Check out what one of the dopest UK crew's had to say about their background, past and future releases, the US Jump Off tour and a load more, in this, yet another extensive Rapnews special.
How did you guys hook up with each other and how long have you been together as Elite Team Entertainment?
Rigga Romez: Me and Micz are from the same square on Lovelinch Estate, so I known him all my life. I've known Caution, Bones and Smurf for like 9 or 10 years. Everyone in the Team has been around each other in some way or form for at least 5 years. Plus we all from the same ends, so faces was always familiar. We family.
Mic Assassin: Yeah for real. It from like '98 when me and Romez found out each other rhymed. It was crazy that day. We was like 14 and we had been homies for years before, like back to transformer times. We was just on our estate in New Cross where we both used to live. We just kicked a sick cipher and it grew from there.
Your name suggests you're more than just a music crew, like you're involved with a more business orientated side too. What else you got going?
Mic Assassin: First off, before music, we're good friends which is way more important, and music just helps to enhance our friendships innit.
Rigga Romez: I mean… It was definitely a conscience decision to name ourselves Elite Team 'Entertainment', instead of Elite Team 'Records'. You can feel the difference just saying it. You should never hinder your potential in this industry. Always broaden your horizons.
What different aspects do each of you bring to the collective's table?
DJ Caution: I handle marketing, basically getting the whole aura and presence of the crew out there to the masses. Also, I am a DJ and produce music.
Rigga Romez: I'm da A&R Man. Assault & Reapo, y'see it? I got an ear for good music. I deal with the sequencing of projects, picking beats, studio time, features. Da whole shabang. Plus, I'm ape-ing on the mic. Youts started callin' me the marathon spitter. Right now, I'm on some Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan shit. Ya feel me? Pure energy. And yeh, I'm that 'I!' man.
Mic Assassin: In terms of the label, I'm CEO of Elite Team Entertainment. I know in Hiphop that it's kind of a title that everyone tries to have but I work at it hard. It's the only thing I do apart from college and writing bars. Making sure our business is tight, from negotiating prices, getting funding for our projects, lawyer meetings. All of that. On a music level, I'm trying to be on more of a musician kind of level. I play drums and took piano lessons at school. That was ill. At the moment I'm just trying to be creative as a good lyricist and an emcee.
For those that have been sleeping, what releases are out there for us to pick up so far?
Rigga Romez: Firstly, The 'Phone Home' EP. That's a certified cult classic. Or at least that's what the cult have been telling us. My mixtape 'The Man & The Myth Vol 1: Lost', will be out when people read this. And Micz' mixtape 'How To Murk A Mixtape Vol.1' should also be scorching your eardrums. People been fiending like cats for that shit there. Also, we got free samplers like 'Slewisham Edition' floating around the street for all the broke mandem and the bootleggers. We're flooding the street blud!
Mic Assassin: Rare, there's a few innit! Every time I think about it I smile 'cause I remember when we were younger and all we wanted to do was have records out and have songs on the radio. (Micz gets a little emotional!). Yeah, anyway's. Apart from my crew and ting, I've been blessed to have a few solo releases which included guest appearing on Blufoot's 'The Ablution' on a track called 'My Biro'. I love that track to bits! Also, alongside my homie Tommy Evans on Evil Ed's 'The Enthusiast' on a track called 'Life's A Struggle'... Check the verses on that song from me and Tommy. Both very very real things we were both dealing with at the time.
What projects have you guys been working on and when can we expect to hear the new material?
Mic Assassin: Like Romez said, we got his mixtape 'The Man & the Myth' dropping, and mine 'How To Murk A Mixtape' out in say a week or so. I say that because we own a dope little CD manufacturing machine which means we can kinda put our mixtapes out when we want, so yeah, they'll be out in a week or so. Both of them are fire. Just some ill concepts. More of our individual personalities coming out.
Rigga Romez: We got a project just to rep talent in our borough coming real soon… but it's all a bit 007 at the moment. Just remember the name Slewisham. The next E.T. EP is coming, just hold tight. Oh yeh! We got a collaborative EP with our band Django Thief in the works. Also, my solo EP. Micz solo EP and some duet projects with some of your favourite producers and rappers. We're focused. You man are gonna hate us in 12 months time!
