Home / News / Eshu Tune (Hannibal Buress) is Getting Stronger, Releases New Single "I Lift Weights"

Eshu Tune (Hannibal Buress) is Getting Stronger, Releases New Single "I Lift Weights"

Jun 19, 2023Jun 19, 2023

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by Jacob Uitti June 5, 2023, 10:00 am

Hannibal Buress has a role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The Chicago-born actor and comedian has achieved the nearly unthinkable: a successful and respected career in Hollywood. He can tour around the globe, and hook onto any franchise. He's made his career and he's good at what he does. So, why then, one might wonder, would Buress ever venture into some other new project? Why risk rocking the boat? Well, because he wants to rock the crowd. That's right, for the past year-plus Buress has been putting his nose to the grindstone, sharpening his chops in another art form: music.

Under the moniker Eshu Tune, he's been producing beats, writing rhymes, and weaving them both into his live shows. These days, he says, he's done "way more" music performances than comedy. Like a bodybuilder, Buress has been strengthening new muscles. Perhaps then, it's no coincidence that his newest song is titled "I Lift Weights," and it's out today (June 5).

"I’m not jumping into heart surgery, you know what I’m saying?" says Buress, downplaying his supplemental career. "But yeah it's just something I always wanted to do. I got a history and a track record of making stuff happen. So as far as creativity and ideas go, I’m confident in my ability to figure it out with time."

Buress’ musical career is forged in the flames from moment to moment. He performs with a four-piece live band (drums, keys, bass, and guitar) of "legit cats" and he's learning how to engage with and even orchestrate the group. He's calibrating his abilities to what the crowd responds to. He's growing. He's taking vocal lessons, and dabbling with musical instruments. It's the real deal.

"I have real evidence," Buress tells American Songwriter. "I can feel myself getting better. I can see the shows getting better."

Right now, he's focused on the arc of improvement. The songs have to be good, there's no negotiating that. It's the foundation. Buress isn't interested in cutting corners. He's learning how to "chip away" at a song, and how and when to add new parts. The result is something of an education, he's realizing new benefits born from the new additions. When he performs comedy in the first half of the show, he begins the relationship with the crowd. Then when he comes out to play music later, there is a deeper connection. He's looser, too. The banter is better. Performing has also focused him on stage more. Since he's not resting on his already-established name, he has to double down and make sure every verse, movement, and the like are crisp, clean, and full of energy.

"I told myself, just focus on making the next line and the next movement dope," Buress says. "That made the show way better. Make this next moment dope. Have great energy here."

For his new song, "I Lift Weights," Buress helped with some of the production. He even sang baritone with the gospel choir that appears about three-fourths of the way into the track. At the same time, Buress isn't looking to be the sole source of his beats. He's quite open to receiving ideas and options. To spark the new track, Buress had a producer capture a vocal clip of Joe Haden saying, in a full throat growl, "I LIFT WEIGHTS." The soundbite tickled Buress and he used it for the refrain for the track. The two started to produce around the clip and the new single was born.

"It's hittin’," Buress says.

For Buress, who grew up in Chicago, there is a great lineage of musicians and, even more recently, of hip-hop artists, from Common to Jennifer Hudson. While the genre is facing its 50th birthday in 2023 (August 11), Buress, who has worked with big names like Paul Wall to date, is glad to see its big names age gracefully. But as one of its new young names, Buress is excited to look ahead. He has a new record slated for "later this year" and what might come from the cross-pollination of music and comedy is anyone's guess. Either way, Buress, who is also set to host the A2iM Libera Awards on June 15, will be ready for more of what's ahead, following his instincts. Grateful for the opportunity.

"I love finding a new song that is just amazing," Buress says. "Just the way music can change a piece of film or connect with folks and create core memories. How it can just change a room."

Photo by Brock Fetch / The Oriel

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