Emcee Azizi Gibson of Flying Lotus‘ Brainfeeder label gave us the chance to ask him a few questions the day before his mixtape, Ghost in the Shell, drops. He’s definitely dropped some really dope tracks from the mixtape that have me really anticipating the project like “SSB (100MPH), “Man Down,” and the title track. I got to talk about how he met Flying Lotus and they bought “like $1500 worth of video games” and played them all night after enjoying some Zankou Chicken. He also talked about how one of his biggest inspirations are Eminem, how he loves Nintendo and anime, and his upcoming project that we will all be able to hear tomorrow. During the interview, he also had some car troubles, so we had to pause a few times. But check it out below and I hope you can understand everything in the audio!
Who is Azizi Gibson?
Azizi Gibson is myself. It just seems “precious,” it’s Swahili. I was named in the weirdest way. My brothers and sisters, along with my parents did a raffle. They wrote a whole bunch of weird names, and the name that was pulled out the most would be my name. The names were though up from my parents while they were living in Zaire. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but my family was actually in Zaire. The hospitals in Zaire were dirty, so they flew me to Germany when was I born.
When did you first start rapping and what first inspired you?
I started rapping when I was 6. Honestly, I’ve seen videos of me rapping when I was 3 via poolside in Thailand with my brother because my brother used to be a rapper, but I’ve only seen videos of it, I don’t remember it. My father is a musician, so it’s in my blood, I was going to catch on eventually. I remember rapping to myself around the house when I was 6. My biggest inspiration, who made me want to rap, I was already a rapper and into the shit and all that, was Slim Shady. He gave birth to Azizi Gibson. This guy is crazy. The image is awesome. He’s a weirdo. He talks about everything people are afraid to talk about. I like touchy subjects, I like people laughing at themselves, I like people laughing when they listen to music. Eminem is the reason I wanted to become a rapper, I wanted to make people laugh with my music.
What most inspires your style of music now?
Uh, I think just a shit load of weed smoking. And another shit load of weed smoking. And the cultures I’ve been around. I used to think life was so hard. I’ve seen people in true poverty, not just the ghetto. I’ve seen people with spiders on their legs, flies in their face, flies on their food and it doesn’t stop them from eating it. That’s when I was like I need to get this word out. I need to be famous, too. I’m broke as fuck.
How did you and Jeremiah Jae hook up to make Ignorant Prayers.
When I met FlyLo (Flying Lotus) and we started kicking it. He was like, “Yeah, dude, you and Jeremiah Jae should do something, he likes your shit.” And I was like, “word, cool.” And then I added him on Twitter, and I told him to send me some beats. Then we went to a party and he came up to me and he gave me a beat CD with like 20 beats, and long story short, those 20 beats became Ignorant Prayers.
Speaking of FlyLo, how did you go about joining Brainfeeder?
I was sleeping on one of my homie’s couches. Like he was recovering from some heroin shit, but he was letting me live there for free, so I was just grateful. One day I was like “I need to go to the gym, I’m bored.” I went downstairs, I was the only person in the gym. Next thing you know, some tall motherfucker walked in. Then I’m like, “Yo! You know who Flying Lotus is?” And he’s like, “Yeah.” And then I’m like, “Are you him?” and he said, “Yeah!” Then I got an e-mail, and I told him I did music, but I was more happy that it was actually Flying Lotus. Like I wasn’t trying to be a groupie, I wasn’t trying to get put on. I was like, “yo I appreciate you bruh, as a fellow African-American, I appreciate what it is you’re doing, and you’re spreading it. It’s beautiful.” So, I told him I was a music artist, and he told me to send him some stuff, but his e-mail didn’t work. It was full, it was the real e-mail it was just full. Then I got laid off from work, maybe like four days later. I got fired from Urban Outfitters for having weed in my pocket. I had an extra mixtape that day because people didn’t show up to work. So, I randomly saw FlyLo again, and I gave it to him and I said, “I hope you like it.” I get home and I check my Twitter and then Flying Lotus tweeted at me, like he found me, and he DM’ed me saying, “Let’s kick it tomorrow.” We met up the next day. He took me to Zankou Chicken and bought me lunch. We went to some video game store that had like every video game. I was fucking in love. He literally bought like $1500 worth of video games. We got high as shit and played video games until midnight.
