All photos provided by ed cañas
TiRon & Ayomari are an amazingly talented rap duo out of the west coast. MEFeater got a chance to talk to them about their careers and how they navigated the music industry. They talked about their project WET: The Wonderful Ego Trip and the understated importance of being different in life and in music. These two clearly make music for the love of it and utilizes it to spread consciously positive and uplifting messages. Their unique sound is a breath of fresh air in many aspects. Take a listen to their sound and read our conversation below.
How did you guys meet?
Ayomari: We actually started talking to each other on Yahoo Chat 2001 or 2002?
TiRon: No more like 03’ or 04’
Ayomari: Oh for real? Yeah, we used to talk in these freestyle chat rooms. TiRon will go on there and play songs and I would be rap battling people through a little computer microphone. After I graduated high school I eventually moved over to the Bay Area for college and TiRon was like “You should come down to LA where he was staying.” And that’s how we first came together.
So you were always making music?
TiRon: Yes I played the violin, the trumpet, the drums and many other instruments growing
Ayomari: I was more into creating comic books and writing my own short stories. I always had a knack for words so kind of came naturally to me. I watched my older brother rap and picked it up from him.
“Black is way more than they might ever show on television.”
You guys have very genuine sound with live instrumentation? Why did you choose that rather than the 808 beats and traps beats today?
TiRon: I always had an appreciation for real music. I always have a respect for that type music from the likes of Radiohead to Smashing Pumpkins to Nirvana and learned the musicality of those amazing records. James Fauntleroy was the one who put me on to the guitar and told me that would help my writing.
Ayomari: We had a wide range of music artists and genre we into and we never felt like we had to stick with one genre. We had influences that came out natural. On our first project, you can hear us experimenting with certain songs and stuff.
TiRon: Which is interesting too. The stigma is “Ah, you black. You’re not supposed to be doing music like this.” We had a few A&Rs tell us they would like to work with us but it would be better if this kind music came from white artists.
Oh, they told you straight up like that?
TiRon: Straight up. And that just brings it back to what my mom said. “You don’t have to be what you think you’re supposed to be based on who people want you to be.” Black is way more than they might ever show on television. The idea that speaking proper is white or listening to this is white. It’s a very narrow view of black, really. We wanted to change the idea of how black music is seen. It’s not just 808 beats and trap hi-hats.
How did you guys know that making music together was the right thing?
TiRon: We started doing songs and found out we had a nice little rhythm going. It was one of those things like if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Let’s keep working.
Ayomari: When we first met TiRon did not like me at all. I was very arrogant and self-assured rapper. But the more we got to know each other I found out he was a cool dude. I realized there was a lot more to music than just rapping.
Were you guys ever interested in signing to a label or is it better to stay independent?
Ayomari: Yeah we had interest in being with a label. It just never aligned with us. I think as artists the music industry when you first begin is a learning process. You have missteps here and there.
TiRon: Really it is just finding good people to work with. We are open to anything if the feeling is right. Right now our chemistry is cool so if nothing fucks that up I’m good.
Ayomari: Because there are perks over independence. To be able to make sure your stuff is tight and make sure your vision gets across. Labels sometimes can mismanage your vision.It’s important to know who you. It’s sacred. You have to be protective of that.
Okay, so now you have your new album called WET: Wonderful Ego Trip. The music is very positive uplifting rap music. Why did you guys decide to go that route lyrically?
TiRon: It’s very important because I believe a very large percentage of music in black communities is very degrading and very self-involved. We wanted to put a spin on it.
“The beauty of music is it doesn’t have to be this exclusive thing.”
What does being wet represent when it comes to egos?
TiRon: It kind of represents sweat. The moment that you are bothered is the moment you start to notice your ego. Which is the reason why the album starts off with the kid being clowned. Because as humans, that’s the first time we become aware of our egos. It’s bad when you’re being made fun of for things you cannot control.
Ayomari: All of these experiences in our music comes from our personal lives. Sucker For Pumps was about relationships, the Great New Wonderful was about avoiding external negative forces, and WET is reflective of navigating the pitfalls of the industry and remembering why we make music.
How does your fan base respond to this? What are they like?
TiRon: Our fan base is actually really appreciative. They are all different types of people, which is crazy because it’s like, woah, everybody kind of relates to this. No matter who you are. The beauty of music is it doesn’t have to be this exclusive thing. It can be inclusive to break down barriers. Our fan base keeps us wanting to make music about self-discovery as we learn and share things that we are learning.
Ayomari: I feel the same way. It’s great that’s the things we were influenced by is so broad. And being able to find that commonality thy we all have. I think that’s what people need more than ever. The things that keep us celebrated are not necessarily the things we should be focused on. We focused too much on our differences.
TiRon: it’s also cool that they allow us to grow. Like when Kendrick Lamar did To Pimp a Butterfly, there were a lot of fans that were like no bother wants to hear that. To me, that’s my favorite Kendrick album.
“A lot of people get taken advantage of because the music industry is not made to help artists. It is made to help business. It’s important that people have control.”
In rap today there’s a lot of pretending. A strong component of your music is humility.
Ayomari: Yeah, we all learning and growing we ain’t gotta figure it out. You know? When you’re pushing that idea that you’re the shit, after a while, it doesn’t come off as genuine. It’s not reflective of living life on Earth.
It’s great that you guys don’t promote drug use as well.
TiRon: it’s a slippery slope though. It’s more about the mental health thing. It doesn’t matter if your rapping about drinking alcohol in the club or drinking lean. They are both depressive properties. Lean is not the same as alcohol, but it more so depends on where you’re mind is. Some people let the pressure get to them. Those people may already have pre-existing conditions.
Any advice for younger artists who want a healthy career and great following?
TiRon: Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry and thank you. It can go a long way.
Ayomari: And also take time to learn about the music business. A lot of people get taken advantage of because the music industry is not made to help business. It is made to help artists. It’s important that people have control.
TiRon: Also don’t let other people tell you what your win is supposed to look like. Everybody has their own path. You’re right where you want to be. God don’t make no mistakes.
Stream The Wonderful Ego Trip on Apple Music and Spotify
Keep track of TiRON & Ayomari at tironandayomari.net
Follow @tiron, @ayomari, and @tironandayomari on twitter.