Sound Check: Special Ed—The Return of King Edward

It’s been over a decade, and rapper Special Ed is back to prove he’s still in charge. In 1989, he released his debut album Youngest in Charge, delivering classics such as “I’m the Magnificent” and “I Got it Made.” Eleven years after his last album, Ed is making his return to the studio to release a new album tentatively titled The Return of King Edward. The project will be backed by his fans through a month-long Kickstarter campaign that kicked off in May, with a goal of $100,000. caught up with the rapper to discuss his return to music and how he wants his fans to be involved in his comeback. What have you have been up to over the years?

Special Ed: I’ve been doing my one-two, and traveling doing shows and appearances all over the place. I work with some independent artists, from consulting to production and overall development. I also do events, meaning I’m the one throwing the show or the concert. You’ve been away from the spotlight for a while, so what makes now the right time to return?

Special Ed: Well, it’s been long enough. I have something to say, so I have to do something. I can’t sit back and let everybody else do it. It’s time for me to bring the message of self-worth and pride back to the game. I’m needed and I’m ready for the challenge. Sounds like after this hiatus you are ready to get back in the studio and bring the heat!

Special Ed: Absolutely! With the new technology that’s in place, the internet, and the digital distribution and things of that nature that give a more direct line to the customer, I’m ready to give the fans what they have been asking for. You are involving your fans by allowing them to contribute to funding your album via Kickstarter. Is the new technology what pushed you to do it that way versus a more traditional route?

Special Ed: It really gives me a chance to see what kind of fan base I have, raise some money to support the project, and let them decide if they want it. It’s ultimately up to the fans at the end of the day.  So I’ll just put it out there and it’s really them backing something they want. People have been asking me for years, so I have been looking for the business end to come together and now with the climate of the industry, this is the best way for me to see what’s going to happen. When are you looking to release the album?

Special Ed: I am looking to release it in the fall, definitely by August. What can fans expect to hear on the album?

Special Ed: You can expect to hear just good original music. It’s not really influenced by anyone or anything it is just pure hip hop coming from a true hip hop artist. How about any collaborations?

Special Ed: Absolutely. There have been some that are in the works and some I’m looking forward to doing. I’ll just say I have an R&B artist and some hip-hop legends floating in there, it’s a great project all together. I’m very proud of it. How do you think your album will fare in a time where lyrics aren’t the focus anymore and it’s more about the catchy hook or the beat?

Special Ed:  I think my album will do great, especially for people who appreciate music period. It’s not all about catchy hooks, and we do have those too, along with a combination of lyrics and beats, so have all of the elements together. Do you consider today’s rap music “hip-hop?”

Special Ed: Yes, I do consider it hip-hop. It’s just another evolution of hip-hop, that’s basically what it is. For the fans who contribute to the campaign, what are the perks?

Special Ed: There are a lot of great perks. They can receive a t-shirt especially made for backers that no one else will have, advance copies of the music, autographed lyrics, some voicemails, calls, you can come hang out. You can even get on stage with me, how about that? You can be a rap legend for a day! [There are] a bunch of different incentives. I thought, ‘What would I like?,’ so I came up with those. People can just head to my Kickstarter page if they want to donate. The campaign ends June 18th.

For more information and updates follow Special Ed on Twitter @SpecialEd.

Special Ed

—Shameika Rene’

Shameika Rene’ is a journalist of all trades. She can usually be found producing television news and writing for various websites such as Charlotte Vibe, Creative Loafing, Carolina Style Magazine, Uptown Magazine,, or her own websites, and Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @mofochronicles.

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