Hailing from St. Louis, MO, EJ Carter (b. Earnest Carter Jr.) is a multifaceted recording artist, best known for honing his skills across the board as a rapper, singer, producer, engineer, videographer and photographer, with the versatile nature of his artistry and business acumen elevating him as the de facto leader of the Red$hirt Freshmen crew. Born to musical parents, EJ grew up with the sounds of his family's oldies and soul vinyl records constantly playing in the house, inspiring him to explore his own talents at the age of five by singing lead soprano in the children's choir at his church.
With a passion and understanding of music ingrained in him at an early age, his hunger to develop his craft led him to skipping recess to practice while at school, a hunger that was further heightened when he was first introduced to hip-hop as a pre-teen. After growing up being enamored with his mother's involvement in her family band and his father's knack for being a multi-instrumentalist, Carter's upbringing paved a necessary foundation for him to study a wide range of genres and find his own sound along the way. Intrigued by the artistry of Michael Jackson, Nelly, Project Pat, JAY-Z, 50 Cent, KISS, Coo Coo Cal, Bone Thugs and more, EJ went on to put his aspirations of being a professional basketball player to the side (although the sport is still an integral part of his life) to go all in with his music, all while balancing furthering his college education as an All-American basketball player. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Mass Media and Public Relations from Baker University, during which he released his debut studio album Notorious, he went on to complete his Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Even as he signed with an agent to play professionally overseas, Carter knew the music was what he truly wanted, and the groundswell behind Notorious caused him to turn down numerous contracts to focus on expanding his fan base.
As exemplified by his work both inside and outside of the studio, EJ is passionate about inspiring others, especially the youth, and leading by example. While returning the focus back on developing his music as a lucrative career, after finding early success with a handful of mixtapes, EJ went on to found his own independent label, R$F Voice, drawing the name from his collective Red$hirt Freshmen. The label, which speaks to talent being forcibly benched until it was their time to shine, caters to artists who, like, EJ, have put in their 10,000 hours before earning the opportunity to level up.
In 2015, Carter released his “Notorious” mixtape, spawning the singles “On God” and “True,” causing a small buzz around the city of St. Louis. After a low-profile and unheralded release, the mixtape began to gain traction in the winter of 2016, eventually reaching over 2 million streams across all platforms.
In 2016, Carter released the single “Can I Juug?,” starting a viral “Can I Juug Challenge” that inspired children to post videos imitating the unorthodox dance he performed in the accompanying music video. 2017 saw Carter appear on several projects released by his labelmates, including Miss Alley Cat’s “Soul Medicine” and Simply Chris’s “Liquid Courage.”
In the Spring of 2018, Carter released his sophomore album “5800”, which pays homage to the block of Terry Ave where his entire family grew up in his late grandmother's house. His grandmother, who made her transition at the age of 89 in 2016, made EJ promise to tell their family's story through his music, something that he made his life's purpose with a newfound urgency. As a wordsmith, EJ's past releases have shown a more guarded approach lyrically, allowing 5800 to double as a re-introduction on a more intimate level. “5800” was released to critical acclaim, acquiring a 3.9 out of 5 rating from HipHopDX and spawning Carter’s first regional hit single “Propane.”
In the Fall of 2018, legendary Texas hip hop artist Lil’ Flip discovered Carter via the internet and connected with him, bringing Carter out to his hometown of Houston to be exposed to a larger market of fans. In Spring of 2019, Carter and Flip released the joint album “H Town to Pi Town” to critical acclaim, receiving a favorable 4.0 out of 5 rating on HipHopDX. The lead single was “Propane Remix,” a remixed version of Carter’s original “Propane” single with an added Flip verse.
His nickname "The Pi God" is derived from the 314 area code of his hometown, speaking to where his rough-around-the-edges lyrical approach comes from. Visual by nature, EJ describes his creative process as being driven from his dreams as much as from real life, giving him the ability to bring a soundtrack to life. By capturing moments and telling his story, EJ Carter's authenticity is proving to be his strongest asset as a creative and recording artist alike.