In an in-depth inter­view, UK emcee Rhyme Assas­sin talks about his upcom­ing single release “Rhyme Apostles.” The record, set to drop every­where on April 3rd, 2023 is a Hip Hop head ear pleas­er and fea­tures legendary power­houses includ­ing Crooked I, Craig G, Reks, Ruste Juxx, K Solo, Chino XL, Keith Mur­ray, Chino XL, Canibus, AFRO, and Ant­live Boom­bap with an intro by Jadakiss and Deep Voice on pro­duc­tion. The record tran­scends listen­ers to an era when the essence and ele­ments of Hip Hop were cel­eb­rated, without sound­ing dated. Check out the inter­view to get the inside scoop on the thought pro­cess of the single to cre­ation, to com­ple­tion, and more.

MJ: Before we jump into your upcom­ing release of “Rhyme Apostles” let every­one know who you are and where you’re from.

Rhyme Assas­sin: My name is Tichaona Bri­an Mon­era. I was born and raised in Zim­b­ab­we. I migrated to the United King­dom to explore oppor­tun­it­ies for fur­ther edu­ca­tion and per­son­al devel­op­ment. An import­ant part of that was pur­su­ing a career in music. This is some­thing that I have already been doing in Zim­b­ab­we where I gained pop­ular­ity with hip-hop in the early 90s. Free­styl­ing with my hom­ies after school, I was able to hone my craft to become a recog­niz­able voice on the Zim­b­ab­we music scene.  These were form­at­ive moments in my music career. These encoun­ters earned me the name Rhyme Assas­sin which has become my offi­cial MCEE name. The name Rhyme Assas­sin res­on­ates with the skill­ful poet­ic lyr­ic­al expres­sion of the music and the excel­lence of exe­cu­tion of my craft.

MJ: As a Hip Hop artist from the UK, tell us about the Hip Hop scene over there.

Rhyme Assas­sin: Hip-hop has always had a firm grip on the UK music scene with a lot of drill dom­in­at­ing. Hip-hop artists like Stormzy have become house­hold names, gen­er­at­ing a huge fol­low­ing world­wide. My estim­a­tion is that the UK is on the brink of becom­ing a hip-hop power­house glob­ally. There are many upcom­ing hip-hop artists….

MJ: What led you to begin a career in rap and lead a life­style true to Hip Hop cul­ture?

Rhyme Assas­sin: The greatest influ­en­cers that kick­star­ted my rap career are the likes of all-time greats such as KRS ONE, Run DMC & Big Daddy Kane, BIG, and 2 PAC. I grew up listen­ing to their music on cas­settes and vinyl. Because of my exper­i­ences and encoun­ters with these hip-hop moguls, I embrace the hip-hop cul­ture and star­ted liv­ing out and express­ing this in my lyr­ic­al con­tent. My inspir­a­tion to write was primar­ily from Canibus and Krs One. I can even recall the first day I listened to Gang­starr — Moment of truth, Dead Prez — Let’s get free and DMX — It’s dark and hell is hot. Those were the early days when hip-hop was not play­ing much on Zim­b­ab­we radio. Our expos­ure to hip-hop was mainly from folks com­ing from over­seas and bring­ing cas­sette tapes back home. I would use my pock­et money to rent out hip-hop tapes for a couple of days or more so that I can just listen to the latest hip-hop beats.

MJ: Ok, let’s jump into your new single which will be avail­able for down­load and pur­chase on April 3rd, 2023. How were you able to link with all the power­houses and legends? Talk about the thought pro­cess of “Rhyme Apostles” to hand-pick­ing fea­tures, to the pro­duc­tion, and to the final can­vas.

Rhyme Assas­sin: The ini­tial idea was for Rhyme Apostles to have 4 artists. Later, draw­ing inspir­a­tion from the Bible, the thought of the 12 apostles of Jesus dawned on my mind and this became the womb that gave birth to Rhyme Assassin’s 12 apostles on the track. The new single is based on an idea that had been in for quite a while. My vis­ion was to bring togeth­er some of the greatest lyr­i­cists and recog­niz­able names in hip-hop. Being on the same record with the likes of Crooked I Canibus, Craig G, Keith Mur­ray and a host of oth­er renowned hip-hop legends is an incred­ible per­son­al tri­umph.

