Check out an extensive interview with the rapper and producer, about his forthcoming EP, touring, his influences and artist friends, his name and lots more.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Yes,yes. I'm Ahmos, a UK hip-hop producer, MC, engineer and DJ from North-West London, whose about to take over and change the whole game. I'm one third of a group called ICX and one of the founding members of a production team called The Mosaicx.
Where are you from and how long you been rapping?
I'm from Kilburn and have been rapping for over 10 years now. I used to be part of a group called "North West Collabo" whose members included myself, Parke, Kyza, RAM and M.E.
Who are your biggest hip-hop influences?
That's a hard one… As an MC I would have to say Guru, Roots Manuva, Rodney P, Wu-Tang-Clan, Common etc. But as a producer it's Timberland, Dre and Primo.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
For starters, I'm versatile, never going on about just one subject like certain other artists. You know, the bling bling crap and all that. On my tunes I tend to dwell more towards the factual side of life, covering things from poverty to gun crime to secret societies… I tend to talk about things that could get me killed basically. As a producer, I'm really scrutinous with the artists that I work with. If something doesn't sound right, the take gets scrapped and they have to do it again. In studio, I can create around four beats in a day. It's just trying to get all the vocalists together that's the long-ting and I think that's why I get a bit arsey sometimes, because I know there's no time to waste.
Is that your real name? Why not invent an ego fuelled alias like many do?
I used to have an ego fuelled name during my time in "North-West-Collabo". Back then I was known as "Al Simmons", the "mic-assassin" as Parke would say. When I started working on my solo material I decided to come up with a name that suited me a lot more and could represent me as a growing artist. So while on holiday, a long time ago now, I found the name of an ancient Egyptian warrior that really intrigued me and when I found out more about this warrior, I also found out that we had a lot in common and knew this was the name for me.
What releases have you been a part of so far?
My first major release was back in 2001, when I signed a track I wrote to "BreakinBread" called "Greenfingerz". My mate Tom Caruana produced the beat for the track, which we recorded in his dorms at university. I've also released various other tunes on mix CD's, the most famous being "The Answer & Genesis" collections. Myself and my production partner Demitry were also the ones who recorded and mixed the critically acclaimed track "Gun Talk".
Are you working on any material at the moment?
I'm just finishing the final touches to my EP that features artists such as DJ 2-Tall, Genesis Elijah, Wordsmith, Kay-K (ICX) and Uncle Fester(Mud Fam). Myself and Demitry are also working on the Mosaicx album that will feature artists that are on my EP and a whole lot more. I'm also working with my other crew (Kay-K, Sikboy) on the "ICX EP" and some exclusive tracks for the next instalment of the Answer and Genesis mix tape, "Kick in the door". Watch out for some of my beats on the next Genesis Elijah album.
When will all this see the light of day and what label are you planning on this coming out on?
I'm looking to release my EP independently as I'm still unsigned (hint-hint), but hopefully off the back of this, I'll score a contract for the Mosaicx album. My EP should be out by the end of summer. At latest, mid September.
Who do you think is killing it on the UK scene right now and what's the hottest album at the moment?
Obviously I'm going to have to say my lot like Genesis, Wordsmith, Terra Firma, and Unorthodox. I'm feeling man like Sway. I think he's proper funny and wouldn't mind working on a track with him. Even though I'm not that much of a grime fan, I have to say Kano is smacking it. Akala is starting to impress me as well with his conscious lyrics. But the hottest album out there right now, and I'm not being bias, has to be Gens' "Deh Pon Road" and Wordsmiths "Road Man Showcase".
How did you get to know Genesis Elijah and end up on his debut album?
Me and Genesis met years ago through Tom Caruana and straightaway became brilliant mates. I've actually been rapping with Genesis a lot longer then I have with my own crew ICX. We've worked on many tracks together before and after "Road Rage" and I'm one of the Godfathers of his daughter Kiara, so if he didn't put me on his album I would have given him an ear full for the rest of his life (joke!).
Was the Glastonbury set a one off or are you touring with Genesis long term, and how's that experience?
Glastonbury was amazing. To be out there and perform at something as historical as that is just mind blowing. Nine times out of ten you will always find me performing with Genesis. We've done a lot of big gigs together and this was just the start of what's to come.
It must be a great lesson to see a friend go through the routine of releasing projects ahead of your own?
Yeh, it's great coz I can learn from his mistakes and make sure the same doesn't happen to me. Seeing him up there with his foot in the door is something we've been working towards for years. We've always said, whoever gets there first will bring in the rest and that's what's happening now.
What stands out in your memory as being the dopest live hiphop event you've witnessed?
There are many. I think the one that stands out the most was seeing "WU-Tang" back in '93 at the Forum. I think that was the only time ever that the whole crew were there. Another one would have to be "Cypress Hill" at Brixton when B-real pulled out a bong on stage…that was great.
What's the most positive and most negative aspect about the UK scene right now?
The most positive thing about our scene is the love and enthusiasm we get from the public. The most negative is the hate and lack of interest from the major labels, who continually sign shit acts who act American and try to persuade the majority of people that this is what London has to offer.
Do you reckon that it's changed from being dominated by MC's like Jehst and Tommy Evans, to more 'street' guys like Wordsmith and Klashnekoff?
Nah man! For starters Jehst is a friend of mine and believe me, he's more street than a lot of people I could mention (Bl***** Sq***). It was always inevitable that other artists would come in to the scene and start dominating it at one point or another. An artist can't constantly keep churning out tune after tune, so therefore would need to take time out to create something new, leaving space for other artists to come in and show the public what they have to offer.
Are you cool with people downloading your material and using the internet to bootleg your stuff?
Yeh man! Let them have it is what I would say, to an extent. I wouldn't want everything to be bootlegged. There are certain tunes that would need to be held back for professional reasons, but other then that I don't think there's anything wrong with releasing a few tunes on the internet.
Will you ever dabble in the grime and 2step styles of rap?
I said before, I wasn't the best fan of Grime, but I was talking about the artists and not the beat makers. I'm like a slag on the mic. I'd ride anything, as long as the beat's dope. I'm also producing a couple of Grime beats for certain artists within my Nu-shape camp.
Have you ever been a part of any other aspects of hiphop culture like graffing or breaking?
Yep, I used to graff when I was younger after seeing some of my friends doing it who were part of CBM, like Parke, Chan and Kendo(R.I.P). I also used to break a little bit but nothing to write home about.
Have you got any plugs or shout out's you'd like to drop before we end this?
Big up my Mosaicx partners Demitry and Aspex, my ICX brothers Kay-K and Sikboy, my cousins Legato, Kizzy, Face and whole of NU-Shape. Genesis Elijah(make sure you buy the "Deh Pon Road" out now), Wordsmith, AC & Terra Slim, my boys in Terra Firma, Imz and everyone at Brokensouls, Streets and the whole Stix in the City crew, Jme, my girl Ms. Lynn, Tom Carruana, Jo and John Sam, Dutchcourage, Non Slick, Magic Joe, Matte Moka, Roots Manuva and everyone else who knows me…oh yeh, and you Tee for this killer interview! Peace…