Ashley Walters (a.k.a. Asher D) is originally well known for his work with the U.K. street music pioneer group So Solid Crew. But Asher has way more to receive credit for; he’s a well established actor, solo artist, production company director and proud father of three. And he’s accomplished all this with his own hard work and determination. Straight from the streets. Nothing handed to him.
One of you best qualities as an MC is the reality that you bring to your lyrics. Do you think there is a great absence of reality in main stream music?
Asher D: I feel that most lyrics written come from some reality! I think the difference between the main stream and the underground is that down here we all tend to take pride in constructing and developing our own lyrics and flows, whereas in the main stream it is quite normal to have tracks or lyrics written for you. Those songs are probably still based on the reality of the person that wrote them, just not the artists that are performing them.
I’m sure you know the negative sell out opinion many people feel 50 Cent has given hip hop. He seems to be a big part of the ‘gangster pop’ that’s having such a bad effect on today’s youth. Do you support him and the impression he is giving people of hip hop and working class and ethnic minority kids everywhere?
Asher D: First of all whatever 50 Cent talks about is based upon the specific experiences that have occurred in his life. His influence alone cannot be blamed for negativity amongst the youth of today. As far as I’m concerned, and most other mcs, he is an inspiration, the positive things he has achieved should be as widely published as the rest. He has been very successful in the business world and he is a young black man who came from the street. Now he is inspiring and creating an opening for a lot of others walking the same path to step through!
Does it bother you that you may have lost some fans due to being in his film?
Asher D: On the contrary I believe I have gained fans from my role in “Get Rich Or Die Tryin”, before that movie I was only known in the UK. That role as well as Hustle has put me on the map in the USA and got me a lot more work around the world, if that’s losing fans so be it.
Was there a particular artist or album that inspired you to MC?
Asher D: There was no specific artist that inspired me to mc it was just my love of music in general. I think I channelled my creativity in the way that was most relevant to me at the time and now.
If you had to pick one of your own songs to define you as an artist and person which would pick and why?
Asher D: I would pick M.O. this tracks concept is based on what is in my blood this means what I do and how I do it.
I know you’re independent label AD82 has been running for a while now. Can you tell us about some of your artists we should check out?
Asher D: First of all we have Thezbian, who was the first artist we signed at the age of 17, he is a producer that has a background in classical music and jazz funk, this combination created a new sound which dominated “In Memory Of The Street Fighter” and “Cure For Cancer” albums – check em out. We also just signed an act called Ezra, he is a rapper that is heavily influenced by rock music wild combination, watch out for him. Last but not least we have AK he is an actor singer, rapper, and beat maker he is heavily involved in his acting at the moment but has a release date that is imminent.
You’ve had a ranged and successful acting career. With your strong sense of awareness and honesty you could probably produce something proper influential yourself. Do you have any impulse to step behind the camera and do so?
Asher D: Yes I do, but not without the experience needed to do so. This means I need to tread the boards and always be observant on set. When the right project comes along I will know its time.
So you’ve got this new album coming out now…I know how ‘In Memory Of A Street Fighter’ was all about personal or close to hand experiences. What’s the deal with this album?
Asher D: This album will be following along the same lines, that’s what I do, the only difference this time is that it is predominantly grime orientated and I am a lot more hungry due to the fact that people feel I am a new comer on the grime scene even though we all known different.
What was the writing process like? Was it planned or did it come together itself gradually?
Asher D: Unusually this time the album was very planned, that is due to my meticulous A&R at AD82 Productions – (the company where I am a Director) Laurence Ezra. The process for me writing has been much easier considering this genre of music comes so naturally to me.
Looking back to the beginning of your music career, what part do you think So Solid played in the UK Street music scene?
Asher D: We opened the door that is yet to be closed, but our success is yet to be beaten, I think people understand without that period of time there would be no now.
As far as U.K. hip hop goes what do you think of the whole concept that MCs either stay underground and respected by their local bredrin, or they get signed, get big and their original supporters don't want anything to do with them?
Asher D: As far as I am concerned, the people that believe when you are signed and become successful that you are selling out; are not the people purchasing my product. They are just critics. Who cares what they think? I am trying to get out of the hood.
You’ve already managed to get through a hell of a lot at 25.What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?
Asher D: Being a father of 3 and still being around for my kids, how many dads can do that?
Finally, is there anything else you want to tell your British audience?
Asher D: Keep supporting and remember I am no better than you with a plan, tweezey.
‘The…’ looks to be a confirmation of Asher’s talent, success and undisputable drive for an ever widening goal. Be sure to check his acting skills in Bullet Boy, Waz, Life and Lyrics, House of 9, Hustle, and alongside 50 cent in Get Rich or Die Tryin’, plus many more hard hitting classic performances.
Of course, although it’s sad to say; So Solid is most notorious for the gun controversy that surrounded the group, resulting in Asher’s 18 month imprisonment. I think it’s only right to point out how his talents outweigh the stereotypically negative media feast of U.K. hip hop. Whatever happened in the past, he’s paid his time and made up for any mistakes.
After all, he is clearly setting himself out to be nothing but a positive torch-holder and honest example for Britain’s average youth.