Richard Williams, better known by his stage name Prince Ea, is an American spoken word artist, poet, rapper and filmmaker. After graduating from the University of Missouri–St. Louis with a degree in Anthropology, he initially pursued a career as a hip hop artist. Inspired by artists like Immortal Technique and Canibus, he started and popularized the "Make S.M.A.R.T Cool" movement to promote values like intelligence, free thought, unity, and creativity in hip hop music and culture.
In 2014, Prince Ea shifted his focus from music to creating motivational and inspirational spoken word films and content. His YouTube videos have received over half a billion views, and cover a wide range of topics such as environmentalism, race, work–life balance and spirituality. He credits his shift in perspective to the inspiration of ancient wisdom texts such as the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita.
Prince Ea, born as Richard Williams on September 16, 1988 in St. Louis, Missouri, is the youngest of three children, and has resided there his whole life. He started working under the stage name "Prince Ea" when he graduated magna cum laude in Anthropology from the University of Missouri–St. Louis. "Prince Ea" is derived from Sumerian mythology meaning "The Prince of the Earth".
In 2011, Prince Ea was rapping for his own entertainment and developed a few videos. These often ended up on WorldStarHipHop, and he quickly gained attention from one of his inspirations, Black Thought. Thought contacted Prince Ea saying that he enjoyed the video and would like to collaborate. In late 2008, Prince Ea released the mixtape "The Adolescence" on the internet for free download. A few days after the release, he recorded an amateur video of himself rapping and entered it into a Vibe magazine contest dubbed "VIBE Verses". Subsequently, Ea was declared the VIBE Verses grand champion and was awarded $5000 in music recording equipment along with a full page article in Vibe magazine, which held a total value of $50,000. In 2009, he won a Funk Volume competition, stemming from success on YouTube, which allowed him to become the first hip-hop artist to have a feature in Discover magazine. Ea has also been awarded the grand prize of a competition run by Trojan condoms entitled "Magnum's Live Large Project II" hosted by rapper Ludacris in which he was flown out to Miami to perform with the platinum recording artist. In 2011 he won the Riverfront Times "Best hip-hop artist in St. Louis".
In February 2011, Prince Ea independently released The Compilation Mixtape, a free digital compilation mixtape with selections from DJ Techne.
In October 2016, Prince Ea was accused of presenting poorly-researched and misinformed self-help videos to his YouTube audience and infringing Federal Trade Commission guidance by endorsing products with which he had undisclosed financial relationships.
The "Make 'SMART' Cool" movement
In 2009, Prince Ea, upset at the present state of the music industry, decided to form a movement named "Make 'SMART' Cool". The "Make 'SMART' Cool" movement (SMART is an acronym for "Sophisticating Minds And Revolutionizing Thought") attempts to "promote intelligence to everyone, everywhere and integrate it with hip-hop. To create and nurture, without discrimination or preference, a community of free-thinking individuals under the singular purpose of promoting the ideals of education, intelligence, unity and creativity throughout the world at large."
A successful underground clothing line for the movement, which includes t-shirts and sweaters, was released and has gained support from artists such as newly signed So So Def producer Mike Kalombo.
Artists supporting the movement include Traphik, Black Thought, Immortal Technique, Sha Stimuli, August Rigo.
- Official mixtapes
- 2008: The Adolescence
- 2010: The Mic in the Shoebox
- 2011: The Compilation
- 2014: The Rejects
- Official singles
- 2010: "The Brain"
- 2010: "The Game" (featuring Sha Stimuli)
- 2011: "Different Men"
- 2012: "Smokin' Weed with the President"
- 2012: "Letter 2 the President"
- 2012: "Jesus Shuttlesworth"
- 2013: "All Day"
- 2016: "I Just Sued the School System"
- Vibe's Vibe Verses Contest (won).
- Funk Volume's "Don't F**k Up Our Beats" Contest (won).
- Discover magazine feature
- Magnum Trojan Live Large Contest (won).
- Riverfront Times contest - Best Hip Hop artist.
- Juicy J underground search contest (won).
- Jae Millz Contest (won).