About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Azeem
Monday, April 06, 2009

I’ve been a fan of Azeem since I first heard Craft Classic in 2001. Each one of his albums since then has either met or exceeded my expectations. Lyrically gifted, Azeem’s music is both politically poignant and fantastically funky and over the years I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him for a number of publications and websites. Just last month, in a huge accomplishment for a socially conscious artist, his video for “Open Em Up” was voted a favorite by BET.com users. This week I caught up with Azeem to talk about his life and his work and he opened up about dropping out of school at a very young age, the creativity behind another one of his videos, “Latin Revenge,” and what he sees in America’s immediate future. Azeem is known as a bit of a Nostradamus as many of his predictions from his previous albums have come true, so don’t take his words lightly, we might very well end up living them!

Adam Bernard: Let’s start with a little bit of personal history. Hit me with one or two events that you feel really helped shape you as an artist.
Azeem: Honestly, the most influential event for me as an artist was dropping out of school in seventh grade. I was forced to go to other schools, but never made it through the year. That made me a free-thinker, less of a follower when it comes to my style. The other thing would be travel; from India and the Maldives to Myrtle Beach to Paris. If you don’t travel you’re missing a big part of life and levity. My mom worked for the airlines, so we were always going to Jamaica for the summer and she let me fly alone a lot as a teenager, too, so travel definitely had an affect on me.

Adam Bernard: You recently released a video for “Latin Revenge,” which is off of Air Cartoons. It’s an incredibly creative clip. What were some of the concepts you had for it and how did you go about bringing those concepts to life?
Azeem: Man, that video is the BEST video I’ve ever had. To be honest, I can’t take too much credit for what Ben Stokes did. He is a master of animation and I’m honored to have worked with him. The most I did was make sure the video had black folks in it. He was going around the Mission District in San Francisco taking photos of people for the video. Then he would take peoples heads and put them on different bodies to give it that bugged out effect. Well, most brothas in the Mission District are about their business and don’t like skinny white guys taking their picture, feel me? Anyway, he found some real characters for it and it’s the best shit ever.

Adam Bernard: “Latin Revenge” got me to thinking, where the heck did all the creativity go in Hip-Hop? Has it faded significantly, or was it always just a select few artists who engaged in it?
Azeem: My song did that? Cool. It must have been there, or it would have died. It must STILL be here cuz Azeem is still here. Groups like Little Brother, artists like Lupe Fiasco, Andre 3000, Jay Electronica, Styles P, etc. The list goes on. It’s just that RAP music is what is being presented as Hip-Hop to the people. That’s my own opinion, though. Also, the only music that is pushed in the mainstream is that which deals with things of people’s lower nature, like sex, lust, money, greed, ego, etc. How many “Girl I Wanna Fuck You,” or “We Get Money,” songs can a mafucka write?

Adam Bernard: So where would you like to take Hip-Hop and where would you like Hip-Hop to take you (that it hasn’t already)?
Azeem: I took Hip-Hop into the theater realm with my one man play, Rude Boy. I wanted to expose people who are generally outside of our culture to the poetic craft and street philosophies that our music has to offer. The play was a success and got extended twice. I plan on bringing it forward again but Air Cartoons and the next Azeem and Zeph album has me busy. Hip-Hop has taken me to 25 different countries and counting.

Adam Bernard: It sounds like through both your teenage travel experiences and your touring experiences you’ve seen a good chunk of the world. What are your thoughts on some of the scenes you’ve seen? How do they differ from your own, what would you like to see incorporated from their scenes into yours and vice versa?
Azeem: I like how in Europe, for example, people will go see Talib Kwali and Azeem one night, then go to a Coldplay or an electronic show the next. Music in America is more of a race thing. “Black” people have rap. “White” people have… guitars. Latin and Mexicans have horn and tubas. Things are more open now, but we still need to open up to other genres of music, especially when it comes to Hip-Hop fans.

Adam Bernard: Finally, since you’re a lyrical Nostradamus, any bold predictions for the next few years?
Azeem: Of course. The Amero is coming. Obama ain’t all he’s packaged up to be, however he is slated to be the Disclosure President who will disclose basic information regarding extraterrestrials to the people. There will be another Columbine type “tragedy” which will push legislation to drastically change gun laws BECAUSE it’s goin down in 2011 and they want the population unarmed. The “War on Drugs” will place more inner-city males in prison than ever before. Hollywood is already beginning its series of 2012 doomsday type movies in order to shape people’s minds toward the protection of Big Brother while making people who KNOW something major is happening seem crazy. And as more and more trinkets are fed to people, hologram technology is going to revolutionize sports and entertainment. Bootleg Kanye concert anyone?

Related Links

Website: mcazeem.com
MySpace: myspace.com/mcazeem
Label: oaklynrecords.com
YouTube: youtube/oaklynTV


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:33 AM  
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