With a new album due this summer with long-time collaborator DJ Zeph, 2009 is proving to be another great year for Bay Area MC Azeem.
Last year’s critically acclaimed album “Air Cartoons” is still gaining attention, recently being the most popular video for the single “Open ‘Em Up” in BET’s “Ya Heard” music video contest.
You may have heard of Azeem as part of the band Telefunken, a live instrument/hip-hp mash up during the early 90’s. He then broke through as a solo artists after testing his lyrics at an open mic, going by the name The Invisble Man, taking first place in a competition with 50 others.
This led to touring with Lollapalooza, sharing stages with George Clinton, A Tribe Called Quest, and The Beastie Boys—to name a few.
Following this was a chain of events which landed Azeem a PBS special with Washington Square Films, two published books, and a ranking spot as second best performance poet in the nation.
In ’97, Azeem was hired by Bay Area artist, Michael Franti, to assist him in composing songs for the second Spearhead album. This lead to two years of world travel where he was a writer and performer with the band. After his third tour, Azeem resigned to further his career.
2000 saw the release of his first solo EP Garage Opera (Heratik) as well as a track on Afro-Mystik’s Future Tropic album. Azeem followed up with the full-length album Craft Classic (Stray). The albums’ single “Rubber Glue” earned the #1 spot on the CMJ radio rap chart.
In early 2004 Azeem was the front man for Mayhemystics (Wide Hive) a mixture of live music and spiritually charged lyrics, which has been nominated for a California Music Award. At the same time he released a second Album (for the year) with Bomb Hip Hop entitled Show Business.
In 2005 Azeem Joined up with the band Colossus (OM records) for the album entitled ” West Oaktown ” He was featured on the single From the Lab.
2007 OM HipHop Released the album RISE UP by DJ Zeph and Azeem and the hit single Play the Drum which Topped the charts in Europe and Australia . This led to touring Australia with Talib Kweli, along with numerous shows in the US and Canada . Azeem also wrote, directed and starred in a the highly acclaimed one man play Rude Boy, where Azeem plays a young man from Jamaica who ends up in working as a janitor a cardboard box factory in America.
Then in 2008 Azeem’s “Play The Drum” was featured on the HBO hit series “Entourage”, along with having several tracks placed in an Adidas ad campaign.
In 2008 Azeem returned, with a third full-length that’s equal parts grit and fun. Air Cartoons Over the course of 14 tracks, the Oakland-based MC covers drops references to the Oklahoma City bombings, the Bush Administration, and his issues with the hyphy movement, but still manages to have fun by throwing in some humor and several shout outs to the Bay Area. Meat Beat Manifesto, DNAE Beats, and Bassnectar make appearances for production duties, and the horn-drenched “Latin Revenge” is a refreshing spin on contemporary hip-hop.