Video: Azure – “Nine Nine”
Premiered by Okayplayer, the Oakland DJ/Rapper Releases First Visual From Forthcoming Leap Year Project
While HBK Gang‘s Azure may be best recognized as Iamsu!‘s tour DJ, he’s been branching out over the past year providing raps and production as one-third of Oakland trio Down 2 Earth, whose Wildfire mixtape released earlier year with features from Kehlani, Jay Ant, and Tajai of Souls of Mischief. Azure is also kicking off the campaign for his forthcoming debut solo album, Leap Year, with the release of his first video single, “Nine Nine.” The visual, directed by David Camarena, premiered via Okayplayer, who said “Azure’s rhyme work here is strong, but with a definitively laid-back air…expect the track to feature prominently in your favorite DJ’s next big set.”
Neon lights flash through San Francisco backdrops as Azure invades back alleys and stairwells, delivering fluent rhymes with a ’99 flow. “My pen got so much ink / I could probably do like a whole sleeve,” Azure raps above the smooth beat produced by Iamsu!. “Nine Nine” comes as the first release off the Oakland MC’s debut solo album that has been in the works for two years. “The word ‘single’ has a stigma about it…like it’s supposed to be the most marketable or catchiest,” Azure said. “For me, this is just the first piece of the story I’m revealing.”
“Rapping was the artform that touched me first. As a kid I would recite Eminem and Ludacris lyrics in my mom’s room where there was a big mirror. I never thought I would actually start rapping.. I was an art kid, painting and drawing was more my wave growing up. But recording at a home studio for the first time as a teenager really drew me in and I began to find myself in a notebook more often than a sketchbook. I think my soul or spirit was beginning to reveal its true quest to me.” Stay tuned for Azure’s solo project, Leap Year, slated to release this summer.
Watch “Nine Nine”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0kFdFB2x_c
Check out the Okayplayer premiere: http://www.okayplayer.com/news/azure-nine-nine-video-premiere.html
Listen to Wildfire: https://soundcloud.com/down2earth/sets/wildfire
Catch Azure on Iamsu!’s Eyes On Me Tour: http://www.hbkgang.com/eyesonme/
Down 2 Earth Background:
Down 2 Earth is a new trio hailing from Oakland, California, consisting of HBK Gang artist/producer Azure and CaliMade collective members Clyde Shankle and Dayvid Michael. The rap pack presents music reminiscent of the West Coast sounds by household names like Hieroglyphics and Zion I. Down 2 Earth’s goal is “to preserve Bay Area music, specifically alternative hip-hop that a handful of groups in the Bay Area started decades ago.” Having already received praise from the likes of The Source, Free On Smash, HipHopDX, and DJ Booth, the three emcees have the pedigree to make a giant splash in the hip-hop world with their debut LP, Wildfire, a coalition of three stories and personalities tied together by thumping beats and production.
From Radiohead to Parliament Funkadelic, Down 2 Earth takes influence from a diverse range of artists to vibe out soul-oriented tunes. De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick, Jill Scott, Hieroglyphics, and Digital Underground are among their biggest influences apparent in their work. Down 2 Earth is evolving the art of collaborative rap, establishing their artistry and making a fresh style all their own.
“Nine Nine”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0kFdFB2x_c
“Powers” ft. Simmi (Prod. by Kuya Beats): https://soundcloud.com/down2earth/powers/s-6owON
Bio, photos, and streams available here: http://www.audibletreats.com/down-2-earth/