DiscoverTrapitalInside Hannibal Buress’ Pivot From Comedy To Rap
Inside Hannibal Buress’ Pivot From Comedy To Rap

Inside Hannibal Buress’ Pivot From Comedy To Rap

Update: 2022-09-291
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Hannibal Buress has carved a name for himself in comedy over the past two decades. But now he’s foregoing that part of his career for a fresh identity — Eshu Tune, his rap alter-ego. The name pays homage to a “trickster god” in Nigerian mythology.


A rap career has been in the back of Hannibal’s mind but the career pivot wasn’t seriously put into motion until 2020. Earlier that year, he put out a comedy special, “Miami Nights.” While promoting it at home during lockdowns, Hannibal felt a spark missing. That, plus the added alone time from not performing at comedy clubs, finally pushed Hannibal into the studio. 


Since then, Hannibal has largely dedicated himself to rap and rap only. His eight-track, self-titled EP dropped earlier this year. Live rap show performances followed that. An agency deal was inked with UTA this summer. And soon, Hannibal will hit the studio to prepare for his debut album, which he plans to drop on his 40th birthday next April.


Hannibal took me through his comedy-to-rap journey over the past two years on the show. Here’s what we covered in our interview:


[2:54 ] Introducing Eshu Tune the rapper

[4:17 ] What led Hannibal to the career pivot

[6:53 ] Goals of debut EP 

[10:11 ] Benefits of being independent artist

[14:34 ] Following Too $hort at a Bay Area show

[19:52 ] Getting a performing residency in LA

[21:29 ] Challenging himself with music

[26:52 ] Difference between Hannibal’s comedy and rap fanbase

[29:08 ] Will Hannibal still do comedy?

[31:36 ] Has the changing climate of comedy impacted Hannibal?

[34:01 ] Previous comedians that went into music

[37:50 ] Response from rap community to Hannibal’s career pivot

[38:52 ] Eshu Tune’s next album drop


Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS


Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co


Guests: Hannibal Buress, @hannibalburess

 

 

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TRANSCRIPTION


[00:00:00 ] Hannibal Buress: I got some stuff, I got 'em locked and loaded, just, you know, got to go get 'em out. That's one thing too, is since I am independent, I don't feel, I just kind of do it when it feels right, when it genuinely feels right to do. It's no pressure. It's just like, okay, do I truly want to do this? Ain't no exec, hey, you got to do, there's nobody doing that, so I have to make that decision, which is a gift. I wouldn't say it's a curse, but it forces that accountability.

[00:00:35 ] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to The Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level. 

[00:00 :] Dan Runcie: Today's guest is Hannibal Buress. You likely know his name from his comedy and his acting, but this episode is all about his music. Hannibal Buress has released an eight-track EP under the name Eshu Tune, and that is his artist that is creating hip-hop music. And we talked all about why he chose to start this new chapter in his career, why music was important to him, and how he sees things moving forward. Hannibal had had a career of dabbling in music every now and then. He actually had beaten Open Mike Eagle in a rap battle a couple of years back. And it's something that he had tapped into, but it really wasn't until the pandemic, and a lot of us had the time to really think and tap into what was most important to us. And he was able to take this on not only as a new challenge for his career, but as a new opportunity to do something that he always wanted to do, but knowing that he could both continue to leverage the platform that he has as a comedian and as an actor, both from a financial perspective, but also from an exposure perspective. We also talked about his upcoming residency, how he's been positioning himself to get booked on shows and other things, and how important this is for him right now. So it was great to tap in. This was also the first episode recorded in Trapital's new home. I have a new office and studio here, and it's been great to get everything set up, and it's been great to record these in person, too, because, listen, it's great to do things remotely. A lot of them have been that way, but it's just a different chemistry that you get when you can do them in person. So it was great that Hannibal and I could connect while he was in town. Here's our conversation. Hope you enjoy it. All right. Today we got the one and only Hannibal Buress.

[00:02:41 ] Hannibal Buress: What's up, man? 

