Being no stranger to the rap game, Azizi Gibson is determined now more than ever to make a lasting impact on this new generation of millennials. For every Jay-Z, there’s a Lil Yachty, which is the exact point he’s trying to make. Read more…
Being as much as a fan of trap as you are, the “Levels” rapper effortlessly creates a fusion of sonically-appealing music and music with meaning. His approach is both unique and unconventional, with a guarantee to make any newcomer a believer within the first 5 minutes of one of his high-energy shows.
Having established a loyal fanbase since his 2014 Backward Books EP followed by his preHISTORIC Till Death debut one year later, the Germany-born, Los Angeles-based MC has consistently put out loosies and projects to coincide with his mindstate at the time. As he matured, so did his sound and the content in his music.
Now, Azizi is currently gearing up to release the highly-anticipated Backward Books II, slated to be released on October 5.
For those who don’t know, who is Azizi Gibson?
Azizi Gibson is a legend in the making. Someone just like you. I represent the preHISTORIC Crew. Shit, that’s all I can really think of right now.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
My place is a place of my own because nobody can mimic my style, at all. It’s not possible, so I’m not worried about that. That’s good for other artists too because I feel like some artists get frightened and start to hate when they see you’re coming for their spot. That’s the thing about all these rappers today, they’re all trying to beef and shit because they’re all trying to be like each other.
But if you listen to an artist like Anderson. Paak, that’s R&B, soul, and hip-hop together. There’s no point of beefing with him because you can’t do what the fuck he does. So sit down and work on your own shit. It’s the same mentality as that. Where I’ll be is just a whole world where further down the line, people will trying to be in it.
You mention traveling a lot growing up and never having a real home. Do you feel like LA is home now?
It is home but I’m about to leave the country. I’m about to leave for New Zealand and start my voyage. I’m over this America popularity society and shit.
Me too! Take me with you.
Come, I’m leaving in February. No one is proud of what they have because they’re so busy trying to get what they see on TV or social media. It’s like, I forgot that I dropped out of college, didn’t have money, slept on couches, was fucking homeless at the time — did this that and the third — but now I’m where I’m at and I feel like I’m so engulfed in trying to be what everybody else is. It’s like damn, I can’t even fully enjoy myself. So I’m fucking out of here.
Is it LA in particular or America as a whole?
I feel like America. I don’t want to put the whole blame on LA. LA knows what LA does, but it’s not like LA didn’t fucking help me become the person I am today. Because of LA, I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s not a hate for LA. It can get crazy over here for sure, but a lot of people aren’t idiots really here. I don’t know. It’s too much shit going on for the right people to decipher what’s good.
It’s kind of like a doctor. When someone is sick and has cancer, you go to one hospital and they tell you the motherfucker is going to die and there’s nothing we can do. Then you go to another place, and you have someone that is more passionate about their job, who’s like, “Alright cool, we can extend life for a couple of years. We can put her on this pill and do this surgery, blah blah, it’ll be fine.” I realize that’s how everything in life is. The people that are picking the music are just like the people at the hospitals. They’re just regular ass n*ggas that don’t know fucking shit. And I don’t trust y’all anymore.
It’s like, “You’re leaving it up to these big blogs to tell you what it is you like and should be into?” Negative. That’s just my mentality. I don’t hate on anybody for not, but hopefully you make it to where I’m at. Because it’s beautiful now. I don’t have to worry about shit anymore. I’m like, “Cool, you got more views than me? That’s dope.” I’m not going to hate how society works. But it’s like, “You were just chosen by someone…”
Being an independent artist, what is your goal?
To make it bigger than a major label artist. I w̶a̶n̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ still plan to go Kendrick or Drake. I’m not afraid or intimidated by any of their music, at all whatsoever. I just feel like if you got hundreds of thousand of dollars being invested into radio play, album promotions, and features, it’s hard for a lil n*gga like me to compete. Because just music isn’t it anymore, you know? That’s just not it. Some songs do take off from nothing, but there’s always some secret cosign there. Someone retweeted it. You didn’t know, but this nigga retweeted it.
It’s like when DRAM got poppin’. He’s a dope artist, I’m just using examples. I’ve only heard two, three songs from him and features, I’m not hating or anything. But a good example with me, I’m like, “Damn this dude came out of nowhere.” When I was first hearing a few of his songs, I was like “this dude is dope.” Then someone was like, “Yeah man, Beyonce put him on with a retweet and then shouted him out in a song.”
I’m not saying his whole claim to fame is a Beyonce tweet but… it’s like Beyonce can drop an album on a fucking holy Sunday and it’ll still go diamond or some crazy ass shit. Those things matter. My goal is to get where these major labels are just so all these young kids — or even people older than me who have talent, it doesn’t matter how old you are — people just need to see like, “Damn, I can get a job done and make as much money as these people.” It just might take a little longer.
You just released Xenophile. Talk about the creative process and how long it took you.
It’s funny I say that. Xenophile is inspired by what people call trash ass rap. I’m not going to say any names because it’s not that. I always use this example: a lot of people say Young Thug is trash but he’s one of my favorite artists.
I love Thugger, it’s his birthday!
Yeah, shout out to the Slime. He just dropped some shit. But I love his music. I love how he just goes about shit. It’s a different perspective. That’s why I don’t want to name things that my homies consider trash and I don’t, but it’s from that realm. It’s really just trap and how far it’s gotten, in that sense. I was more so inspired by that shit because we all listen to it in the club, etc. It’s just more so a fun album. It still slaps. I’m just gearing up for to drop my next album Backward Books II.
