Lymphoma Vs. Lyrics: How Rapper E-REK Fought His Battle With Cancer

[A]ndrew Pineda or E-REK as fans know him is releasing his newest EP titled Side Effects, a concept album that contains seven songs.
“Andrew found a unique and moving muse for the album. While in chemotherapy for lymphoma, he found himself with the strength to fulfill his longest dream; make a record that you would find in a record store,” said Ryan Wolfe, the Art Director for the album.
Andrew is in the Air Force and graduated from the Air Force Academy. Andrew moved from Mississippi, where he was first stationed. He was at the base on the Central Coast of California for only a couple weeks, but then something frightening happened.
One evening while Andrew and his wife were unpacking, parts of his body began to swell, which had never before experienced. His neck and chest were bloated far past anything that would be normal. He called his mother, then went to the hospital.

Rapper E-REK is a member of the U.S Armed Services. But he’s also fighting a bigger battle – cancer – lymphoma, to be exact.

[A]fter going through the slew of tests, Andrew was diagnosed with Lymphoma on August 27th, 2014. Thankfully they found the disease during the first stage, and he began chemotherapy almost immediately.
While drugged up on Vicodin, E-REK began to write. And the music was much different from the music he had written in the past.
Andrew said he was influenced by T.S. Elliot while going through the treatment and simultaneously writing this album. In one of T.S.’s poems “The Wasteland,” he writes, “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
“I felt like my bones were being reduced to dust, like little piles of calcium or something,” E-REK said. “Those are the kind of lines that stick in your head (at least mine) and come haunt you at just the right time.”
Andrew took to the internet. He was unfamiliar with the local music recording scene in the area, so he simply Googled “recording studio.” He found Playback Recording Studio in Santa Barbara. The studio is about an hour from where he is stationed, so he made a call and took a drive.
Over the next few weeks, they went to work recording the album.
It came together fast. The studio loved working with Andrew. His lyrics are hauntingly honest, and he gives a smooth delivery that makes the poetry easy to digest.
“I’ve been thinking about this notion of entropy – everything eventually moves towards disorder,” E-REK said.In the song “The Wasteland,” he raps “I pray to be a man again/but for now, I just feel like a mannequin.”
Andrew felt the weight of his disease. However, under that weight was an inspiration. And for that we are lucky. Side Effects is a “through the looking glass” experience for the listener. Through the music and lyrics, we can ride along Andrew’s emotional and physical roller coaster. It is a powerful experience for the listener.
There is no question that we have all been touched by cancer, but this time it is different.
It is through music, it is through accomplishment in the face of the ultimate adversary, and ultimately personal discovery!