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His breakthrough hit, "Benzo", established himself as a star. Now, ahead of the release of his second album, he chats about dreams, style and hats.
Germany is a country proud of its own rap scene. Turn the radio on and you are far more likely to hear homegrown rap played ahead of any US or UK imports. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Berlin, the artistic capital of the country, where a high level of multiculturalism has led to a fascinating rap scene that draws influences from all over the world. Case in point is the rising Congolese-born, German raised rapper, Elias, whose high-energy hit, “Benzo”, raced up the charts last year and made him a household name.
“My dream when I first started was being on big stages like everyone else. You just want to share your music with the people,” said Elias in an interview with New Era. He first rose to fame as a gifted teen rapper, by the name of Young Sweezy, but it’s since he began releasing music as Elias back in 2017 that his career has exploded. His lyrics have become known for wordplay wizardry and gritty storytelling that shines a light on the experience of feeling German to your bones, but being from somewhere else. It’s no surprise that after releasing his debut mixtape, Flyest Alive, in 2019, he was quickly snapped up by Epic Records.
“What I’m doing, nobody else is doing, it’s something new,” he said. “I hope that the younger generation who comes after me follows the steps I took, and I’ve opened doors for new people so it’s easier for them to go through.” This kind of attitude is part of the reason why Elias was chosen to be one of the many faces on the front of New Era’s explosive new music campaign, “The Music Generations”, which celebrates the brand’s historic journey through culture by championing pioneering artists across all genres, with other artist collabs dropping soon.
In a short film made with New Era, in which Elias let the cameras into his studio in Berlin to show where his art he created, he revealed a special New Era collaboration. In homage to his roots, he’s created a collection of hats featuring the ‘Flyest’ which appears on all his work and even the chain around his neck. “The cap is called ‘The Flyest’, because that’s my nickname,” he said. “Because it’s the ‘Flyest’, the eagle is on there.” The eagle embroidery features prominently on a 59FIFTY, a 9FIFTY and a 9FORTY, and all the caps are available in either navy or black.
“Music and style always go together,” explained Elias, “as a musician in any kind of genre, it’s very important to express yourself. I have a lot of people who inspired me. Obviously, the early 90s and 2000s play a big role in my style. Every rapper was wearing a New Era hat back then. So, to be associated with the brand is obviously a dream come true. Everyone who has grown up and listened to rap music knows about New Era. It’s 100% authentic and it’s staying forever.”
WE HAVE NOW SOLD OUT OF THE ELIAS COLLECTION.