Ayem Honcho is taking the West Philly rap scene to Hollywood. The 29-year old rapper has been on the grind for a minute and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. With bars of steel and a passion for honest lyricism to match, it’s clear that Honcho’s reign is far from over.
Who is Ayem Honcho?
Born in Center City Philadelphia, Ahmeer Wade Mosely, professionally Ayem Honcho, is a rapper, songwriter, engineer and entrepreneur.
Growing up he lived in a few different neighborhoods in the city, and hardship seemed to move with him and his family. The stories Ayem Honcho talks about in his lyrics aren’t made up, and neither is his struggle.
Ayem Honcho in NYC via @ayemhoncho on Instagram
Mosely has been experimenting with music since he was only seven. At the age of 11, he started recording himself onto CD’s and tapes. He was recording his own voice by 16 with his own mic and setup.
Without more luxurious resources like a studio, Honcho figured out songwriting, recording and audio engineering himself. Anyone who has fiddled around in a digital audio workstation with no practice knows just how difficult this can be.
Music serves Honcho as a passion, but it has always been an outlet as well. There were times when he would lock himself in his room all day and just bang out new music. In high school alone, he recorded hundreds during a battle with depression, yet he continued to promote his work on social media.
Getting Shit Done Right
After gaining some local notoriety, Honcho broke through to the mainstream back in 2012 when he got the chance to open for Logic, and also perform at a Vitamin Water-sponsored event in 2013. Since then, he kicked his professional career off in 2016..
That year he released his mixtape “Another Plan A.” This mix is all about how friends and family tried to persuade him to take the “standard route” and go to college and get a stable job. College did not suit Honcho, however. After dropping out he concluded that there was no other “Plan A” for him except music, let alone a Plan B.
This EP contains his top track The Vibe which has over 30k Spotify hits.
Ayem Honcho traversed the tri-state area over the next few years performing shows and selling as many CD’s as possible. He would even perform free shows just to get his name into people’s heads. One example of his hustle, Honcho had to go to court because police officers attempted to get him fined for illegally selling his music. Fortunately, he won the dispute and was never bothered again.
In 2017, Honcho started his own music company Ayem2pm (AM2PM) with the nonstop grind as a core competency. By this point he had also been networking in the tri-state and performed alongside the likes of DMX, Beanie Sigel, Gillie Da Kid and Hopsin.
The streets of Philadelphia were not exactly accommodating to an artist the likes of Ayem Honcho. He had watched as brothers and cousins were engulfed in drug dealing and friends were killed before him. Honcho (and his mother, according to his track West Philadelphia) refused to let his home turf define him. In 2019, using money from CD sales and 9-5’s, he moved to California. This exodus is what his newest album Passage is all about.
Passage by Ayem Honcho
Passage is an hour-long rap odyssey about grinding to reach the green grass on the other side. Tons of bangers in this release like South Street, named after the first street Ayem Honcho started selling CD’s on. Rags to Royalties and Quicksand are also killer tracks with similar themes about money and getting it right quick so he can kick his feet up.
Hollywood was originally a part of Passage, and it serves as the climax for the album. “Finally made it to Hollywood” is the refrain on this one, for instance. It’s little pointers like this that show that Honcho is following his life’s timeline in Passage.
What makes Ayem Honcho’s music so good is that it’s all real and his bars are slick as hell. This is his experience and his story at the same time. Definitely give him a peep to witness his auditory swagger yourself.