AzChike is here to put on for this new wave of LA rap that’s taken over this generation. After quitting his jobs and coming up empty-handed in a tax scam, the South Central rapper soon realized music was not only his calling, but means for survival. The Chike is Egyptian for “power of God brings joy,” which is exactly what he aims to bring with his music. Read more…
With the success of “Burn Rubber Again” which pays homage to the legendary Too Short, AzChike proves he has the talent and drive to insert himself into the rap game, industry and all. Bringing together his AzCult with best friends in 2010, Chike recalls trash recording himself at home, doing anything he could with the little resources he had. His passion and ability to invest in himself is a testimony for anybody working towards turning their dream into a reality.
“Invest in yourself, spend that money, spend that time, and you’ll be alright.”
For those who don’t know, who is AzChike?
A South Central rapper, just trying to talk shit pretty much.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
I love gangster rap. It’s the rawest shit out. You can’t go wrong with that. It can bring different shit out of different people. You never know. You don’t have to be hood to listen to gangster rap, that’s the beauty of it. Gangster rap fasho, just a younger version of it. A little wilder.
A younger version of who?
I look up to Ice Cube’s aggression and the shit he talks about. In some way, shape, form or fashion, I’m kind of on that but less political.
Being from South Central, how does that play into your life and career?
Perfect. I love it because I love LA. My mom hates LA. She feels like she’s been here all her life. South Central made me. Everybody wants to visit South Central at least once in their life. It’s always active. Technically, you don’t even need no parenting in South Central. To be honest, just put your kid outside and they’ll figure everything out from there. You can learn a lot from South Central. It’s real dirty. Not a lot of shit, not a lot of good resources, no good food, I love that shit. It’s definitely a staple in California.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
Right now? Very important. It ain’t been nothing like this in a long time. Not a lot of rappers coming out of LA at one time like this. The last time was with Snoop Dogg, Death Row, DPG, N.W.A, even Cypress Hill. All of them was coming up at the same time out of California. It was a phenomenon. It was taking over. I feel good. I’m happy about it, I’m not going to lie.
Can you talk about relocating to Inglewood and then Torrance?
I moved a lot. Probably a year before I moved to Inglewood, I lived in Long Beach. Probably 8 months before that, I was living in South Central on 83rd & Hoover. I’m used to it. I’ve lived in Virginia. I’ve lived in San Francisco, that’s my second home. I love it out there. I moved a lot. I lived in Compton for 5 years. I lived in Long Beach for 4. I’ve lived in fucking Palmdale, the actual valley. I’ve lived everywhere, moving aint shit to me.
Only thing I can say, when I’m closer to LA my house was more poppin’. I’m that dude who can have everybody at his house. Smoke, drink, bitches, all types of people. I’m that dude that has that type of freedom. My mom just let me be responsible with my own shit, until it got too out of hand. That’s the only thing. When I moved to Torrance and Long Beach, it be dry. Nobody really comes over there.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
This year, it kind of smacked me in the face. To where I was like “it’s going to change my life.”
I felt like a fucking first draft pick in the NFL or NBA or some shit. When million dollar companies are tugging at you and bidding on you, it gives you a different perspective. It doesn’t give me a big head or nothing like that, but it’s really amazing to me. Before I even get cocky about the shit.
So who are you talking to?
Aw shit. That’s going to be announced really soon, before 2019. Everything is getting done. Lawyer work, etc. Everything is pretty much a process. It’s that time. This past year, I’ve just been back and forth everywhere.
You dropped My World earlier this year. I know you mentioned you kind of just threw that together off vibes, have you started to record more attentively now?
It was definitely off vibes, but I honestly just want to talk and share my world. The way I put the songs together is really how I heard them, what fit best next to each other. But I am writing something with more content, and make everything piece together. I’m still going to be ignorant and sometimes all over the place, but it’s going to be good.
Do you freestyle or write your lyrics down?
I write all the motherfucking time. I freestyle to write. I freestyle the first 2 bars and write the rest. I’m not going to remember that shit. I don’t like punching in. I like doing everything in one. Do the hook, layer that, boom. Do the verse, boom, layer that. I don’t like all that “alright, one more time.” Let me get the shit done.
I know artists tend to have their own favorites on the album. What songs mean the most to you?
Before I drop a song, I listen to it a thousand times. By the time it drops, I low key am tired of it. I’ve turned up to it like how other people turn up to it months ago. I like putting energy behind a song before it drops. “The Shit” because the first day I made it I was happy as fuck, like “oh yeah, this the one.” “Whats Next” because it’s another well-structured song to me. I did a good job of writing the shit and having everything just flow in one. “Licked Up” because I did that a day before my tape dropped. That was random. The beat was from scratch. LowTheGreat and Almighty Suspect came to my house and we just did it. The shit just hit a million. You never know what will happen.
