What’s the science behind your name? Or Is there any?
I picked my name out of the bible. Its a Hebrew name. Not even knowing, the original Azarel was a priest & a musician. I’m somewhat similar to him, as I preach a little in my songs.
What do you think of Mainstream Hip Hop?
I don’t really buy or support it. Mostly because I don’t like hearing the same songs or seeing the same videos. And although the mainstream artists usually make the most money, they are not always the best artists.
How was your upbringing?
I grew up in the heart of the hood, around crips and ended up getting in the gang. Did a few things I shouldn’t have done. But I was a big time wanna be, and my O.G. knew that I was more into playing hoop & chasing females. So he told me to leave it alone and I did. I was one of the lucky ones, lost a lot of potnas to that beast called Gangsta.
What inspired you to become a hip hop artist?
I used to dance for a hip hop crew and was always around cats who rhymed, and was able to pick up a few things. Then I started doing it myself and became good at it, and blossomed from there.
What other hip hop groups do you listen to?
Common, Mos Def, Kweli, Dead Prez, Jurassic 5. And the all-time favorite, KRS-1. All yawl pick up the new album from him, its crackin.
How would you describe your music?
Revolution type music. Power for all people themes. Its positive,
conscious, a little spiritually, a little street minded. My aim is to get
cats to look at themselves and make life better, quit blaming “the man”. Go get what you after and elevate. And all people can benefit and relate to that.
How would you describe yourself?
A lion. Whether its music, being self-employed, being a good man, father, etc… I’m hungry for whatever I want.
What are your future musical plans?
Release some albums over the next 2-3 years. Then look into being a super producer. Not a beat maker, but the cat behind the artist. The one that helps develop talent. I also want to get into owning a CD duplication & mastering lab, which should be launching sometime in 2k2.
Out of the songs you’ve created, what is your personal favorite, and why?
Searching is my favorite. I’m talking to all people who walk on this earth and are striving for something in life. What I am saying (preaching) is make the Creator your foundation and the house you build will never fall. Always ask yourself what would Yahweh say if He was standing right here checking me out. Would He approve, would He be proud? That’s what I am preaching in that song, and no other topic can compare to it for me. Because sooner or later, you gotta answer to Him.
Where can fans listen to some of your music?
You check me out at www.azarel.net.
Have you ever rocked events, if so, what was your favorite event you rocked?
Yeah, I do shows all the time in my local area. My best events are for young audiences, like teenagers. They give you the type of energy that you deserve if you are good, and they let you know if you are whack. They scream and dance, and do all the things you expect when performing. They spend they allowance and buy ya CDs and gear, ask for autographs and wanna take pictures with ya.
Have you ever found Jesus?
Never found, know him pretty well. Well enough to know I am a proud Hebrew Israelite.
How long have you been rhyming? How do you see hip hop, and you? Do you see Hip Hop as a religion, art, culture, a career, job, or just a hobby?
I’ve been seriously putting it down since like ’99. Been doing it longer, but I ain’t no vet, and I ain’t paid no dues till a little bit ago. That’s when I started to value hip hop. Its a way of life for me. It should be lived, studied, celebrated, and more.
Do you have any hip hop quotables that you live by? Any song lyrics ever touched you?
A lot of what KRS-1 says has inspired me. He goes against the grain every album. The lyrics in My Philosophy have touched me to truly think before I write songs. To not always try to be the tightest lyricist, but rather to make cats sit down and really feel me. And have them pushing rewind till they get the whole point I’m making.
“Smile A Little” is an inspirational track, what was your inspiration for creating this positive track?
I was sick of the “hater” syndrome. And I didn’t want to make a song that added more negativity. So I decided to go with Smile A Little, hoping that cats would show some teeth and swallow they pride, and just spread love.
Tell us about your upcoming album? Release? Featured Tracks? Where to Buy It? Guests?
I self-titled, debut will be out July 17th. Features a lot of great MCs, singers & producers from Washington state. My single will be called “Daddy”. Its a song that gives love to Dads that were not a full part of their kid’s lives. I know yawl saying, “you giving love to dead beat dads?” Wait to hear the track, then you’ll feel where I’m coming from. The album will be distributed primarily in the Northwest, USA & parts of Canada. We starting small with hopes of expanding to more regions. And for all others not in the area, you can purchase it online at the websites: www.azarel.net
As an independent artist, how do you find the music industry? What resources online have lend their support to you, and your music?
I’ve done a lot of searching thru search engines & popular entertainment sites to find the stuff that pertains more to my arena. There are alot of sites to get good info from, one that I can think of right now is Rap Coalition. Then I just make it a habit to network with as many cats as possible, and we share info back & forth. And as much as I am not in favor of sites like MP3.com, it is a useful source. They get a lot of traffic and I have got good feedback.
Do you have any shot outs you would like make?
I wanna take this time to thank all real hip hop heads. Yawl are the ones that make this game fun. Yah bless all!