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Air cartoons: Rapper Azeem in his own words

March 18, 2009

by POCC Minister of Information JR

Azeem with his daughter, Sana
Azeem with his daughter, Sana
Azeem is definitely one of the artists in the Bay’s soundscape who puts the “c” in creative. One unique thing about Oakland, where this MC lives, is that it does not have one distinct sound; you got musicians as diverse as Tony, Toni, Tone, Askari X, Silk E, Digital Underground, Too Short and Souls of Mischief, who have created their own unique sound within the many Oakland sounds.

By listening to the sound of Azeem’s music, the average music lover cannot tell what coast he is reigning from, which is good because he is not a user of “successful” cookie cutter beats or rhymes. He’s an original. Zeem is the rapper’s rapper, a creative lyricist, a good beat picker, a conscious mind, and the brotha also has some good fashion sense.

Nowadays you not only don’t get all that in just a rapper, but not even in your average musician. He’s the whole package, so artists of the future better look out.

Me and Azeem would admit that this inner-view is long overdue, so here I am presenting one of the Bay Area’s many musical geniuses to the readers.

Note to music lovers: Support dope independent artists with your money as well as your ears. Buy the album and go to the show. That’s what funds them creating dope shit. Now for our inner-view with Azeem …

MOI JR: Where are you from and how did you develop your unique sound?

Azeem: My parents are from Jamaica. I’m from New Jersey and Miami mostly, but I consider the Bay to be home.

MOI JR: I know that you are very well traveled. What is this thing in Hip Hop where whites internationally support the political music intended for Black people (you, Public Enemy, dead prez etc.) more than Black people? If that has been your experience, what are your thoughts on this phenomenon?

Azeem: The issue is the radio and mainstream stations not playing the alternative to the fuckery that’s being pushed out there. Here, for example, all songs on the radio deal with people’s lower nature. Everything is below the waist or based on money and greed. Overseas, they play more real shit. At least there is more of variety available. It’s like the opposite, fa’real.

MOI JR: Out of all the places that you have been to rock shows around the world, what has been your top three favorite cities, and for what reasons?

Azeem in Australia
Azeem in Australia
Azeem: Australia stands out because here I’m just Azeem. I think they had me confused with Will Smith or somebody over there because … Maaaan, it was 100 percent! The whole tour. Japan also stands out because even though they didn’t understand a word we was sayin’, they showed crazy love and really looked after us too. Women were screaming and handing us their jewelry when we got off stage. I thought it was some kind of joke. It wasn’t. Paris is like the European New York City. It was fast paced, they know the music, and it’s got a little danger in the air if you’re in a live area. It felt like home to me.

MOI JR: I was just reading this book where the author, a Black man, said that our community thinks that Hip Hop will save everybody. I know that you have a daughter as well as I know that you live off of your music. What do you teach her?

Azeem: I teach my daughter to be a free thinker. To watch, investigate and listen before she acts. Mostly I teach her to respect her elders and to never surround herself with people below her intelligence. Those lessons got me where I am, but I want her to go further. That’s why I made sure she was born in her mother’s country, the Maldive Islands. I wanted her to have a culture, language and flag she could be proud of. Not one that half rejected her or her ancestors.

MOI JR: What is the newest project that you have been working on? Can you tell us about it?

Azeem: We just finished shooting three major music videos to promote Air Cartoons. Two of them are complete and on YouTube under Azeem. “Open Em Up” was made by people involved with Bat Man and Iron Man animation, so you get an idea of the work put in. The other one, “Latin Revenge,” was done by an animation Jedi and shows me mashing up the Mission District. It’s a classic. Also, just finishing up the next record with DJ Zeph and another with Jay Haze. I’m busy. It’s good. I stay out of trouble that way.

MC Azeem - Photo: Chela Simone
MC Azeem - Photo: Chela Simone
MOI JR: Can you tell us about this contest that you are competing in, where the Bay is facing off against Brooklyn? What can we do to help?

Azeem: B.E.T. chose five artists from the nation to be featured on this new show called “The Deal.” They were already playing “Open Em Up” and people felt it, so I ended up in the competition.

Out of the five artists, the winning numbers are between me and this dude named Theory from Brooklyn. The other artists don’t have many votes, like 2 percent, which is small to my 48 percent. Some days I’m on top; other days it’s Theory. I need the Bay Area to rep itself so we can take this movement nationwide. Who do y’all want to win? Brooklyn or Oakland?

Read all about it here – and vote. (Right now, Theory’s ahead 55-44. – ed.)

And here’s the two videos: “Open Em Up” and “Latin Revenge.”

Azeem can be reached through

One thought on “Air cartoons: Rapper Azeem in his own words


    MAN NIKKA WAS UP!?!?!>

    GET AT ME 8620 PARK LN 75231
    DALLAS TX…APT 1019

    YA DIGG!!!


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