Achiev­ing this was monu­ment­al. The jour­ney was not a straight­for­ward one. It was long and chal­len­ging, but an enjoy­able one. The one thing that made it worth­while is the caliber of people that I was tar­get­ing. These were real hip-hop heads, with a genu­ine love for true hip-hop cul­ture. I was truly humbled by these guys’ accept­ance and will­ing­ness to embrace me and work with me to bring my vis­ion to fruition.

Every single one of them exhib­ited high levels of pro­fes­sion­al­ism with such amaz­ing humil­ity. Each demon­strated a love and a pas­sion to col­lab­or­ate with emcees with roots in Africa. The emcees that made it on the record I those that reached out to and they were mag­nan­im­ous enough to accept the invit­a­tion.

Shout out to those emcees who believed in me and were keen to be part of the pro­ject but could not make the fin­an­cial com­mit­ment in time and were unable to be fea­tured. There will always be scope to do col­lab­or­at­ive pro­jects with them in the near future. Anoth­er note­worthy artist who made an enorm­ous con­tri­bu­tion to this pro­ject is Deep Voice, a UK pro­du­cer who cre­ated the best used in the debut single. He cre­ated the beat some sev­en years ago along with oth­er beats that I sub­sequently used. This par­tic­u­lar beat was archived until now and it is just the right beat for the pro­ject. The bear will be mixed and mastered by yet anoth­er cre­at­ive, P2doah, a Zim­b­ab­wean-based pro­du­cer. We are also cur­rently work­ing on the video for the song.

MJ: What are you hop­ing audi­ences take away from the single?

Rhyme Assas­sin: The single greatest desired out­come for this pro­ject is a great­er real­iz­a­tion but both artists and music lov­ers of the incred­ible power of col­lab­or­at­ive music ven­tures across the industry. The single, Rhyme Apostles, is a clear and power­ful demon­stra­tion of the syn­ergy res­ult­ing from such col­lab­or­a­tion. My wish for this single is that it will be time­less in its appeal and not just for a sea­son.

MJ: It’s evid­ent with the single, you are on a mis­sion to con­serve the authen­ti­city of Hip Hop and push it to the fore­front of music. Can you elab­or­ate on that?

Rhyme Assas­sin: I am a firm believ­er in the need for the con­ser­va­tion of the truest essence of Hip hop cul­ture expressed through lyr­i­cism. The caliber of emcees on the track have mastered this art and is an inspir­a­tion to me as I climb to my place of sig­ni­fic­ance in the game.

My con­vic­tion is that hip-hop cul­ture has a power­ful poten­tial to bring about soci­et­al and cul­tur­al cohe­sion glob­ally. In that sense, the single has an apostol­ic assign­ment — to bring about a fresh crop of hip-hop artists whose focus is bey­ond their indi­vidu­al music­al domains to cham­pi­on a move­ment that will pro­duce a gen­er­a­tion of like-minded people. The tal­ents and skill sets of the par­ti­cip­at­ing emcees are as diverse as their fin­ger­prints are. It is this diversity that I value and cel­eb­rates the most in this pro­ject. The cre­at­ive lyr­i­cism and dif­fer­ent exe­cu­tion styles of the art make this pro­ject unequaled by any in hip-hop circles and that is what thrills me.

Con­nect with Rhyme Assas­sin

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MJ Savino

MJ Savino

MJ is Hip Hop Blog­ger, Pub­li­cist, Book­ing Agent, Act­iv­ist, but fan first and fore­most. “Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the cul­ture”!

About MJ Savino

MJ Savino
MJ is Hip Hop Blogger, Publicist, Booking Agent, Activist, but fan first and foremost. "Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the culture"!