COLUMBIA — Rhyme University is a rap group of two brothers who live hundreds of miles apart but still manage to make music together.
Charles and Tony Iyoho have just recorded the 11-track album "Sunshine Tears," and Rhyme University makes a stop tonight at Mojo's in Columbia. Only Charles Iyoho will be on stage.
The brothers perform whenever work allows, but they admit it doesn't happen often. Tony Iyoho, 31, lives and works in Peoria, Ill., as an engineer for Caterpillar. Right now, he can't get away.
Tony Iyoho is the one who makes beats on an Akai MPC–2000 MIDI Production Center. He then sends the beats to his 26-year-old brother, who lives and works in Marshall, Texas, as a news reporter.
“He comes up with the concepts,” Tony Iyoho said. “Then I go with it.”
They have an uncommon background for rap artists. Their parents are Nigerian immigrants, and both brothers attended MU before moving on with their careers.
Tony Iyoho got into hip-hop in Columbia through a weekly freestylerap session on KCOU/88.1 FM in the mid-'90s. He then began to write poetry and freestyle-rap.
“It wasn’t much of a stretch to go from poetry to rap,” he said.
Charles Iyoho remembers that his brother would listen to Nirvana and the Wu Tang Clan when he started making music. He said he was inspired by his brother's writing and began putting together his own rap lyrics when he was 13.
Rhyme University has built a solid fan base in Columbia, where their collaboration originated.
“We did a lot of open mics," Charles Iyoho said. "It will be good to get back in touch with them."
The duo is part of a hip-hop collective, or label, called Indyground. Columbia artist Steddy P is also in the label and will also play Mojo’s tonight.