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POPULAR GUY: MICHAEL EPPS

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Jul 12, 2020

Michael Epps is the teen that is quickly taking over from the small screen to the recording booth!

Reprising his role as fan favorite Jake Taylor in Season 3 of Showtime’s award-winning series “The Chi”, the Chicago native is able to bring his own experiences to his role. First premiering in 2018, the show, created by Lena Waithe, is a coming-of-age series following a group of teens through their adolescence on the South Side of Chicago who become linked by coincidence, but bonded by the need for connection and redemption. The importance of the show lies in the positive outtake of show beyond the violent stereotypes in a way that spotlights its community and culture.

Pursuing acting in the path of his mother, his first audition landed him an extra role on the FOX his Empire. On the music front, Michael goes by the moniker MIKEY and released his debut single “Drip” in 2019. He is set to release an official music video for the feel-good hip-hop infused track later this year.

 

1. Tell us about your character Jake on ”The Chi”!

Jake is an average kid in Chicago who struggles to have the right guidance in his life. He doesn’t have his parents in his life, it’s just him and his brother, and his brother isn’t doing a great job of teaching Jake the ways of life. He’s teaching him the wrong way. Jake doesn’t have a good father figure to look up to.

 

2. Who have you connected the most with on set?

I would probably say Barton [Fitzpatrick] because he and I are in lots of scenes together. I do feel like I’m connecting more with Alex [Hibbert] and Shamon [Brown Jr.] now too.

 

3. You were also raised in Chicago. What do you think the show gets right / wrong compared to your experiences growing up?

I feel like the show gets everything right. I feel like they touch on the on the bad, negative things about Chicago, but they also talk more so on the positive, because everyone already thinks that Chicago is such a bad and violent place. I think that the show changes people’s minds with the events that occur in the show. I feel that they do it perfectly.

 

4. Why is it important to have stories like this shown on TV and what message do you hope viewers take away from the show? 

I feel like it’s important to have things like this on TV so people can see what’s going on in other cities, like Chicago. If people would ever come to Chicago, by watching the show they can see what areas to visit, like The Bean or something downtown, and which to be cautious of.

I really hope they take away the message that Chicago is not a violent place. I really hope they take that away.

 

5. Do you have any funny or memorable on-set stories you’d like to share? 

Every moment is funny! I would probably say the best moment was the block party scene in Season 1 because everybody was out there. We were out there until late at night and it was so fun! The weather was great and almost every character from the show was there. That was definitely a memorable moment. It was just great.

 

6. Aside from acting, you also released your debut single last year ‘Drip’! As an artist, how do you know when your music is “ready”?

You can feel it. If you can’t feel it the people around you can feel it. It’s all about confidence.

 

7. Who’s sound do you look up to?

Lil Baby. I like what he talks about in his raps. He speaks about what he’s been through. It’s just all real.

 

8. In the future, who are you hoping to tour with?

Of course, Lil Baby. Also, Lil Durk, Polo G, and Moneybagg Yo. These are the artists I listen to every single day.

 

9. How have you been keeping yourself busy during our days of quarantine?

I’ve been working out a lot, gaming with my friends, and spending some quality time with my mom! We go check in on my grandma every once in a while! I’ve been pretty productive too.

 

10. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

It would be something from Terrence Howard. When I was a background actor or extra in Empire, I asked him, “how do I get a role like you on a show like this?” and he said, “keep doing what you’re doing now, and it’ll come.” Sure enough I did that, and now I’m a series regular on The Chi!

 

11. Shuffle your music. What are the first five songs that come up?

Polo G – 21

Lil Durk – Internet Sensation

Lil Baby – We Paid

Lil Baby – How

Moneybagg Yo – Nonchalent

 

12. What does the word “Popular” mean to you? 

Popular means that you have notoriety!

 

13. Tell us about any future projects you’ve got in the works!

I have a few projects in the works that I can’t mention just yet, but stay tuned!

 

Keep up with Michael on Instagram to see all of his upcoming projects and catch new episodes of ‘The Chi” TONIGHT and every Sunday on Showtime 6pm / EST.