My name’s Ase Mor the Corner Store Rapper. I’m an emcee in the boom bap tradition. I never had secular music in my house when I was a kid. My parent’s were very religious. So, the first time I heard rap music, I was immediately hooked. I wanted to hear it all the time; I snuck CDs into the house and would stay up all night listening to it in my headphones for fear that I may come home the next day, and it’d be gone, like so many other albums I bought, stolen by my god-fearing mother. This new music was the exact opposite of what had been sonically suffocating me for the previous so many years.
Just before becoming a teenager, I found myself drawn towards the drums. My dad would take me to church band practice back then, and I always stood behind the drummer, watching him play as I tapped a couple drumsticks on the back of a chair. Tapping my fingers and playing rhythms on table tops became a serious preoccupation of mine since those days.
When I heard the beat driven sounds of hip hop I got excited about music again – I remember writing songs when I was in elementary school to accompany the guitar my dad would play in the house at night, but that ended shortly before he moved out. That period of my life was full of a lot of drama, a lot of talking behind people’s back, coming from my mom and dad, just so much strife, and I was caught in the middle of it. When I discovered Hip Hop, the lyrical aspect of the music gave me an outlet to vent, and the hard boom bap production fuelled my writing and bucked up my backbone. It allowed me to survey and reshape the arena of my existence. Getting into a writing session was like entering a trance, and the feeling was powerful. The action of it, the practice and reward of excelling, watching myself progress gave me something to work towards, to think about, to challenge myself with, and it was exactly what I needed.
I started FREE ILL after meeting Trev and Milkcarton Matt, we were the original members, this was around 2007-2008 (although, the exact date and year I can’t be certain). The members of the crew have changed a bit since then, but the ideas remain the same: create good Hip Hop based in the boom bap heritage of the original golden era cats. I always wanted the crew to be more about quality and ideologies, social analysis and criticism, personal battles, lows and victories rather than a commercial enterprise concerned only with “money and bitches,” and that is a tenet that I will not sway on. These qualities are what, I hope, led to Luke’s and my induction into the Sons of Boombap crew early August, 2016, and I’m excited to see where we go from here.
For 12 years I’ve been journaling my life, criticizing oppression, analyzing society and, hopefully, encouraging other people who think the same way as I do, and I love it. Because of that, I can’t see myself giving up any time soon; it’s in my blood and bones. Here’s to hoping something comes from it. Peace.