Talk about linking w/ Almighty Suspect on “Licked Up.” What was your vision w/ the visual?
The visual was fucking hilarious. We had an inflatable dick. Not intentionally, I don’t buy dicks. Don’t get the wrong idea. A lot of people be questioning me about that like “why do you have a dick in the video?” First of all, I knew it was going to cause some sort of controversy. People were going to ask questions. It was going to be funny and out of control. I rented the house out, and the host was like “I got props.” I was like “oh let me see.” The first thing she pulled out is a big ass rug, it’s huge. Then she pulls out the inflatable dick. Now I don’t know what kind of freak she is, but that’s how it happened.
Then she brought out a credit card that said “white devil” on it. She was fucking cocaine for Halloween. She was fun, it was more than I expected. A lot of hoes be boring or uptight. Definitely with the rappers, they don’t like that shit. “You about to smoke? Oh hell no.” She was real laid-back, low key a freak. I wanted to get the number, but she said she had a man. I didn’t want to intrude. It was dope, shot it with Zion and IMG Films. He got it done within a week. I wish it got premiered better, I feel like a lot of people was sleep on it.
Did it come out on Worldstar?
Nah, I dropped it on my page. It did 100K in a month, I was happy. Now that it’s a fucking million, they want to do something. Once they see the numbers accumulate, that’s what I be talking about. You’re supposed to catch me before that. Why are you trying to catch me after the hit? Now you got to catch up with time. Now you got to beat the clock before the song gets too old. Now you got to revive the song. You want a big remix, you want a new video, why you ain’t just peep me before that? You just ain’t believe in me. I wish it got a lot more attention. It could be doing another 5 million. It could be another “Burn Rubber Again” if I wanted to be, but that’s what the labels for. All that shit is out. No more songs going to waste.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Anything is possible. You get one life, never turn down. I understand breaks or a breather, but never turn down. Never. Always stay turnt up. Always stay energetic. There’s never a down moment. Mind over matter. The universe is real. If you want it and you put effort towards it, it’s going to happen. If you consume yourself to where there’s nothing else you can do but this, that’s what happens.
Sacrifice is everything. You can’t have everything in one time. You can’t have a good fucking job, a promising rap career, a good girlfriend, and financial stability all at one time. Like no. Out of those 4, 3 of them are going to have to go. You only get one, everything else will come. Never do anything for the money. I’ll never do anything for the money. I do it because I want to. You can get money plenty of ways, it comes and goes.
Talk about your AZ cult. You have Benzz who does R&B + Swaye who does dark ratchet LA sound. Where do you fit?
I met Swaye in the 6th grade, we used to beatbox on the corner. I met Benzz in 9th grade, in the jerking era in high school. We just linked up. It was a vibe. I would hang out with them and everything would go accordingly. It wasn’t like “oh we’re finna rap.” It wasn’t planned. Eventually, that was the idea. We ain’t no fucking actors or got a blog, none of us DJ. It was the music.
I quit my two jobs, Swaye blows up. That shit inspired me so much. In 2015, we went to SXSW with Skeme, Don Cannon, DJ Drama & Lil Uzi Vert, the whole Generation Now! That shit blew my mind. It was my first time in Austin, Texas. I got paid for everything. I swear to God, we stayed in the Airbnb garage, sleeping on concrete. Swaye slept on a pool table. He didn’t have to, but he was trying to make himself feel good. ‘Cause he had a spot in the house, the sprinter bus, he was straight. I had rented a van. It was gravy, I got everybody there and back. The homies was driving. That shit just inspired the shit out of me.
When I got back, I’m just doing hella songs. I don’t care what it is. I gotta buy beats, whatever I got to do. I had to take Benzz out of retirement. He was working hella regular 9 to 5. “Burn Rubber Again” came out and it was going crazy. As of right now, everybody is in their bag. We pop out when time is needed. Everybody’s on their grind. AzCult is just a collective. It’s not an abbreviation, it’s not fucking Arizona. It’s just me. Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. I called it Cult because ‘gang’ sounds gay. Don’t nobody want to call shit “gang.” I came up with it because that’s the type of following you want anyway.
Best part of touring w/ Shoreline Mafia?
The whole fucking tour, just being there honestly. The best part is I could see it with my own eyes. I watched them open doors for other LA rappers, because all they’re doing is getting others used to the sound that we got. They did a whole fucking 50 state tour, and probably only 2 or 3 dates didn’t sell out. It was in a small ass town anyway so it didn’t even matter. All the big cities and states all sold out. LA, New York, Texas, Chicago, even the dates I didn’t go on.