You’re dropping Ghost in the Shell tomorrow in the middle of the day. What should we be expecting from it? Producers/Features?
I like continuity I do shit that makes sense. I don’t like to have 800 random producers on my shit. I like to spend my time finding my producers. My boy Millz, he’s an all-star in the Prehistoric Crew, he’s been with me since day one. I got this new Prehistoric member, Jonathan Lowell, and those two produced the whole mixtape. One song on there called “Boom Rewind” was produced by some guy, Dae. I love that dude, but fuck him. He doesn’t know how the world works. I’ve been trying to get him involved with the Brainfeeder shit, but he just cries. I only like to use one or two producers, just so it’s easier to figure out. I want people to start hearing my producer’s style. I want to make sure everyone gets love. Two very different producers with two very different sounds that mesh together very well. As far as rap wise features, no features. This is my debut on Brainfeeder, I just want to make sure I do this for real. I want people to play the mixtape from start to finish and be like “damn that was all him.” I feel like a lot of artists are like “yo you wanna get on my track?” I’m like nah dude, I’m trying to make tracks here. I’m trying to make hits and not owe anybody. I could make 100 songs with Flying Lotus. But people are going to be like “Oh, he’s only famous because he’s rapping to Flying Lotus beats.”
Tell me more about the Prehistoric Crew.
Let me tell you first what the Prehistoric Crew is. It’s not a group of rappers, producers, it’s a group of young people who are striving to do what they love. Whether it’s music, art, architecture, cocktail waitress, as long as you do your shit at like 200%, and you’re proud at what you do, and you support the people around you, then that’s Prehistoric Crew to me. It’s nothing more, it’s nothing less. I just want Prehistoric to be positive. But specifically we don’t have anything planned after [Ghost in the Shell].
I saw on Twitter that you were keeping up with E3 and were excited about the new Super Smash Bros.
Bruh, am I?! I’ve watched the little eight minute preview like ten, twenty times. I went to the last day at E3. I stood in line for two and a half hours just to play two 3DS games. I’m a Nintendo fan until I die. I have Nintendo tatted on my heart. It was my first E3 too, I was like a little kid there. Everybody needs to learn from Nintendo.
What projects are you most excited to hear in 2013?
I’m trying to hear that next The Underachievers mixtape. I’m not with the “in” now. I didn’t even know Kanye was dropping a new album. I saw that “Black Skinhead” shit and I lost interest. I was like why is one of the richest rappers talking about being a slaves? He’s just been pissing me off lately. Did Schoolboy drop his project yet? I fuck with ScHoolboy heavy for sure. I don’t even a computer right now, so I don’t even know what’s coming out. I just be living in my own world. I try to listen to too much shit that people say is similar to me because I don’t want to be influenced from someone else. I want my music to come straight from my brain. Like for example, like once I heard molly, every rapper started talking about molly. My image is I’m an anime geek, I love women, I love fat asses, I love video games, I die for Nintendo, I love my family, I’m the simplest person in the world. I’m not from no hood, I’m not from nothing, but I lived in places where I really got to see real struggle, where I got to see people’s passion and heart. That’s what I have in my music. My music is serious, but when you hear it tomorrow, it’s really funny man. People are going to get a kick out, everybody will relate to it. From dropping a roach to getting dissed from a girl, everybody can relate.
Any final comments?
If anyone likes the mixtape, I just want everyone to pass it on to one person and hopefully we can make it viral. I just think that some of our favorite artists that we have in the game don’t supply us with a lot of good music. If people give me a chance, there will be no artist that puts out as much good music as I will.