Is there any competitive vibes between you guys?
Mic Assassin: Yeah 'course there's competitiveness. Even though we're good friends and we all grind together, especially when me and Romez are writing verse's as he's too ill, it makes me wanna write a tighter verse… I aint tryna be the scrub on the track and I know it's the same for him.
Rigga Romez: Me and Micz are like Ryu & Ken y'see it? We're partners, but we're both vigilantes. We keep each other on point. Put it this way… With Micz being my partner in rhyme, I know I can't get caught slippin and vice versa, y'feel me? And I'll collaborate with anyone and their mother if they both got talent!
How do you feel you've been accepted by the UK scene so far and how much of a help has the Jump Off battles been for exposure?
Mic Assassin: Me… I don't think the majority of the scene acknowledges us. I know at the moment we have a little hype but… we're still 'nuff unknown to the majority of the scene. For the peeps who have heard of us, most people who understand skill might like us but I don't really think the scene takes to us well.
I think people sense that we're not like them. I know that sound nuts… But I don't think we really fit in. In a way, we're not really happy or comfortable… not to be deep but there's too much UK rappers who are way too comfortable just selling a few hundred vinyl's and CDs. We're not satisfied with that. It's like we're in a crazy middle ground like, we're too grimey for the mainstream but too ambitious to stay underground. It's weird!
Rigga Romez: Personally, I know a lot of MCs don't feel me 'cause I aint scared to diss the scene. What they don't understand is…I don't have to like the 'scene' just because I'm from London and I spit, y'get me? So there's a lot of hate. A lot of internet gangsters and MySpace thugs… but it's all Bisto. Micz has got complete forum pages dissing him. We love the promotion! You have to love us to actually to do that shit. Bredah's need to find girlfriends immediately!
Mic Assassin: On Jump Off battles, they have been a crazy blessing. It's helped me get myself out there a little bit more but most importantly, it's helped spread our crew and label name.
Ahead of the Jump Off States battles, how are you feeling about going out there and representing for the UK?
Mic Assassin: To be honest, it's a mixture of nerves and just being very anxious. I don't know what else to say. I know how good it can be for us. If I do well this could be the thing that takes us to that Roll Deep fire camp kinda level. It's 'nuff scary! I'll admit that rago but it's also an opportunity I been waiting for, since I started rapping. It's crazy!
Rigga Romez: There's a lot of misrepresentation when it comes to the UK over there. This is a chance to set them straight innit.
Does any preperation or 'training' go into keeping in shape in terms of freestyling? Like, do you spar or play with some pre-writtens?
Mic Assassin: Ha. Real, I'm in training at the moment. It's basically more like staying sharp freestyling as much as I can, everywhere possible. In class, on the bus, in the bath and on the shitter! I just basically practice in order to try and speed up my thought to spit reaction time so everything is fluid. I'm also trying to get into a habit of slowing myself down just so in future battles I can be more in control of what I'm saying and not stumble on words as much.
Rigga Romez: Swear down, we was battle sparring just the other day. Over the years I've evolved into more of a written based artist. I still freestyle a lot, just not as much as my younger days… Micz is always training… Heh, he's like Rocky going to fight Drago. Everything helps though, even having cussin' battles on some playground shit.
Mic Assassin: Ha ha, that was a crazy freestyle session with Rigga and our younger Phoenix. It was basically them two versus me. It was funny as hell! In terms of pre-writtens, I don't even do that. Before a battle, like 2 mins before a battle when I see my opponent, then things just come to me. What I can say about them. I know bare freestylers that do that. People might consider it pre-meditated but it's whatever innit.
What do you think's the key to a successful battle rapper? Do you think it's more to do with the words and punchlines, or the manner in which they're delivered and expressed?
Rigga Romez: Both. 60% words, 40% delivery. One hand washes the other, both wash the face. No-one will wanna listen if you sound like a timid geek. And if you're hype with no lines, you look like a clown. There's a difference between getting a crowd to hear you, and getting them to listen to you.
