In Talks With Rimzee: ‘I Feel Like I’m At The End Of The Beginning’
12 Aug 2022
Rimzee is a establishing himself as more than just an artist. While it cannot be said that the East London rapper has had a prolific musical output to this point, it is testament to his raw, hard hitting lyricism that he has managed to maintain relevance and set pace at the top of the genre, in spite of a forced seven year hiatus. His debut tape, ‘The Upper Clapton Dream’, remains a seminal record when discussing ‘Real Rap’ in the UK. Since coming out of prison, Rimzee has demonstrated that he has kept his touch when it comes to hit-making, following up with a sequel to his debut mixtape as a sophomore project, as well as working with some of the most exciting talents in the game, including the likes of Potter Payper, Stardom, and Tion Wayne. What sets the East London rapper apart from his competitors is the rawness and emotion in his lyrics which allows him to connect with his audience on a deeper level.
On top of that however, Rimzee has taken his second chance and is looking to give back to his community. We spoke to him at Red Bull London before his ‘Entrepreneur’ event, where he got some of the biggest names in the UK music business to host a panel and share their wisdom to a selection of fans and budding entrepreneurs. This is demonstrative of the fact that Rimzee sees himself as more than merely a rapper, and that he feels he can make a different in multiple facets of the music industry. We caught up with Rimzee at his at Red Bull London to discuss his business plans, his career so far, and his plans for artistic growth:
We’re at Red Bull today for your ‘Entrepreneur’ event. Do you want to explain a bit about what’s going on?
Basically I do a bit of business as well as music, so I would say I’m an entrepreneur. Obviously I’ve just released a song called ‘Entrepreneur’ as well. Something I’ve always wanted to do is have an event with like minded people who are on the same page. I feel like we don’t really have that, innit? So that’s what I’m trying to do today.
You’ve also invited 20 of your fans to the event today as well. How important has your fanbase been to your on your journey so far?
Fans? Yeah, they’re very important. They’re more important than anyone because there’s only so many times your friends can post your stuff. I mean, when your fans are your proper, diehard fans, they don’t look at it the same way, you know? When it comes to my career anyway, my fans are very, very important.
And this event is coming off the back of your single, ‘Entrepreneur’. How pleased have you been with the reception of this track?
I think it’s been good, still. I think I’ve unlocked different markets already before I’ve been on the ‘Entrepreneur’ stuff, so some people know already and the people that didn’t know? They know now. Yeah, man, I feel like I’ve got a lot of good business people involved on my side.
What stage do you think you are at in your career? Because your path has been broken up by you going away for a bit…
I feel like, I’m at the end of the beginning. I don’t know if that time away has made me a better artist, but it’s just made me hungrier, innit? Because like, I knew what I had and what I accomplished, then I lost it. Now I’ve got to get it back, do you know what I mean? That’s what hustlers and entrepreneurs do. They have the ability to lose something and get it back.
How was that time away? Because the scene has changed and evolved so many times whilst you were inside…
I don’t know, man. Obviously before I was in I only had one mixtape, and now I’ve got two. Most people at my calibre in the Rap game though have more, like five or six maybe. I feel like being out of the picture for so long has just made me realise I’ve got more work to do.
Who were you influenced by coming up?
Influences? I could be here all day to be honest. Coming up though I was influenced by Grime and Rap. I started out on Grime though which a lot of people don’t know about. But yeah, there’s so many people that we could be here all day, man.
What was the moment you knew you wanted to get into the music game?
I would say just recently you know. When I would rap before it was more of a hobby, music never used to pay before. I came out of jail and everyone was suddenly making money from it. And I was like rah, that’s mad but I didn’t want to do it anymore and too many people were on to me. and I think when I done ‘Split Decisions’ I said to myself, if this song doesn’t do well I’m quitting rap today. Because I feel like the stuff I’m saying is very real, the stuff a lot of other people are saying is not really real, it’s entertainment but that doesn’t mean it’s not good music. that’s what I had to learn, I was investing bare money and not getting too much recognition. And I feel like in the UK if you’re too real you get blocked. In America if you’re too real you go bigger.
Are there any collaborations you’d like to see for yourself in the future?
Tems for sure. I like Wizkid and Burna Boy; I think they’re hard, still. I’m trying to do different stuff, though. I’m not trying to stay in the Rap box. You know, you can only make so many songs with the same people around you until you start going around in circles. I’ve got to branch out and bring different people into my lane and you know, just getting on in different places.
You’re from East London and you often collaborate with people form the same area. Do you think that at the moment East has the best rappers?
Yeah, obviously. I’m there, innit! (Laughs) We got a lot of good rappers though, but yeah, I’m the best.
You’ve got a new project dropping this year. Who were you listening to when you were making it?
I listened to most guys who do real Rap. I listened to a lot of American stuff and lots of pain music. I like vibes as well, like if I’m at a party I want to listen to vibes. I would listen to pain music every single day, though. It just depends what mood I’m in.
How do you feel like your sound is progressing as your career continues?
For sure. Obviously going away I wasn’t rapping for time so I feel like I kind of lost my sound a bit. It’s like driving, for example. If you’ve been driving your whole life and you suddenly stopped driving, the next time it’s going to feel a bit rusty. I’ve just got to keep doing it to get it back.
What’s been your personal highlight of your career so far?
I was on ‘BBC Hot For 2022’, that was good. When I did a tour, that was the best thing so far. When I performed at Youngs Teflon’s show, that was one as well, because, you know, obviously, I haven’t been able to do a show for ages because the police keep cancelling my shows. It’s jarring, bro. When I came out of jail I had a show and the police cancelled it three days before. I tried to do another one but they just weren’t having it. When I performed at Tef’s show, obviously we’ve got similar fanbases so I actually felt appreciated. Sometimes you perform at certain places and the crowd isn’t for you. That’s why I need my own show because a lot of fans would love to see me performing.
Have you had a peak in your career yet?
I haven’t reached my peak yet because I feel like a lot of the game is about information. The first year I came out, I thought it was like back in the day. I though that you just need to be real and make good music. Then I learned that no, it’s not. You need digital marketing, there’s YouTube ads, all of that stuff. Then, on top of that, now you need blog pages, you need connections, you need playlists support, you need radio support. I think information is everything. The more information you gather, the more that gears you up to be where you need to be.
Do you enjoy that side of the industry?
At first I didn’t because I thought it should be just about music. It’s not music, though, it’s music business. Obviously I’m a business guy so now I try so now I try to think about how can I make my model become like more like a business.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Obviously, I’ve got my mixtape coming out. I want it to hit a great position in the charts but I’m not going to say it here because evil eye is real. I’m gonna expand everything to be honest. I’m gonna do some international collaborations, move into some different businesses. Really, I’m just gonna improve on the brand of music, the style of music I’m making, the strategies that I’m using. Everything is going to be elevated.
Finally, what do you want your legacy to be?
I help people use their brain. A lot of people don’t like to think, to be an entrepreneur you have to think. But some people just want to make money and get it the easiest way. For me I always want more, I’m like Oliver, once I reach here I now need to go there. And people come from where man comes from, I don’t know anyone from my area that has done what I’ve done, like in a lot of hoods it’s rare. So I’m doing it for all the guys in jail and that they tell you once you go jail you’re finished and that, I’m doing it for them.
Rimzee has the drive and ambition to make himself successful across multiple disciplines. Not only has he already established himself in the highest echelons of UK Rap, but the man from Clapton continues to pursue different opportunities in other walks of life to improve his already impressive business acumen. With a mixtape in the pipeline before the end of the year, Rimzee is showing us that he embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, which should give the artist the perfect foundations for a long and successful music career.