Meet Possessed, Skirmish, and Psiklone aka Rhyme Asylum a trio of rappers and producers who are based in London . Rhyme Asylum currently has their debut album ‘State Of Lunacy ’ out at the moment. It’s an album that puts words at the forefront of the music and takes you on a very vivid lyrical journey over some crackly and minimal beats. There’s tracks such as the downbeat ‘Unreasonable’, the dark head nodder that is ‘Deranged Delirium’, and ‘Attitude Problem’ which does what it says on the tin by being in your face and putting the world to rights, and in particular being pissed of with hip-hop, which the guys talk about here, and is generally bone shakingly thrilling. ‘State Of Lunacy ’ is an album that tries to sum up who and what Rhyme Asylum is about. They’ve also been noticed in the USA as well which Rhyme Asylum also talks about. Basically you be best advised to get locked down with the Rhyme Asylum…
How long have you guys been making music and rapping?
Possessed and Skirmish have been rapping for approximately 8 years now, Psiklone slightly less – about 5 years. However, in terms of actually making music we all began together and have been making tunes for just over 3 years now.
How did you get into making music?
We’ve all had a real passion for music since we were kids and listening to a lot of Hip-Hop naturally progressed into us trying to emulate it ourselves. Once you start spitting bars and writing regularly, making music just forms as a natural progression.
How did you meet? And how did the project of Rhyme Asylum come about?
Skirmish and Possessed have been boys since back in the day and met Psiklone at Deal Real, during the infamous open mic nights. It was a good place to really improve as emcees, trying to come back with fresh material every week to tear up the mic and the cyphers. Rhyme Asylum was started by Possessed and Skirmish years ago early when they started rapping together and after getting a bit of a name for ourselves from the open mic circuit, we started work on our debut album and here we are today.
I’ve been listening to some tracks on your ‘State Of Lunacy ’, and you seem to be not particularly happy with the way hip-hop is at the moment? Particularly on the track ‘Attitude Problem’ where you say that you’re ‘pissed off with hip-hop.’ Basically how do you feel about hip-hop at the moment, here and in USA ?
We feel that Hip-Hop is not in a good place right now. It seems like there is a serious lack of lyricism and what we consider real classic ‘boom bap’ Hip-Hop about. A lot of denial of the importance of lyricism appears to be floating about too, and that coupled with consistent categorisation seems to be the method for a lot of people to avoid putting the work in and actually coming up with decent material. We feel that people don’t really spend enough time on their music and eventually end up with a next to worthless product. That and everyone and their grandma trying to rap means the scene, which consists of a bunch of friends exclusively helping each other out, is destined for a very stunted growth. The USA ’s problems seem to be more that to do with it being polluted with commercial trash and again is totally lacking in real substance and the classic hip-hop sound for the most part. People like DJ Premier are still making sick beats and Diabolic and Saigon are still bringing the raw lyricism, but apart from a few individuals, overall the scene seems to be suffering. And we personally are never going to succumb to the garbage….. So yeah man we’re feeling it!!
Is there a general theme or concept to ‘State Of Lunacy ’?
The album is loosely focussed around the idea of Rhyme Asylum. As it was our debut we decided to try and keep the whole thing cohesive in terms of the general feel of the album to establish what we’re about on track and generally just make good music. Although we never let it limit our creativity as the album also contains a wide variety of tracks.
Is there anything or anyone that influenced ‘State Of Lunacy ’?
The album isn’t as a result of any direct influences; it is more just a melting pot exhibiting who we are which of course like any artist is a combination of the product of their influences plus their own key originality. If anything we were heavily influenced by our own mode of thinking and motivation, as we just wanted to make a classic debut album with serious super lyrical bars whilst maintaining a tight musical approach.
Is ‘State Of Lunacy ’ your first album and are there any plans for anymore?
SOL is our debut yes, and we are currently at work on our second album.
Who are your influences, who do you look up too?
We all grew up listening to a lot of classic music particularly classic hip-hop and super lyricism – the likes of Big L, Big Pun, Wu-Tang Clan, Canibus, Slim Shady, DJ Premier, Non Phixion, Redman, Pharoahe Monch, Jay-Z, Biggie, Alchemist, Necro, Saian Supa Crew, Jedi Mind Tricks…. the list of course goes on…
Is there anyone around at the moment that you like?
We mentioned before we’re still of course feeling Premo and with regards to rappers, Saigon , Ill Bill and Diabolic and definitely bringing it. However, most of the time we find ourselves just going back to older Hip-Hop and bumping that!
Is there anyone you would want to work with?
Right now, only really people we’ve been influenced by or who we’re currently really feeling; or if someone gets at us with some real heat, although we’re pretty busy most of the time, we’re down to murder ill beats too.
You’ve had some success in the USA , how has that been and is it different from over here, and also is the state of hip-hop different in the USA ?
We’ve been lucky enough to have received some attention over in the states… It’s been really refreshing to hear heads are really feeling us over there. We get asked quite a bit if we’re gonna have any shows over there – so promoters holla!! It seems like Hip-Hop is in a pretty bad state of affairs in the USA as well, but obviously being a much bigger country and having a much much larger scene, there invariably is going to be more talent generated.
Any plans for the future?
World domination. Support the movement and add us to Myspace! Thank you to everyone bumping our music out there around the world! Keep spreading the word!
Rhyme Asylum play Southampton next week and Manchester in December and you can buy the album ‘State Of Lunacy’ from their myspace below. It comes highly recommended from everyone at ukhh.com….