Photo by Justin Hoch
Photo by Justin Hoch

Soce, The Elemental Wizard produces and performs hip hop music, writes and films comedy videos, interviews comedians, reviews video games and co-hosts a monthly math bee. His music is a blend of live violin, guitar, bass and singing, mixed in with thought-provoking rhymes, catchy melodies and a megawatt smile. On his tax forms, he is known as Andrew Singer.

1. How did get started being a Jewish Gay Rapper? Does it run in the family?
I’m the only gay rapper in my family. I was the youngest child, so I always had to be different and make my mark. I was also the only one who played trombone in the Jr High School band (my siblings and I generally stuck with stringed instruments and choral music). I’ve always been a fan of hip hop since grammar school, and once I started doing it seriously in NYC, I had to rap about being gay during some of my songs, since hip hop is all about keeping it real, and that’s a big part of who I am.

2. By day, you work in IT on Wall Street. Got any good stock tips?
Now is a great time to buy, while all of the stocks are so low. Just make sure you don’t purchase any sinking ships.

3. How do you finance the recording of your latest CD, Master of Fine Arts? credit cards? savings? barter?
I have been saving up from my day job salary, and from sales of previous CDs and live show income. I’m spending a lot of money pressing this new CD because I decided to go all out and film two music videos–one for I Am (So Gay) and the other for They Call Me–and also include an 8-page full-color booklet plus a bonus DVD of some of my music and comedy videos. I think it’s worth it though because music is my true love, and I want to give my fans a high quality product.

4. As a gay comic rapper, have you found many opportunities for paying gigs?
I get the most money from college and corporate gigs. I will travel across the world to perform for my fans. Last year, one of my MySpace friends hired me to fly out to the Midwest to rap at his book release party. It was great to get to meet him and his wife and all their friends and family. I had a blast.

5. You do comedy videos as well as music. Where do find inexpensive audio and camera equipment?
I purchase my music equipment from Guitar Center or the Mac Store. I get my video cameras from J&R Electronics, and I get my flood lighting from B&H photo. The longer I wait to get new equipment, the prices get lower and the quality gets better. I can now buy an High-Def handicam with an 80 GB built-in hard drive for the same price that I bought a regular-quality handicam with a 40 GB built-in hard drive two years ago.

6. You live in the East Village, a neighborhood that gets more gentrified every year. What would you do if couldn’t live there any more?
I really love living in East Village because there are so many cool restaurants and bars around, plus a lot of the shows I perform at and enjoy attending are here or nearby. I would be pretty sad if I had to leave, although actually I’m looking to purchase a place in Williamsburg or other neighborhoods in Manhattan. I’m hoping to use this terrible economy to my advantage to get a semi-decent deal on real estate for once.

7. When you were a kid, did you get an allowance? What would you buy?
We got a base allowance with bonuses if we were able to start practicing violin early enough in the morning before school. I generally spent it on candy or else renting video games.

8. What is the one personal item that you always splurge on?
Now I buy video games instead of renting them. It’s a complete waste of time, but I’m a total addict. Plus I then often review them for WayTooHip Radio once I finish them. I can only hope that some day, publishers will send me advance promo copies.

9. What is one thing that you feel is always overpriced?
Monthly Metrocards are getting crazy expensive these days.. Luckily I pay for most of them with pre-tax money, so that helps me save a bit. Also, glasses are expensive too, but again, I have pre-tax money set aside for those as well. I’m lucky that my job sets that up for me.

10. If money can’t buy happiness, what can it it buy?
Money can buy things that make you feel good, like a tasty sandwich or some fresh, clean undershirts. It can bring you closer to your friends and loved ones by paying to send them a real, handwritten letter or even hook up a phone or internet connection. There’s no point in wasting it on expensive baubles, but it’s great to spend it on new equipment for your art or to get yourself some nice little treats.

More about Soce, The Elemental Wizard
Soce, the elemental wizard is the Jewish, Gay, White MC. A computer programmer on Wall Street by day.. Level 27 Hip Hop Spellcaster by night! He has been described as the male Lil Kim and the white Eminem. soce’s been on MTV, VH1, Logo, HERE and in The Source, URB, Out magazine and numerous German, Austrian and Swiss magazines, as well as being interviewed live on WNYC 93.9 FM and Sirius Satellite Radio, on OutQ 106, Raw Dog Comedy 104 and Shade 45 (where he recently won their first ever gay hip hop battle). The wizard has been filmed in three documentaries on gay rappers.

Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.