Rhyme Asylum full bio on HHUG
HHUG: How did Rhyme Asylum emerged as a hip hop group?
RA: Skirmish and Possessed started the group around 2002 and met Psiklone at the Friday night Deal Real Records open mic. There were some epic sessions there and a lot of cyphers got torn! From there we started making music together and the rest is history…
HHUG: How would you describe RA's style and appeal in the hip hop community?
RA: We are heavily focused around advanced lyricism and classic golden age sounding hip-hop. We’re trying to push the boundaries of lyricism and challenge the stereotypes of rap culture. We have a raw edge to our sound and try to create diverse sounding albums populated with more fantastical hardcore hip-hop, but also a variety of conscious tracks about the way we feel about life and the world. We also like to tackle concepts and keep everything as interesting as possible. Our appeal we think has stemmed mainly from the lyricism and the overall sound that we have spent a long time molding and perfecting.
HHUG: Being for the UK, what is your critical opinion on the hip hop scene there?
RA: The scene over here is not exactly popping off! There are very few hip-hop nights in comparison to back in the day… It’s a real shame as genuine talent exists in the UK but without the feeling of a scene anymore, everything seems to have just been lost in a cloud of web pages. We hope to push the scene back to something resembling its former strength… Although that’s going to take a lot of time and we can’t do it alone.
HHUG: In 2006, Possessed and Reain (aka Whashisface) reached the finals of the JumpOff: World Rap Championships in Las Vegas battling for $10,000. How was that experience for Possessed and what impact did it had for RA as a collective?
RA: Possessed enjoyed the opportunity and it generated a nice buzz for us as group. The battling definitely helped with promotion. Popularity being a snow ball effect, every bit counts to help us get where we are today and will be in the future.
HHUG: State Of Lunacy debuted in 2008. Can you briefly explain the concept and influence of that project?
RA: Being our first album we wanted to exhibit the lyricism that we had been working on during the years leading up to the release. We also wanted to establish ourselves in the scene as music artists and not just rappers - although we were still learning (just as we are today). There is a loose running ‘asylum’ theme throughout the release, although that is also true of the new album.
HHUG: State Of Lunacy featured underground mainstays, Diabolic, Copywrite, and Reain. How was working with each one in their respective features?
RA: It was cool – it’s nice to work with people who have a mutual respect and understanding of lyricism. We’ve known Reain for years and always rolled together so that was very organic.
HHUG: Your second album, Solitary Confinement, released on April 28, 2010. How has the reception of its release been so far?
RA: It’s been very flattering. It seems people have really warmed to it which naturally we’re very happy about. It’s been doing well and exceeded our expectations.
HHUG: Solitary Confinement was also released through Rhyme Asylum Records. Can you tell us a bit about your record label?
RA: Well it’s simply born out of necessity. Contrary to what some people think we haven’t had many label offers and were pretty much forced to self-release the project. This is why we called it ‘Solitary Confinement’ as it’s a metaphor for us (like many other underground hip-hop groups) doing everything ourselves. It’s hard work, and in an ideal world we would prefer just to make the music – hopefully that will change in the future.
HHUG: Underground giants, Ill Bill and Crooked I, were featured on Solitary Confinement. What led up to feature American artists, as oppose to British artists?
RA: We don’t really calculate what features we’re going to have in that way - we just do what works naturally and fits best with the music that we’re making.
HHUG: The production showcased in Solitary Confinement is credited to an array of respected underground and up and coming producers. Can you explain the production appeal of the album?
RA: We’re big fans of real, classic, ‘boom bap’ hip-hop. The mid-nineties was undoubtedly the golden age, and we struggle to see the appeal in tinny sounding snares and awful auto-tune. We try not to make too many rules about it, because at the end of the day we just do what sounds the best and feels right. Ultimately we are concerned with making hip-hop that we like and we wouldn’t change that for anything.
HHUG: What future plans and projects can fans anticipate from you?
RA: It’s hard to say what’s on the horizon as we’ve only just released the second album. But stay tuned and you won’t be disappointed.
HHUG: Who are your top 5 favorite artists and why?
RA: In terms of hip-hop? DJ Premier, old Canibus, old Eminem, Method Man, Big L… They have probably been the most influential along with a whole host of others e.g. Big Pun right through to Pete Rock - the list is endless though! We respect real lyricism over classic sounding hip-hop, and are disappointed at how rare this combination is.
HHUG: What or who influences RA the most in creating music?
RA: Mainly the above artists and many others including Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z, Redman, Pharoahe Monch, Saigon, Sticky Fingaz…. Every great artist is a product of their influences plus a powerful original spin and we believe are no different.
HHUG: Any closing comments/statements you would like to make?
RA: Thank you for your time… Log onto www.rhymeasylum.com and check us out on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and all over the web. We appreciate the support we’ve received so far and much love to everyone all over the world. We’d love to tour as many places across the globe as we can so promoters and labels get in touch. Peace to everyone making real hip-hop – One Love!