Haziq : We Come to Party But We Don't Play
Can music have a message and still move the crowd? It's an age-old question in rap. And while some have their doubts, D.C. rapper Haziq Ali knows it's possible. Already, this innovative wordsmith is forging a new rap renaissance built on thoughtful lyrics that don't abandon hot beats and party anthem, the bedrock of successful contemporary rap music. 'I'm really tryin' to be that perfect mixture between the streets and the spirit, without going go much against the grain that I can't slip into the mainstream,' he says. Ali, who currently splits ihs time between D.C., and Atlanta, wants to push rap's boundaries in other ways, too. While recognizing that sampling has been an importanta staple of rap--and has played a key role in it's success--Ali wants to create more opportunities for live musicians in the genre. This live sound, popular in the south, is a key element to his emerging sound. He says: 'I want to combine down south musical sensibilities with up north-East Coast lyricism and word play.' If there is one rap tradition Ali has followed wholeheartedly without hesitation it's performing live. From New York City to North Carolina to Atlanta, Ali has honed his skills at dozens of battles, open mics, and other live shows--including recent openings for 50 cent, Killer Mike, Bone Crusher and the Lyricists Lounge Tour featuring Dead Prez. Ali has quickly built an audience hungry for his clever rhymes and crisp delivery beginning with Tallahassee, Florida while enrolled as a Business student at Florida A&M University. HIs independent release Unforgettable quickly topped the charts in radioplay and swept through the southeast. The phenomenon continues present day in Atlanta and DC. With a short period, Haziq has sold an estimated 7400 copies of his 16-track CD, We Come to Party, But We Don't Play, an incredible feat considering Ali personally made these sales 'hustla style' at small shows. The underground release includes the joint 'Get Hit Up, a collabo with Beanie Sigel, and 'Get Down (featuring the rock band Black Ant) while was No. 1 on XM Radio's rock channel for three months. Also featured on the album is Godspeed, which has been licensed for use by MTV in the show Who Got Game and also performed at the Olympic Headquarters in Colorado Springs in addition to being included on the Olymic F.L.A.M.E. compilation. This project as well as the upcoming album, Confidence Game, features production by SKI, who has produced tracks for Jay-Z, Nature, Nas, and Lil'Kim, and Tahir of Dead Prez fame. So how did he get hooked up with such high profile assistance? Ghostwriting for other, higher profile, artists. When the big boys come callin' for help, that's a sure sign there's firepower in the arsenal. Haziq recently won the Icon of the Underground award at the 2005 Atlanta Underground Awards and is last years winner of the esteemed Hustler of the Year award.