When I saw Mic Assassin supporting Tommy Evans at a Kung Fu gig, I immediatly knew that he'd be putting out some dope hiphop. He had the crowd hyped, and will get listeners of his releases just as excited. I tracked him down and threw a bucket of questions his way…
For those that aren't too familiar with you, what have you released or been a part of so far?
Boy! Where to start em.. As an artist trying to grind and put work in I've been on countless mixtapes and on various features. Been spiting since I was a foetus … (jokes!). Let me give ya'll a lil history. Started writing lyrics from the age of about 9 after hearing Dr Dre 's "The Chronic" and just thinking 'rare!' I should be on the album alongside Snoop. Previous to that my love for Hip Hop and music in general grew from about age 4, being surrounded with old skool Run DMC tapes my older brother would pump (back then I could spit line for line the whole of "King Of Rock" and "Walk This Way" ). The love for music just grew so, yeah, time travel a few years later to when I was about 14 / 15, I started taking it proper serious, practising freestyles, writing etc.
I hooked up with my boy, Rigga Romez who grew up on the same estate as me (Lovelinch – New Cross) and took it from there. That was back in 98. Things evolved. We were both a part of various crews. Our first crew "Elements of Fear" entered the UK Hip Hop scene in 2000, hitting every open mic session and battle IE. Kung Fu, Battle Scars etc. At the same time we joined and was part of the infamous London street team "Militia Street Squad" from 2000 – 2002. That Brings us to our recent movement, "Elite Team!"
As far as Mix CD's, me and my crew have been on a couple DJ Smasherely's (Estelle's DJ) mix tapes, Bruce Wayne's, Liquid Ent and things like that.
As far as official releases, my first vinyl debut was on Evil ED's " The Enthusiast" alongside Tommy Evans in 2004 (go cop that) on a track called "Life's a Struggle" which I was blessed to feature on. We recently released our first release on our label Elite Team Ent, "The Phone Home EP" which was a big achievement for us.
How did the Elite Team form and who's a part of it?
Well… Elite Team formed in 2002 and consists of myself Mic Assassin, Rigga Romez, Archer G, DJ Caution and DJ Bruce Wayne. It was basically formed after Militia departed and was just me and Romez's vision of creating our own movement of music, business and just not wanting to rely on anyone else but ourselves to make shit happen.
How would you generally describe the music which you create?
Good music that hits you inside. Up until about 2 years ago I just wanted to be the most lyrically talented emcee on the planet. Then I realised that as well as being renowned for having skill in my art I wanted to make good lasting music, some real shit that will still be relevant 50 years from now. That's why I've collaborated with reggae artists, soul singers, live bands. Ya get me.
In terms of subject matters, what are some of the topics which you rhyme about?
As a lyricist I respect the art of constructing powerful sentences but like I said before, I want to make good music so any topic can be touched. From battle rhymes, street narratives, slavery protests, political bars- anything. We've got this track on the Elite Team EP called "Herstory" which is basically about the various struggles of women. One part of the track touches on the fact that some darker skinned black women feel not as loved as lighter skinned black women etc and it's told from the perspective of the women. We've had some females that heard the song have tears in their eyes and feel mad emotional after hearing it. That personally touched me to know that.
Your name suggests you're pretty dope at the freestyle battle. Good track record?
Yeah I'm okay … I been doing it for a while. I love it. Keeps me sharp. It's like ancient Greek gladiators, seeing who's the strongest. But really it's an ego thing. Any MC who battles just wants to see if they've got the biggest nuts and who can destroy who. Ya gets me. I've had millions of battles at clubs, street ciphers, on night buses. This chick tried to battle me on the bus a couple months back. That was hilarious. But I've lost battles. I've lost 6 in total. I used to be embarrassed but, rare, you not gonna win em all. I don't really focus on it as much anymore. My main concern is running the label .
Are you currently working on any projects, and can you drop us some gossip about them?
