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Azeem Takes Himself & His One Man Show "Rude" To New York City

Posted by Billyjam, May 15, 2012 10:07am | Post a Comment
Although considered an integral part of the Bay Area's hip-hop scene for the better part of the past two decades, emcee Azeem (aka Ismail Azeem) who the East Bay Express once crowned "Best of the Bay: Hip Hop Artist" and who built a rep for his string of solo releases, recently up and left the East Bay to relocate to the East Coast - Brooklyn, New York to be exact. And it is New York City where Azeem, who was actually born and raised in nearby New Jersey before migrating West to the Bay Area all those years ago, will likely stay for good, and for good reason too. Since his relocation there in February, things have been going extremely well for the acclaimed emcee/champion slam poet who has been busy recording and working with different producers, and who tonight will present his one man performance piece Rude at the Bowery Poetry Club.

"New York has been too good for me to return to the Bay permanently," Azeem said when I asked him if he would be returning to the Bay Area soon. "As the Rastas say: forward ever, back never. But Oakland will always be my home. And I do come home to party - often [laughs]," he added. For the past few weeks he has been focusing all his energies on tonight's performance of Rude which played at the Marsh Theater in the Bay Area some years back to rave reviews. The Bay Guardian for example praised the one hour, one man show for its,"combination of raw energy, deft delivery, beautifully honed characters, and inspired narrative flow was so transporting."

"Rude is my one man show that I like to describe to those who may not know what it is as kind of like what John Leguizamo and other artists do. "It is myself telling a story, and playing different characters," explained Azeem. And it is basically all of my work as a poet and a hip-hop artist, all of my training, and hours of writing kind of nut shelled into this piece. [It's] all of the skills I learned over all these years in writing and performing have gone into this piece."

For Azeem there are poetry and hip-hop are one and the same. "To me there is no difference between hip-hop and poetry because a good rapper is definitely a good poet. Nas is a good poet. Jay Z is a good poet. Tupac was a good poet. That's why they study my man in colleges," he said adding that he would rather be doing his one man stage performance piece in a theater than rapping in a club. "I enjoy doing it a lot better than any other artform," he said, shrewdly noting that, "I can be an 80 year old playwright actor and people won't look at me funny." If you are in New York City area this evening Rude plays at the Bowery Poetry Club at 7pm. 308 Bowery New York NY,10012. More info here.

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Bowery Poetery Club (1), Azeem (13), Creme De La Ultra (2), Rude (2)