our family friend. And she walked up to me and she was like, “I don’t even deserve to talk to you, sir.” Wow. Still like that, but I’m ready for it, but that’s beautiful to see for me. That’s what it means.

AllHipHop: You rap in multiple languages, your native language. How is it received over there in The Philippines? I literally am just curious. Some places it’s not well received or maybe it’s very, very rebellious. Whereas now, Hip-Hop in America is kind of like pop music.

Ez Mil: Yeah. I would say the Philippines, because the way it’s structured in terms of how people consume the music when it comes to the language barrier and whatnot… I feel like it’s important for artists like me and other ones from other countries, to really use their language that they grew up with in the records as well. Because it’s a way to teach younger generations who don’t even really listen in school. It’s why I feel like, damn I got chills, the influencer effect. Like the Kendrick Lamar and A$AP in that position, I guess. Some of these kids are going to listen to you more than their own teachers and their own parents.

And I feel that in a sense where I feel like, not subject matter so far. And right now, still. Even probably in the near future I want to go about, in terms of the message, because a lot of the raps that I rap is real rap. And I just tend to be just transparent. But other than that, I feel like English is just … The Philippines is very open with the English language because a lot of these kids, when they grow up in the Philippines too, you’d be surprised that a lot of them is English speaking, man. I could even say for myself, because I grew up with the both. I got a little English side by side.

Stay tuned for more interviews and videos from AllHipHop. (EZ Mil photo credit: Jayar Tolentino.)