Black History Makers: Hackney rapper on turning life around after jail time

Man in blue coat and black hoodie

Rimzee has just launched his second album, Upper Clapton Dream 2. - Credit: PicsByFlitch

A Hackney rapper who has turned his life around after spending years in prison is urging the Black community to be proactive in looking out for each other.

Ricardo Miles, who raps under Rimzee, was sentenced to 13 years after shooting at an unmarked police car while on a bike in Mandeville Street in 2012, when he was 21 years old. 

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He served half his sentence, and is now out and hoping to inspire young people to stay away from crime. 

“Back then, I was young and misguided and I did something and I had to pay the cost for my actions,” he said, encouraging everyone to reach towards their aspirations and for Black people to support each other’s ventures.

He said: “When I was in prison, I was growing and I was losing time, there is lots of stuff I have to do – I am not jealous because I have to pay for what I did – but coming out I found everyone was stuck and not doing anything.

“Prison was almost like university because I learned about myself and met people from different cultures and backgrounds and before I went to prison I was around people I felt had love for me, but going to prison, I found that wasn’t the case.”

The 29-year-old, who went to school in Stamford Hill, said those people did not write letters or check in on his family.

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“Now I associate myself with people who do love me,” Rimzee said. “It’s instinct from their actions, [for example] when someone offers you opportunities after you’ve come out with a criminal record and it is hard to get a normal job.”

Rimzee released a new album in November, Upper Clapton Dream 2, and has his own recording studio in West London.

“I would like to say to them (young people) that coming from our world, you think you are damned and that you can’t do anything,” he said.

“But if you do it the right way, there are so many more chances.”

He said if you do things right “your blessings keep coming”.

The rapper added: “When I win, I want all my friends to win.

“I don’t want to be the only guy winning, what’s the point in that?”