Detroit rapper Lazarus has recently set down with Southpawer for an exclusive interview. The rapper talked about Detroit, his current and future plans, D12, Royce Da 5’9″, Kxng Crooked, Top 5 MCs and much more. You can read and listen to the interview below:
Southpawer: Could you please introduce yourself shortly?
Lazarus: Yeah, I go by the stage name of Lazarus. I’m from Detroit, Michigan and I’ve been coming up in the hip-hop scene in Detroit and slowly and steadily bringing my name out. I’m just a very hungry, passionate Detroit hip-hop artist, who wants his voice to be heard and his message to be heard by the masses.
Southpawer: How’s life in Detroit? What it means to you to be from the legendary city?
Lazarus: Detroit is a legendary city with a lot of very incredible MCs which is a blessing, you know, coming from that environment, coming from that background. My father emigrated from Pakistan to Detroit and that’s where I was born. It has a very special place in my heart because it’s the place where I basically learned to be a human being on this earth…I’m so happy that I was able to be inspired by the music around me to allow myself to become the poet and hip-hop artist that I am today.
Southpawer: Tell us the beginning of your career. How it all started?
Lazarus: I used to rap in High School. During that time I was extremely big on Wu-Tang, big on NAS and Eminem was just coming out at that time and I had been so inspired, especially by Wu-Tang, it almost made me feel as if, words can be put together in such a intricate way that is was so cool to hear and so awesome to listen to and I would just zone out of my life and those words would just pick me up and would change my mood. I would just listen to a song by GZA or Nas and it would make me feel good about myself. When I went to college at Wayne State University in Detroit, I used to do cyphers and started battling and freestyling with other rappers at the college campus. That’s where everything started because that led me to getting on the local radio stations and my name started spreading out.
Southpawer: What or who was the main inspiration to start rapping?
Lazarus: The main inspiration for me to start rapping were Wu-Tang, Nas, Talib Kweli, Big L. When I heard somebody rapped with a message and somebody rapped with intricate words it made me fall in love with hip-hop.
Southpawer: What’s the meaning of the name Lazarus? Why you call yourself Lazarus?
Lazarus: So, Lazarus is a biblical name. It’s a character from the Bible that was resurrected and the reason I call myself Lazarus is because there was a time when I used to not go by Lazarus and it used to be just Kamran, my real name, but what ended up happening was that because of the September 11 events that happened in 2001 and various other occurrences, people had told me because of my ethnicity that there was no way the world would accept somebody like me, particularly in America, because of the image that CNN has portrayed of me. They will never never take you serious. They will never let you to get your words out there and so I almost had to kill myself, from the music standpoint, because everyone was saying it’s not gonna happen, no matter how hard you try, it’s not gonna work. But I resurrected that dead soul inside me and said ‘you know what? I can do this. I will do it’. There’s been various times in my career where I wanted to give up but that spirit came back and resurrected my passion and I became the Lazarus again. And the other meaning of Lazarus is resurrecting hip-hop because I saw so much death in hip-hop that I wanted to be a light and bring life back into it.
Southpawer: What are your future plans? what can we expect from you?
Lazarus: Man, I’m doing a lot of stuff with the South-Asian hip-hop scene but I’m also continuing to work with my Detroit family. I got project still in line with D12 and with Swify McVay. I’m continuously building relationships with everybody and it’s just really exciting to work with a lot of big names. There’s some names that I can’t really put out on the interview but I got some pretty big names that I’m working with right now.
Southpawer: You worked with D12, KXNG Crooked, Royce Da 5’9″.. How you met them?
Lazarus: Back in the days, when I was doing freestyles in college I met Swifty because he was one of the judges, back in the days, maybe 2004. He used to judge me. He saw me from the root of this, he used to watch me battle on the radio, on stage and that’s when I first got introduced to Bizarre, Swifty, Kuniva… Royce, I got introduced to because I would record in the same studio as him. My engineer in the studio was the same engineer that Royce works with so we got introduced. Once I was co-signed by Russell Simmons in 2013 I started to put out material on All Def Digital.
Southpawer: Do you consider Royce Da 5’9″ as one of the best lyricist of all time?
Lazarus: Yes! Definitely, I consider Royce as one of the best lyricist and I consider him without question the king of Detroit, as far as lyricism is concerned. Him and Eminem and Elzhi from Slum Village are my top 3 lyricists from Detroit. Amazing skill and a big inspiration to me. Eminem, Royce, Elzhi, these guys had direct profound impact on my career. Their style, their energy, their wordplay, their lyricism had a big influence on me.
Southpawer: There are rumors that D12 are making an album. Is that right?
Lazarus: I don’t think I can publicly make a statements whether a D12 album is coming or not but I will tell you that I do have future projects with them and there are surprises in store. Obviously, I’m not in a position to disclose those details.
Southpawer: What’s the song that you are the most proud of making?
Lazarus: “Fearless,” I really like that song because I think it’s a song that touched a lot of people. The message that I had in the song was a very important message that not too many people were getting out there. There were a lot people afterwards that did songs about Donald Trump and they said “Donald Trump is this, Donald Trump is that” but I felt like that song, what I did lyrically there, I went deeper than just “F**k Donald Trump”and I’m proud of that. And also because Crooked is a lyricist that is intimidating to any emcee competitively. He is one of my favorite lyricist in hip-hop.
Southpawer: What’s your Top 5 MCs of all time?
Lazarus: My top 5 MCs of all time, number one is 2Pac, I love 2Pac for his emotion. Number two is Biggie, Notorious B.I.G., I love the sharpness of his words and the smoothness that he flows with and number three I would have to put Eminem because Eminem’s wordplay and uses of syllables and rhyme schemes are unparalleled. Nobody can put words together better than Eminem. Number four I would put Nas because of his poetic style of storytelling which is unmatched. And then personally for me, number five, I would put GZA from Wu-Tang. He made, probably, my favorite album of all time which is “Liquids Swords” and his vocabulary and use of science in hip-hop is something that really inspired me.
Southpawer: What’s the first record that you bought ? Lazarus:
The first record that I ever bought was probably Eazy E’s “Real Mutha***n G’s” (laughs).
Southpawer: Is there anything you want to add?
Lazarus: Yeah man, I wanna give a shout out to your website man. I really like it. I’ve seen you guys supporting me over the years. I really appreciate you guys. I’m really excited to continue building internationally. Me and Swifty are putting plans together to do an international tour. I’m really excited to come out to Europe. I wanna represent Detroit. I wanna spread love trough all communities and cultures. Hip-hop brings together members of all races and puts everybody together in one room and I think that’s a beautiful thing and promoting unity is especially important right now.
Listen to the full interview below: