For those involved and associated with the hip hop game here in the UK, particularly on the south coast and acapella battle rap circuit, TenchoO is a man who is known to have lived and breathed the music for the best part of two decades and is a staunch defender of freestyle rap and original lyricism.
Having won the Don’t Flop Doubles 2010, Jump-Off in 2012, and featured on Charlie Sloth’s Fire in the Booth, this 100% bonified emcee now has three solo albums to his name including his latest, the recently released LP ‘Live from the Crojo’. Guestlist caught up with the man gifted with heavyweight freestyle rap skills and multisyllabic wizardry to find out more about the album and what he’s been up to.
So it’s been around four years since your last release, ‘Panic Room Number Nine’, what have you been doing since then? After the release of PR, I hit the road with it on what we called the “9 Therapy Tour”. After around a year of promoting & selling the record, things slowed down & I started focusing more on raising my son. I was however still gradually working on this album as I did want to eventually release it, but only when it was how I envisioned it.
Fair. So you dropped 'Game Face', the first single from the album back in December 2018, with the album penned in to be released in 2019. What delayed the release till now? I wanted to release the album in a way which I felt was correct. It had to be through the right avenue. I also had a lot to learn about directly getting paid through digital releases. For the previous albums I’ve not handled that side of things so this self-sufficiency was a real learning curve. I also had to ensure the sound was as good as it could be for the budget I had so there were many times I took the record to different engineers for mix & mastering. Sometimes it just wasn’t right so I’d take the record back and go elsewhere with it until I had the desired sound.
Describe ‘Live from the Crojo’ in five words? Conceptual, Pure, Honest, Atmospheric, Personal
Unapologetic in your description! So what have you been feeling and listening to recently? I normally always reroute back to the albums I listen to on rotation but recently I’ve been checking the latest K-Rino album “Mind Vision”, “Camouflage Regime” from Tragedy Khadafi & Vinnie Paz, Diabolic’s “The Disconnect” along with the recent number of Redman tracks which have dropped. Even heard a new track by Ice-T which was fire.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you at a live show? Haha random question but off the top I don’t think anything too peculiar has happened, I always do my best to determine a show goes smoothly haha…...other than certain people getting on stage with my consent & dancing wildly, nothing too crazy I can really recall.
Name three of your favourite features that you’ve done on other emcee’s tracks... My appearance on Life MC’s “Gift Of Life” album was a big moment as i’ve been a Phi-Life Cypher fan before the millennium came (no pun intended) so that’s 1. Another is the song I did with Joey Menza on IMS’s “Drug Corpse” compilation titled “Recitals Of Pain”. I like this track because I feel the verse I wrote was the start of another evolutionary stage on my journey as an emcee. I began to convert thoughts into whole verses from here. The third track has to be “Overdoze 2.0” with Proton (Germany) & Cripsylon (Italy). I say this track because it brought three dudes from different nations together solely for the love of the genre. The vibe & energy on the song is sick & supersedes the language barrier. Great moment.
Hip hop is an international language right? So it’s been a minute since you were a regular on the battle circuit. Is it something you’d think about going back to? Not ideally. Depends on the money & the opponent. I’m not really interested in battling “battle rappers” no more. I’d rather battle someone who is on a similar road to myself.
How do you feel about the scene at the moment? I occasionally check certain battles. It’s not buzzing like it was, but I still have a look.
For sure. Name two producers who you’d love to cut a record with... DJ Muggs & Preemo.
If there was a message that you wanted to get across with your music, what would it be? You are the only one stopping yourself from doing what you want to do.
Real Talk. So what are your plans for the rest of 2020? I want to hit the road with this album. We’re currently arranging a tour “The Misty Haze Tour” & we plan to start this from March. I also plan to have another new project complete by the end of the year, we’ve been working out here haha.
Looking forward to seeing you out on tour and hearing more of your music. Finally, So if you had any advice to give to an aspiring rapper, what would it be? If you enjoy doing this then nothing can stop you. Don’t be afraid of hard work or opinions. You won’t impress everyone but you will impress many!
With over 12 producers contributing to the music on Live From The Crojo, TenchoO effortlessly imposes himself over the curated selection, with many of the beats sounding as if they would be right at home on a Jedi Mind Tricks or Gangstarr record. Highlights include the intro ‘Warm Welcome’ and ‘From An Ideal World’, exemplifying the depth of Tenchoo’s industry insight and social commentary, ‘Just a Dot’ featuring tusty boom bap production by DJ Evi Denz and strong vocals from Sara Manfredda as well as the music of long time collaborator Haji who, from the sounds of ‘Catacombs’ and ‘Pyroglyphics’ (which features a guest verse from Life MC), has been busy perfecting his haunting, mesmerising production style.
Live from the Crojo is a shout out to all the real emcees putting in work and an album that sets the bar high in terms of actual rapping skills. As you would expect from an emcee like TenchoO, the record is a feast of lyricism delivered over a curated selection of bumping hip hop beats. If his vivid storytelling skills, expert crafted punches and battle bars don’t keep you listening, his endless array of flows will likely keep you fully hypnotised over the album’s hour or so duration.
Check out his new video below, you can stream and cop Live from the Crojo here
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