Hemlock Ernst is the rap name of Samuel T. Herring[2] (born April 13, 1984),[3] an American performer from Baltimore, Maryland, better known for being the frontman of synth-pop band Future Islands.[4]


Early life

Born in the Carteret County, North Carolina, Herring grew up in Newport[5] and Morehead City.[4] He began rapping at age 14 at freestyle battles and cyphers.[6]


In 2003, while attending the East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina, Herring and other colleagues would start the performance art band Art Lord & the Self Portraits which would last until late 2005. In early 2006, some of its former members would start Future Islands, and the band would relocate to Baltimore, MD, in 2008.[7] In 2013,[8] he took a break from his band’s touring in order to spend more time on his solo rap project, writing more, and doing more shows.[7]

Parallel to Future Islands, Herring continued rapping either solo, under the moniker Hemlock Ernst, or with his brother as Flesh Epic.[9] Hemlock was his original writing name on an on-line music board when he was in the 9th grade, from a poem he wrote about Socrates taking the hemlock poison. Ernst comes from his character in Art Lord & The Self Portraits who was named Locke Ernst-Frost: a reference to John Locke the religious poet, Max Ernst, the artist and Robert Frost, the American poet.[10]

Trouble Knows Me

In 2015, Hemlock Ernst teamed up with producer Madlib for a new rap project called Trouble Knows Me.[11][12] Produced by Madlib,[13] the self-titled EP would be released on September 1 by Madlib Invazion. It was pre-sold on July 17, during its first presentation at The Mid club in Chicago,[14] when the identity of the project’s emcee was finally revealed.

On March 24th 2016, British musician Four Tet sat in for Benji B on BBC radio 1 and played an unreleased track by Trouble Knows Me: "Rings in the Coffe".[15]

Guest appearances

In 2010, he made a guest appearance on the track “Gotta Go”, included on a mixtape by Baltimore hip-hop duo Rapdragons.[16][17]

In 2015, he appeared in other collaborative hip-hop releases, on tracks by Milo[18] and Scallops Hotel,[19] 83cutlass,[20] Curse ov Dialect,[21] Busdriver,[22] and Cavanaugh (Open Mike Eagle & Serengeti).[23]

In March 2016, he appeared on the track "Protectors of the Heat" on Open Mike Eagle & Paul White’s album “Hella Personal Film Festival”[24][25] and on "This Is Where I Leave You", an exclusive track to the single Chekhov's Gun, off the album Fuck That Pretty Boy Shit by Words Hurt (rapper Alaska & producer Lang Vo).[26][27] This track also includes vocals by Marilyn Carino.[26]
In April, another guest appearance was released, "Something Out There" on the album Pinball Museum by Boy Legs, a hip-hop duo from North Carolina.[28]
In early May, Watercolor Wareworlf released the album AM Nights: 92.3 The Beast featuring Hemlock Ernst on the track "WWhat u WWaitin 4"[29] on May 19th, Charge It To The Game released "Bite Me" - also featuring Hemlock Ernst - as first single of the EP Urban Hall Of Fame[30][31] and on July 4th, JPEGMAFIA released "Llama Mind" as the second single of the EP The 2nd Amendment.

As Samuel T. Herring, in 2015 he added vocals to the track “Play it Cool” (featuring rapper Earl Sweatshirt), on Gangrene’s album Welcome to Los Santos[32] and collaborated with BadBadNotGood on the 2016 track "Time Moves Slow", off their album IV. A collaboration with Clams Casino has been announced on the track "Ghost in a Kiss" off the 32 Levels album due to be released on July 15, 2016.[33]



  • Trouble Knows Me (as Trouble Knows Me and with Madlib) (September 1, 2015)[11]

Guest appearances