Let’s talk about that. How has your sound evolved from the first Backward Books?
Backward Books II is a real album. It’s a real album with the proper skits, the storyline. None of the songs are trap. You’re not going to find a song like “Slime.” There’s no booty shaking joints. It’s still wild, up, get lit shit, but everyone song has a message. A deep message. It’s not going to bore you, but every song does have a message. That’s what made Backward Books what it was. Every single song had a message. It wasn’t like this song was just filling up this. When you finish the album, you’re not going to think “just these three or four songs were tight.” You’re going to be like, “Damn, this shit was crazy.” You’re not even going to point towards a song.
How many tracks are going to be on there?
Probably like 15. It’s going to be good.
No features. Well… I don’t think so. With Xenophile, we dropped a lot of singles because we didn’t want anything to be swept under the rug. WIth Backward Books II, it’ll be two singles and then the whole album is going to be a crazy experience for you. Because you’re going to want to listen to every single song — find the right hour of the day, light a candle, and smoke a joint.
How important is social media for your career?
It’s very important. It’s super important for everyone. You have to. I hate it because you realize some things. Like if I wasn’t doing music and I didn’t need to… because I need an Instagram. Kanye West doesn’t need an Instagram because he’s a legend and a music mogul, but he also came before the time of Twitter and Instagram. Therefore, n*ggas were getting the message. The whole music game has changed now. You can’t be Kanye West, Eminem, or Dr. Dre when they came out because you just can’t be that anymore. You can make more money maybe, but that’s still far fetched.
At the same time, social media is good for what I have to use it for, but you just get a real taste of how stupid people are. The comments people leave on shit. Not even my shit, you just see the ten comments on a post you’re looking at like, “Man, are they joking?” Like, “Nah, they’re really not joking.” They’re sitting there having a whole conversation defending this. When I go on my Explore page, I don’t give a fuck who got a new chain or who got what. This shit is garbage.
And the worst part is this is what our friends are looking at.
I know, that’s what I’m saying. That’s why I got to follow less and less and less people. Just followed a homie who just got fat assess all over my Explore page now. I’m like, “Damn, this is nice, but weird.” It’ll be cool if I could just literally edit it to the category: video games, certain music, clothing, movies — and that’s all that pops up on my explore page. Other than that, I don’t need to know anything about some rapper I don’t give a fuck about overdosing. Sorry.
Damn, that’s harsh.
At the same time, it’s like these niggas out here doing it to themselves. Like Boonk Gang, I don’t give a fuck about that nigga. Straight up. That’s a real thing. If people want me to care about if he’s dying… I don’t give a fuck bro. I’m sorry, but you got famous for robbing, stealing, and making someone’s day worse than what it was. You can suck my dick. If anyone thinks I’m wrong, you niggas are soft. You have forgotten that there’s jail for niggas like that. You don’t give a fuck, “Alright, go ahead.” I don’t trust y’all niggas anymore. If we just went ahead and gave twenty niggas in jail cell phones and let them use it at will, them niggas would have 10 to 15 million followers and y’all motherfuckers would be all in love with them. I don’t trust y’all anymore.
Ay man, to all the rappers out there doing drugs, you probably shouldn’t be out there doing shit stronger than you. And if you do and you hear this and you know that you shouldn’t, then you only have yourself to blame from this moment going forward.
You mentioned your love for video games, is there any type of crossover we can see with the music?
Hopefully, if I get on my Kendrick shit. [laughs] What I would be doing when I’m in the position of an artist like that, I’d be doing so much more. Not to take away from anything they’re doing at all, everyone moves differently and I appreciate that. But I’ma move very fucking differently. I don’t want to even tell people what I’m going to do. I’ve learned you speak it out and put it on the internet, it’s going to be your fault that someone else does it before you.
I hear stories about, “I’ve been with this, this, and this rapper in the studio. They literally mentioned your name and listened to a song that you and Kamani did. They made a whole song off it and now it’s popping.” I won’t say names, but that shit’s dope to me. It’s just cool. If you’re super popping, and you’re not putting me on but you’re inspired by my music, that’s dope. That’s enough for me. I don’t need to be the person that will be like “someone’s stealing…” Man, I get too deep.
3 things you need in the studio?
Weed, privacy, and water.
You’ve got a pretty loyal fanbase. Can you talk about your relationship with them?
I’m thankful for my fanbase. I don’t want to say something stupid like “they’re woke” or anything, that’s not what I want to say. It’s just more so the timing of when I came up, what I’m about, how I am. I’m just a regular person. I’m not trying to be anyone I’m not, and that shit really shows. You can tell. Sometimes the 6ix9ine shit works and sometimes the Chance The Rapper does. You just have to figure out really what you should do, but not overthink it. Case closed.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Gunna. I fuck with that shit heavy.
Sade. Nah wait, if I could have a dream collab… yeah, Sade.
What about newer artists?
I’m trying to really think. [laughs] I’ma just make a joke and say 6ix9ine.
That’d be kind of fire. “Fefe” goes though.
It’s funny how he’s getting better as far as making music that more people want to hear but I mean, at least he got popping on his own style. Which is a lot more than a lot niggas can say. I don’t have a dream collab with anybody, I guess I would say Young Thug because I really fuck with Thug and I think I’d be a memorable chat. If I wanted to make a power move, 6ix9ine.
Is there anything else you want us to know?
Everyone’s shit stinks.