The next release which is scheduled on May 05 is a solo track I got on Blu Foot's album "Ablution" – which is a crazy story about my biro coming to life! Also, I'm working on this project with an ill beat boxer called Faith SFX which is gonna have him doing the beat with me and some other emcees spitting over him – crazy. There's also the next Elite Team EP we're working on and I'm just expanding. Touching genres of music I'm feeling so you'll see ya boy Mic Assassin on some grime beats, reggae, Soul – whateva I'm feeling.
Which producers are you working with, and whose beats would you most love the chance to lace?
Boy … My foundation producers are Django Thief. We been working with them since 2002. They're an incredible 5 man live band from my ends and incorporate Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk etc. They produced the whole of our Elite Team "Phone Home EP". Also worked with Blu foot, Evil ED, Liquid ENT. And got some beats to write to from Apollo , Mr Thing, Cee Why. Also, look out for a heavy new producer called Triggz. He's got that good music. As far as wanting to work with producers, I'm gonna work with Django Thief forever that's standard. I'd like to work with Creators, Havoc, Madlib, JD ( So Solid), Kanye West, Dr Dre, Harry Love…who else…em … Oh yeah Joe Budda and some classic Marley Marl, ya feel me.
Where do you predict, or hope, your music career to be at this time next year?
In the next year as an artist, label and as movement Elite Team we will be trying to make some serious power moves both musically and business wise. I.E. Publishing deals, distribution, sponsorship, ya know. Things in that direction. Just trying to expand the boundaries.
Who are your biggest inspirations, in and outside of the hiphop goldfish bowl?
My personal inspirations from Hip Hop… Rare… there's a few like Jay Z / Dame Dash on a business level… then like Nas as a street poet. I'm inspired by a lot of music I've heard coming out of the UK like the new wave of Hip Hop and Grime stuff that's doing it. A song that really inspires me is a Radiohead song called "Street spirit – Fade Out". That's a head trip for me, that music. Recently I've been schooling myself to some old seventies soul / jazz music. I'm not at this time over familiar with most of the artist's names but just find myself listening to old recordings and feeling like yeah, that's good music.
How did you hook up with Tommy Evans and end up touring his LP with him?
Yeah I met Tommy at the screening for this documentary based on UK Hip Hop and this battle competition called "The Bedroom Mc" which I was in and won. He hollered at me and we just started chilling. He let me know about the tour and I was on from the jump! I was a fan of his music from time and had bare YnR tracks on tape and ting so it was a good look just to be part of that. Also yo, Tommy is a cool dude. Like, during the tour we were up and down the country yo. His fan base is crazy. He's got mad chicks and dudes in every town and city that got nuff love for him.
How big a learning experience has it been, being somebody's hype man on tour?
Yeah. hyping Tommy on tour was an experience, nuff jokes crazy times. I'm not on tour with him any more, even though the tour is still continuing, just basically because I need to get on the grind more on myself and with my crew Elite Team. Seeing how much love Tommy gets up and down the country made me recognize that's the level I need to be at, and beyond that, so I'm just concentrating on my future, making myself and my squad BIG! But Tommy 's still my boy. He understood what I had to do. He's a very experienced cat like. I learnt nuff from having constant shows with him, controlling large crowds. Before I was used to small open mics but with him it was some packed out venues!
What stands out in your memory as the most enjoyable concert or show you've been an audience member of?
Easy! Mark B and Blade at The Mean Fiddler, Charing Cross 2001 – The energy level was ridiculous. I mean crazy! The whole crowd was hyped. Bare love and vibes. And never forgetting Big Daddy Kane at Scala 2001. I felt the presence of greatness that night, trust me!
What records and artists on the scene are you most feeling at the moment?
Yo obviously my crew Elite Team. My boy Rigga Romez spits fire. Also, myself but outside of my crew I've only been really feeling the new wave of artist coming through like Lowkey. He's an artist I've been feeling for a bit. Also Sway. He's showing the whole game how to elevate and spit some funny tings.
Have you got any shout out's or plugs you'd like to drop?
Yeah thanks to everyone at Rapnews. Thanks for looking out for your boy. To book Elite Team for shows or info holla at our PR agent Dami at Dami@darkling.tv 07779 244967 Look out for ELITE - TEAM – Rigga Romez , Dj Caution and myself Mic Assassin