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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Albert Rhymestein
Monday, September 13, 2010

Albert Rhymestein remembers his first attempt at freestyling. “I first freestyled in a McDonald's while on an 7th grade field trip. It was over a Snoop Dogg and Warren G instrumental, and I was absolutely terrible.” Since then his skills have been honed to the point where people in New York City have started to ask, who’s the new guy kicking ass in all the freestyle competitions?

Relatively new to the city having moved to Brooklyn just a year ago, Albert Rhymestein is quickly making a name for himself. He has a solo project on the way that’s being produced by Spills, a team project with BS, and, of course, you can always find him freestyling somewhere. This week I caught up with the scene’s newest rising star to find out more about his history, his music, and what makes his Fam!LL crew so ill.

Adam Bernard: Start me off with a little bit of your history. Where are you from and what was your journey in hip-hop like growing up?
Albert Rhymestein: I was born in Lewes, Delaware, a stones throw from the Atlantic Ocean. I spent all 18 years of my pre-collegiate existence living in the same house in Milford, Delaware. Milford is a small town, not single-traffic-light small, but with an almost complete lack of culture symptomatic to small towns. I first got into hip-hop in middle school through my then best friend, a lifetime hip-hop head who took me under his wing as the “not cool” kid. He listened to a lot of more mainstream artists, but he also exposed me to Wu-Tang, Tupac, Biggie, Big L, and many other incredible emcees. I drifted from hip-hop once that friendship faded, but underwent my own personal hip-hop renaissance once I started skateboarding. All of my favorite skate videos had dope hip-hop soundtracks (from artists like) The Roots, Slum Village, Atmosphere, Gang Starr, Dilated Peoples, and The Pharcyde that had me mesmerized. I was left fiending for more, so I started listening to as much hip-hop as I could find. My friend Jorge, who I used to skate with, basically became my hip-hop partner-in-crime. We spent a while trying to write graffiti. We tried to learn how to breakdance. We got into DJing together. Rapping, however, turned out to be where I really had natural talent. Being an emcee ties together the different, though obviously related, parts of myself: my fascination with, and love for, language and storytelling, my natural inclinations toward performance, and my musical training and sensibilities - I double majored in English and Music, with a vocal performance concentration.

Adam Bernard: What do you think you have in common with Albert Einstein... or am I making a horrible assumption that that’s where you got your name from and in actuality it’s an old family name?
Albert Rhymestein: {laughs} I wish that I was born an Einstein. There would be big shoes to fill, but I'd be packing some serious genetics. Honestly, though, I admire Einstein as a brilliant scientist and thinker. “Albert Rhymestein” just came to me one night a few years ago and stuck. I loved the absurdity of the pseudonym, because while referencing an incredibly influential modern intellectual, it does not take itself too seriously, and I basically consider myself to be an intelligent human being/emcee who does not take himself too seriously.

Adam Bernard: You’re part of the next generation of emcees in NYC. What was the initial reaction you received when you came into the scene?
Albert Rhymestein: I was given a warm but skeptical welcome. My first interaction with the NYC scene was Hip-Hop Subway Series last December. It was a well attended, star-studded representation of NYC talent. That was also the first time I really met Grey Matter, though we went to the same small liberal arts school in Pennsylvania. I got to rhyme some during the cyphers, and spit a verse at the open mic, and everyone there was supportive and receptive. I could definitely tell that, as an unknown newcomer, I was being watched and evaluated, though. I was not at my freestyle prime, either, having so often freestyled for non-rappers, as opposed to side-by-side with experienced emcees, so it was a humbling and inspiring experience. Ever since then I've been met with continued support, having had the opportunity to work with a number of the artists who have been making waves before I even starting writing songs. The hip-hop scene in NYC is a community, through and through, and the love remains the same whether bumping into someone at a show, rocking next to them on stage, or eating barbecued chicken skewers.

Adam Bernard: I know you’re working on a group project with BS titled Dollar Coffee. How are things going with it?
Albert Rhymestein: The Dollar Coffee project has already been a fun and challenging experience for both BS and I. With this album we want to display our versatility and unique styles as artists, while utilizing the strong, natural, chemistry between us to create songs that bang but also merit repeated listens. The project has also given us a space to try a lot of new things together while not settling for mediocrity. We've been highly critical of one another to ensure that we're creating quality music. I am resisting the instinct to name some of the super fresh producers/emcees that we're working with on this album, because I want it to be a little bit of a mystery for as long as possible. I like the fact that though most cats in this scene know we're brewing up an album together, they have no idea what kind of spices we're using.

Adam Bernard: Speaking of the spices you work with, tell me about Fam!LL.
Albert Rhymestein: Fam!LL consists of emcees BS, Warren Britt, MC Faceman, Truth Now, and myself, emcee/poet Steve Fox, beatboxer Grey Matter, and vocalist QV. We're a loose, in no way exclusive, collective of friends and like-minded artists who consistently support one another regardless of the endeavor. Fam!LL is all BS, and as such I consider him the founder and grand-pappy of the crew. More than likely, a Fam!LL mixtape will enter the world of the living some time in the near future and when it does it will be hilarious and iller than an ER waiting room during flu season.

Adam Bernard: What’s been the wildest Fam!LL moment you’ve experienced and how well do you think that moment defines the crew?
Albert Rhymestein: Though I wouldn't even label it as wild, we had a Fam!LL, sans QV & Truth Now, BBQ in Prospect Park about this summer. We grilled up a feast, had some beers and mojitos, and just enjoyed each other's company. That's one of the things I love most about hip-hop; it's not just about the music, or your career, or business relationships, but at the core of it all are real and lasting friendships between creative, talented, people.

Related Links

Facebook: facebook.com/arhymestein
Twitter: twitter.com/arhymestein
YouTube: Dollar Coffee promo


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:47 AM  
  • At 9:35 AM, Blogger The MC Faceman said…

    fam!LLy yall! dope interview!

  • At 10:14 AM, Blogger Homeboy Sandman said…

    this cat is brilliant! i'm seen him live on several occasions and he truly is one of a kind. definitely someone to watch for.

  • At 10:14 AM, Blogger Warren said…

    Albert Rhymestein is the all around complete Emcee package as far as Skills, Freestyle, and Entertainment levels are concerned. He's one of the Freshest! Fam !LL First!

  • At 4:06 PM, Blogger MINDCONTROL INQUIRY said…

    just did a track with him and Team Shells
    track called ADRENALINE CAGE...
    DJ MINDCONTROL....word this kids dope!

  • At 7:25 PM, Blogger Dave said…

    [my fam!LL]

    congrats AR! i'm honored to be your half&half of Dollar Coffee. Rhymestein is on some next level shit- whether off the head or written. spend a few hours with the man and your razor tongue will either be sharpened or hemorridging disbelief-- not only that, he's one of the best dudes you could ever meet. Rhymstein for President!

  • At 12:51 AM, Blogger Victoria said…

    One of the most talented people I have had the pleasure of meeting!! Great interview! I wish you nothing but success!! xoxoo

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