We got the same managers, I’ll be talking to them and they’ll just show me. Sold out: 1,500 to 1,800 people. It’s just crazy seeing that shit first hand. Being able to go to these places, I’d never been to New York. It was just perfect timing. I actually got something going. When I go out there, I’m meeting with labels and shit. I love Shoreline. They’re down to earth. Ain’t too many like them, that’s why they are where they are today.
What was it like seeing those guys get signed?
I didn’t even know them when they got signed. I didn’t even know them yet. The first person I met was Fenix. He hit me up like “yeah, let’s get it.” You ain’t got to tell me twice. After that, we just locked in. We’re pretty much in the same circle, it was only a matter of time. It had to happen, so I’m just glad it did.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
To get my foot all the way in there. Don’t let up. I really want a plaque. I want to sell out a big, big shit. Bringing out crazy people, like “this nigga fucks with you?” “Yeah, they fuck with me.” I want to sell out stadiums. I want a few plaques. I want to be more well-established. I want the business down pat. A lot of people don’t know that part about the music, that’s why they don’t get too far. Not because they suck or don’t got the talent or work ethic, they don’t got the business. A good lawyer, attorney, financial advisor, manager, and just a good business team.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is at an all time high now. Kylie Jenner’s getting 34M likes in a day. Why is there that many people on Instagram at one time? That’s fucking bananas. On Twitter, people are getting a million retweets. Literally a million likes, a million views. That wasn’t happening in 2012. Twitter would kick you off because there was so many people on there. It doesn’t control your career because a lot of artists came up with no social media. Kendrick Lamar is stupid right now, no social media. He’s one of the greatest, well-established, he’s good. TDE, period. I don’t feel like it’s “without social media, you ain’t shit,” but it’s a great advantage.
3 things you need in the studio?
The right fucking engineer, a Fronto Leaf, and Cookies weed. That’s all I need in the studio.
I know you said you were working 2 jobs before. What were you doing?
Weak ass Sprouts, and I worked at Del Amo mall which is right around the corner from the new place I live. Very traumatizing, I think about it all the time. I know all the routes, I used to take the bus every day to work and back. I see the same streets like “fuck.” It’s crazy to me. Both my jobs were right down the street from each other, so it was real convenient. I was at Del Amo Mall at Macy’s in the Men’s department. It was smaller section for Lids, we only sold California team merchandise. Weak as fuck. I got fired there for stealing.
My homie got fired from stealing from Macy’s.
My first time trying I got caught, it was over. I was trying to get too much. My manager was an asshole too, she was new. Then I quit Sprouts after that to go do a tax scam, like I was in college. To file taxes and get money back for my books. We were supposed to get $5K or $6K, which to me at the time was a fucking lot. I’m getting $360 a week as the highest paying check ever. Terrible. So $5K sounds crazy to me. All they were offering was only $3K, but the scam didn’t even go through. I went home empty-handed, no job.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I don’t want to be negative. I’d have to be doing something poppin’, something to put you in that limelight. I played football but that wasn’t promising. I played football from 7 to 14, from flag to midget to tackle, all that shit. High school too, the first year. After that, it was over. I don’t know what I’d be doing. I’d still be getting money, but probably in some bad shit.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
We did a show in Seattle and brought everyone back to the Airbnb. Everybody was still playing my shit like I didn’t just perform it. They sing the shit word for word. Recently I did a show in Victorville, some fans brought me a whole fifth of Hennessy. That was fire as fuck! I had a fan cry listening to the music, that was amazing. It was a turnt up cry too, not an ugly boo-hoo cry. They were dancing like “oh my god” crying. It was crazy, I loved it.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Daboii from SOB x RBE. Do your research. Daboii is the hardest. He got his own shit. He just got different energy. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. He say shit differently, it just hits home. That n*gga is ridiculous. Daboii, for sure. I’ve been playing Peezy a lot from Detroit. He’s hard. He’s got a song called “Back End,” and a whole tape called No Hooks.
I’m going to be typical, it’d have to be Wayne. Because when I get in the studio with him, I’m going to tell him “no autotune, no singing.” I’m really going to bring the old Wayne out of him. That would be ridiculous. I feel like he would bring a different me out, so it would be crazy.
Dope is there anything else you want to let us know.
It’s AzChike, not ‘ass cheek’, not ‘as chike’, or ‘chikay’. None of that shit. I’ve done heard it all at this point. It’s AzChike. It’s not hard.