[00:02:41 ] Dan Runcie: Mr. Eshu Tune now, though. 

[00:02:43 ] Hannibal Buress: Eshu Tune, yeah, yeah. 

[00:02:44 ] Dan Runcie: Last we talked, it was all about comedy. We're getting ready for a special that you had Miami Nights, but now we're about to talk about your music career, man. 

[00:02:52 ] Hannibal Buress: Yeah, for sure, man. 

[00:02:53 ] Dan Runcie: So who is Eshu Tune? 

[00:02:54 ] Hannibal Buress: Eshu Tune is my musical alter ego. Eshu is from Yoruban mythology, Nigerian mythology, the trickster God. I was looking for a stage name there, so I just looked up African mythology and I just connected with that description. It kind of felt like me and some of the things I've done and, yeah, it just felt right. It really was a big help to kind of separate the worlds a little bit just 'cause now I look at, you know, Eshu as, okay, we can build them together 'cause now, I can if I want to do a little bit of comedy on this shows, it's like, Hey, yeah, they'll both be there.

[00:03:34 ] Dan Runcie: Right, right, right. 

[00:03:35 ] Hannibal Buress: I changed shirts. You know, I can think of you like, you know, Hannibal's t-shirts. Eshu's in a red shirt or something, you know? So it's been fun. And so I'm excited for the growth, and performing has been really exciting, and a lot of dope stuff coming up.

[00:03:53 ] Dan Runcie: So talk to me through the journey a bit because I know this is something that you spent a lot of time on in the pandemic. And last time we talked about it, you were getting ready to release Miami Nights, and this was around the same time that you had started working on music. So what was your mindset at that time? You got this big comedy special coming out, but you also are thinking about this new career opportunity.

[00:04:17 ] Hannibal Buress: My mindset? 2020, putting out the special during that time was hella weird just because it wasn't the usual motions and movements that you have with putting out a special, doing events, doing press in person. You know, I did The Daily Show, but it was on Skype. And it just felt weird doing television from my place 'cause you still get wired kind of, but then you're just wired at the crib. It's like, man, oh, I'm not getting in the car to go somewhere else, you just there like, oh.

[00:04:54 ] Dan Runcie: Right, right. 

[00:04:55 ] Hannibal Buress: I remember doing, I did First Take with Stephen A. Smith. Something for Last Dance, just talking about Last Dance. And I remember just, I kept messing with them changing jackets. 

[00:05:08 ] Dan Runcie: Oh, I remember that.

[00:05:13 ] Hannibal Buress: Molly was giving me sass. Oh, thanks for being so professional. I'm trying to, like, you want me to make a great statement about Last Dance? Look, oh, yeah, Last Dance. What's up with that? I'm trying to have some fun, make some real memories here. Nobody will care about my take on... 

[00:05:30 ] Dan Runcie: It's a documentary, right? It's not like it's an event that happened last night. 

[00:05:35 ] Hannibal Buress: Yeah. If I make a great point about the '96 Bulls, '98 Bulls in 10 years, but people don't care if I'm was chaotic as hell. I need to put that clip back up actually. That was really fun. I was sweating and shit. Yeah, it was a good time. But, yeah, putting out the special then, it was weird, man. And I wanted the music, I started really diving in in November of '20 when I was out in Hawaii. I kind of, it was nice to be able to lock in, focus. I've always wanted to do it and would finally find the time. And the time was always there, honestly, but I wasn't as good as maneuvering time as I am now. 'Cause looking back, I could have been on the road after gigs, instead of going to the club, could have been booking studio time, that type of thing, or, you know, I'm glad it happened when it happened. 

[00:06:31 ] Dan Runcie: Yeah, that makes sense. I think, too, I've looked a lot about how you chose to roll this out, right? It's not like you just did one single, let me drop in and see what happens. You had an eight-track

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Inside Hannibal Buress’ Pivot From Comedy To Rap

Inside Hannibal Buress’ Pivot From Comedy To Rap

Dan Runcie