In Philadelphia, there is a hip hop scene that has produced cultural icons. The standards are high, to get in the game, and many hard-working rappers are trying to make it. One guy, Ayem Honcho, is putting in the work to put himself on that big board.
Ayem Honcho is one of the hardest-working rising artists in the game. Over the spring, and early summer, months of 2021, he has released a series of music videos. Each of these video has amassed some decent traffic, as things keep growing.
Recently, Ayem Honcho took time out to speak to Hip-HopVibe.com, for an On The Rise interview. He spoke on his street promo campaign and his Statik Selektah feature. Honcho also discussed his indie label, along with much more.
What’s good Ayem Honcho, glad you are speaking with HHV, what’s new in the life?
What’s good… Just been working. Staying focused in.
You’ve been in Philly, grinding for a minute and you was in them streets heavy, pushing the merch and CD’s, how it feels to build a name off that and describe that daily grind?
I knew it was real when I started to get noticed in the streets by fans. This one dude saw me walking with my homie and was like “Yo Ayem! I listen to you everyday! I’m a big fan” and then he was like “I work at taco bell and I just got off bro! Take my food man please.”
At first I was like “no, keep your food bro” lol and then he was like “nah bro, you have to take it, you don’t understand how much you inspire me”. So I was forced to take this man’s food that he was going to eat when he got home lol. It was cool though. The grind was crazy man. Everyday staying dedicated.
Getting a bunch of no’s and selective yes’s to buy your product. It’s a hustle just like anything else but it ain’t easy. I had my good and bad days like getting cited by cops or not making enough pay in a day but it’s about staying at it and being consistent if you really love it and that’s your dream. It paid off for sure though and I met a lot of industry folks doing it.
You’ve been consistently dropping videos lately, we saw the one where you worked with Statik Selektah from a few years ago, how was that?
Yeah, Statik is cool AF. He ain’t one of those people in the game who think they all high and mighty. He’s humble despite what he’s done in the industry so it was always love. I was an underdog at the time and he looked out for me in a few ways. I’ll never forget it man so shout-out my guy Statik!
Los Angeles, is where you currently reside right now, what made you make that transition from Philly to Los Angeles, did you feel you hit a ceiling in Philly?
Crazy you said that because yea I did feel like I hit a plateau low-key. At the time, I felt like I had pretty much did it all in Philly. Hustled the streets, opened up for artists, exchanged info with some of the biggest artists in the game and nothing was really clicking.
It was like an ongoing cycle. It didn’t really hit me until I was hustling on South Street in front of TLA and Wallo so happened to be there. He came up to me and was like “I love what you doing out here youngin! I see you! Just one thing though, take what you doing out here in Philly and do it out Cali man. You should branch out!”
It was crazy because I was already thinking of moving to LA so it just pushed me even more to do it. So shout-out Wallo267 man! On top of that, it was always a dream of mine to live in Cali since a young’n for sure. Sometimes you need that motivation outside ya circle especially if everyone around you is stagnant.
As far as story goes, you definitely had it rough like many hip-hop artists from the situation with family and much more, there is nothing like an artist living his truth, speak on it?
It’s lessons and levels. The only way to level up is to go through an obstacle, break through that obstacle and obtain said goal. Philly made me, my struggle made me, my environment made me. It prepares you for the worst and makes you want to strive for the best. Without the struggle how would you know how to appreciate your blessing? If you ain’t talking about your life in your music then how will your community relate to you?
The video to “Blind Man” is really dope, this was released during the pandemic, what made you stay focused during such a rough time for music artists and the industry as a whole?
Thanks. Well, when you are willing to die for what you love and what you believe in there ain’t no limits and I for sure wasn’t going to let a pandemic nor COVID limit me from pursuing my dreams. I just acted as if nothing changed. I risked my life for this dream many times. Why would it be any different today?
Ayem2PM music is your label, while you are an artist yourself, what’s the vision for the label you run?
To keep it short and simple, I envision it to be like a modern day “Roc-a-fella”. Of course with my own style and ways of running it but that’s one of the inspirations for sure. Ayem2PM is about hustle, consistency, determination and dedication. So we plan to show that by example. It ain’t about the talk its the action. You could be focused on making that move in those same exact seconds that you chose to talk. Silence is everything.
The record, “Hollywood,” is dope and the video is, too. Can you talk about this record and the new project, Passage?
“Hollywood” as well as the whole project “Passage” was kind of expressing my celebration of the present while reflecting on the past. Being from where I’m from, you would never think of making it out to live in Hollywood.
People barely make it out of the neighborhood let alone a whole different side of the country or the world. I use to look out my window and daydream as if I was in Hollywood walking down the red carpet or chilling on the beach feeling the breeze. I finally have the chance to make that a reality. Coming to Hollywood might not be a big deal for some and I could understand that because they background may have been different. Man, It was a big deal for me and that’s real.
Do you have any final message for the fans?
I appreciate everybody who is supporting me before the hype because those are the ones that really count. After the hype it just isn’t as special or as genuine. So I love and appreciate those who are apart of “the before the hype” journey. Aside from that, I got a lot of things planned so just stay tapped in. I won’t let y’all down. Peace and love man!