Mic Assassin: For me it's kinda a mixture of charisma, aggression, presence, big lines, delivery. Everything. I blaintanly don't think I'm the best out there at all! But I do have a high combination of all the things I listed. Where others might have one or two. So I'm more of a complete package as I can do all aspects quite good.
Are we gonna see you doing any battling one of these days Rigga?
Rigga Romez: I'd have to train up for at least a year or two. If not, I'd be shitting on the art form. I mean… you got breh's like Micz, Stig, Arkaic and Sonny Jim out there! These man are focused pros. They're in the Premier League. I'm a playground player with skill that aint refined yet. I aint really someone who battles for sport y'see it? I play my position… If you catch me randomly on road, then maybe. Just make sure you don't approach me on no wild, disrespectful shit. I've had to hot a couple man on road for that shit already. I'm a MC but boy… this aint a movie dog!
What other UK crews are you guys feeling and would you consider adding to your crew like Poisonous Poets seem to keep doing?
Mic Assassin: This question is 'nuff funny. You're deep. Haha. Nah, I'm feeling Sin Army Brrrapss! I Like Terra Firma a lot. They're like the blueprint of a dope crew. Other than that I'm feeling the grime manz like Roll Deep, my boys from ends Essentials, South Soldiers yeah like that.
In terms of changing members and adding, that can't really work for Elite Team as we're all a family unit. Like, for us it isn't music. We're friends. We chill outside of music. Everyone in Elite Team who brought someone in to the click has known each other way before music. Like, me and Romez grew up together, me and Archer went college together. Romez, Caution, Bones and Smurf (who are label staff) all went school together. So it's just like bringing your boys to your other boy's house and everyone kicking it!
Rigga Romez: Nah, not for now, I doubt it. Don't get me wrong, I'm feeling Poisonous… But I look at them like more of a super-group y'get me? Like the Justice League, Avengers or suttin. We have to think very carefully about who we bring in. None of us even bucked through music. We all knew the real names before the aliases, y'feel me? So we have to bond on that level. Plus, as we're a business and move so organised, we can't have any dead weight.
I'm always looking for talent, but you can't be thinking about double glazing when the house foundation aint even completed yet. But I also feel Terra Firma, SAS, Defenders LOS, Cerose, Pyrelli & Sway…Y'know what? Anyone who aint sitting on their arse all day, complaining about other artists is who I'm feeling.
DJ Caution: There are a lot of dope artist doing things right 'n' gettin themselves out there, but adding them to the crew? I don't know about that. Signing them to the label, yeah!
Where can we keep up to date with you guys and where can we go buy an Elite Team Ent t-shirt?
You can keep up with us on cyberspace. Check out our official label website www.eliteteament.com. Check the news section. We update it like, twice a week! And our MySpace page www.myspace.com/elite_team_entertainment. You can also download exclusives free From our sound click page www.soundclick.com/eliteteamentertainment
Rigga Romez: Holla at us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll phone home…We aint Hollywood.
Mic Assassin: And yeah Honza from Battle Wear Clothing does our T-shirts he's proper sick
DJ Caution: Tee's are limited edition and can only be bided for on eBay starting at £2500 lol
Have you got any shout out's or plugs you'd like to drop to round this up with?
DJ Caution: Shout out to Rapnews for the interview! Darkling, Battlewear, Django thief, Blackgrounds and deal real…. and all the radio DJs
Rigga Romez: Big up Slewisham and the whole of London. Menace, Blaze & Action in the beast, hold ya heads. Scratchy, get well soon. And an extra big blessings to the girl whose house I stayed at last nite.
Mic Assassin: HA Ha Yeah by the time peeps read this article Romez Mixtape " The Man and the myth" will be out on road and my one "How to Murk a mixtape" will be also on road , we'll be shotting each one for a fiver Big ups to JB Sparks and all the manz in Django thief check their website www.djangothief.co.uk Also look out for Phoenix he's a sick younger from our ends on the come up , he's got a mixtape on road you can catch him murking ya favourite younger in a cipher somewhere.
Check out the Rapnews Audio page for Elite Team Entertainment tracks including three exclusive Rigga Romez tracks and two heavy Mic Assassin tunes.