Mic Levels Up: Aztek The Barfly
True Hip Hop is alive in Detroit, anchored by gifted musicians who have elevated the craft of the beats and the rhymes to new levels. At the Michigan Raw Beat Battle, a monthly event presented at 5e Gallery’s The Foundation stage, a gathering of some of the city’s finest producers come together to have their creations face off for the crowd to judge.
On April 3, Aztek The Barfly took the latest crown in a heated competition that had the crowd begging for “one more beat!” Hard hitting and polished, Aztek’s music is constructed for the underground, true to the boom bap pioneers and Motor City visionaries that continue to push the bounds of the music.
Common Breath Media: Thanks for catching up after the beat battle, please introduce yourself for the readers.
Aztek: My name is Aztek the Barfly, one half of the Rising Sunz. Detroit Hip Hop all day, Michigan representative, Deadbeats.
CBM: Congrats on the win at the April Michigan Raw Beat Battle.
Aztek: Thank you very much, there was some tough competition out there tonight. A lot of my brothers up on stage tonight, good competition, the best one wins tonight.
CBM: The win took place on DJ Sicari’s 5e Gallery stage at the Old Miami. You’ve known Sicari for a while now I understand.
Aztek: I’ve grown up with Sicari, watching him, he’s like a big brother to me. He’s been a staple in the community, I grew up in Southwest Detroit, a product of Southwest Detroit and Detroit Public Schools, and he’s always been a staple in the community as far as Hip Hop goes.
CBM: His stage truly represents the five elements of Hip Hop, a place where the city can learn about this global culture and how we all can represent for it.
Aztek: You’ve got to incorporate all five (elements), otherwise it’s not real Hip Hop. Rapping is just something you do, emceeing Hip Hop is a way of life. The graffiti, the breakdancing, you have to incorporate everything, that’s real Hip Hop, that’s culture.
CBM: What’s the Hip Hop experience in Southwest Detroit been like?
Aztek: Hip hop has always been relevant in Detroit, and as far as Southwest Detroit, a longtime ago in the ’80s it grew up on the freestyle and trickled down. More kids from downtown area and northwest area were bringing it in, and it became more evident. We picked up on it, and that’s what we started to do.
CBM: Southwest Detroit is known for its amazing graffiti too.
Aztek: Oh yeah, yeah.
CBM: What kind of projects are you working on now?
Aztek: I’m working on a few different records right now. I’m working on a project right now, it’s called From Above, it’s me and my buddy Foulmouth, he’s Deadbeats crew with me. We’ve got a new Rising Sunz record coming out.
I’ve been producing for about ten or twelve guys in Detroit right now, Moe Dirdee, Mixo, I just cut a whole record for him. You don’t have to look too far to find me, Aztek The Barfly. I don’t have a Facebook, I don’t have a Twitter, find me in the bar. Aztek The Barfly, I’ll be around, I’ll have a beat CD on me.