Amazumi: the late bloomer with a venomous tongue
Amazumi (before Zulu Moon) is a female MC with Nepalese roots, who grew up in Hong Kong and moved through London to Belgium. She calls herself a late bloomer as she only got involved with the hip hop scene 5 years ago. Last week she turned 30, but that doesn’t stop her from fighting for what she wants: getting by by doing the one thing she loves. She participated in De Nieuwe Lichting 2017, dropped her first EP as Amazumi in March and has a new EP coming up soon. We found the perfect moment at Putrock to have a chat with this inspiring MC.
Photos by Sacha Claes and Chess Teugels, text by Melissa Awouters
You were a journalist yourself before becoming a musician. How do those careers connect?
I started my career in journalism when I was 19. People were suprised when I chose to do something totally different. But it actually makes a lot of sense: both crafts involve writing, having a voice, thinking and reflecting. But music is less restrictive, while journalists are supposed to be unbiased. I was living in a different world before. I was always interested in making music, but I never thought I would do it seriously. I was only really exposed to the hip hop scene after I moved to London and met a bunch of people who were involved with elements of hip hop, like MC’s and break dancers.
The first time I laid any raps was in London, around 2010 or 2011. I think moving to London was the steppingstone, the trigger. I was lucky to end up in the right environment. I spent two months in a student accomodation with other students from different ages, all Nepalese like me. Every day we were cyphering, filming choreography and performing at events. When you’re in that environment 24/7, it is inevitable that you get inspired yourself eventually.
Hopefully, I will be like a cool hip hop grandma!
Your music has a lot of attitude, does it reflect your personality?
I have a very shy and quiet side. I keep a lot of things to myself and those come out in the lyrics. It's the perfect outlet for me to say whatever the hell I want. While in real life I am the type of person that thinks a lot about how people might feel about what I say. In my music I express myself how I want, because somewhere out there someone can relate.
My attitude is situational. It will be there if it’s required. My brother said I have softened with age. As a teen you rebel a lot more and you’re just angry with the world, right? Some music still brings out the teenager in me. Music keeps you young. I mean, look at the Rolling Stones: They are all wrinkled, but they still feel like they in the sixties era.
So you will still be the same in 50 years?
Hopefully, I will be like a cool hip hop grandma! I would love it if I had kids and they would come on tour with me.
I assume you know some things about the hip hop scene in the UK, since you lived there for a year. What is the big difference between the UK and Belgium?
The UK, especially London, is more expensive. There is a lot of hustling going on. People are always trying to make money, just to pay the rent and have nothing left for anything else. MC’s are selling their CD’s on the street and pushing people to listen. There is a lot of competition. That’s the main difference. Artists in Belgium are more laid back. Here, we have the privilege to relax and just enjoy making music.
Amazumi has a strong feeling to it. It sounds like an Amazon or something Japanese and exotic. It symbolized a fresh start to me, because of all the things happening in my life.
Your name was Zulu Moon before. Why did you change it into Amazumi?
Zulu Moon just came to me in a flash, while Amazumi was more pre-meditated. I wanted to have a name that I could become and had conciously thought of. I was turning a new chapter in my life, musically as well as personally. Amazumi has a strong feeling to it. It sounds like an Amazon or something Japanese and exotic. It symbolized a fresh start to me, because of all the things happening in my life.
I also changed my management to Mellowminds. It all happened naturally. A group of friends got together and had the idea to create this organic platform. The idea was to start from scratch and grow together. Not with the aim of blowing up immediately, but putting local artists in the spotlight.
You work with a backup MC and a DJ, why this formation?
It was a circumstantial thing. My first choice was to play with a live band, because I feel better when I can vibe naturally on stage. It is okay for this EP that is quite electronic, but I want to expand it.
Electronic but influenced by oldschool MC’s?
I wouldn’t say all my influences are completely oldschool. There are a lot of new artists and projects constantly inspiring me, for example Noname Gypsy. She sounds like the female Chance The Rapper. She has made her own niche and I respect artists with their own sound. You can’t say they sound exactly like other artists, for example Anderson Paak or J. Cole. Ofcourse you can take influences, as long as it doesn’t sound generic.
Some oldschool musicians want to stick to music of a certain era. But that’s not the way to go, everything was new once.
We, as humans, go through phases and those should be reflected in your sound. You’re constantly discovering yourself.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We, as humans, go through phases and those should be reflected in your sound. Music is great because your whole life is played out in it. You’re constantly discovering yourself. Sometimes you just go with the flow and only when you read it again you realise what it means. Instead of writing a book, you reflect on your thoughts by writing music.
You can write music from two different angles: telling an autobiographical story or wanting to escape the world. Sometimes I just want to make music that makes people move and not think about anything. That’s also music.
Do you think there is a lack of female MC’s?
There are definitly not as many female MC’s in the spotlight as male MC’s, but they do exist. If you look at Cyphereffect, you see all these girls rapping. But they do judge you differently as a female MC. You have to be exceptionally good. Or exceptionally good-looking. (laughs)
A few of my favourite female MC's are Queen Latifah, Ms Dynamite, MC Lyte, The Lady Of Rage, Rapsody, Lady Leshurr…. First I didn’t know how to feel about Princess Nokia, but I was sold when I saw her presence on stage. Same with the Dutch underground MC Rawberry. You feel your heart pounding when they are on stage.
Do you agree that the belgian hip hop scene is finally coming together?
Darrell Cole messaged me a couple of days ago. He told me I’ve got a new fan and he added me to his Spotify playlist. He was saying it’s time the scene unites and he is damn right!
V for Venom is purging, like I am taking all my poison out. While the first EP is very dark, the next one is meant to be lighter.
Are you working on anything right now?
My next EP is almost finished so it should be out soon. It is going to be in total contrast with my first EP as Amazumi. V for Venom is purging, like I am taking all my poison out. While the first EP is very dark, the next one is meant to be lighter in sound and content.
I do a lot of genre-bending, probably because I didn’t grew up with hip hop but with rock music. If you see any Nepalese people, their favourite band is probably a rockband! (laughs) My ultimate band was Rage Against the Machine. The first time I’ve heard someone MC’ing, was at a performance at school where some seniors covered Rage Against the Machine. That’s when I fell in love with the art form. I am a late bloomer when it comes to hip hop, that’s why I feel like there are many more chapters to unfold.
All new articles
In primeur: bekijk de videoclip voor ‘Talking Backwards’ van JTOTHEC
JTOTHEC, de West-Vlaamse versie van Prince, speelde afgelopen vrijdag nog De Kreun in Kortrijk plat tijdens de releaseshow van de debuutplaat 'Somebody Had To Make This Record'. Nadat voorloper 'You Gotta Believe In You' meer dan vijftien weken lang in de A-rotatie op Radio 1 bleef, is het nu tijd...
JTOTHEC stelt track voor track zijn debuutplaat voor
West-Vlaming Jonas Casier draait al jarenlang mee in het Belgische funk-, soul- en hiphopcircuit. Eerst als tuntablist bij DJ Grazzhoppa's DJ Bigband, maar tegenwoordig ook met zijn eigen band: JTOTHEC (spreek uit als J to the C). Daar fungeert hij als frontman, bijgestaan door drie...
Listen to Roméo Elvis & Le Motel’s ‘Morale 2Luxe’ here
What can we say? Last year was, without a doubt, Roméo Elvis’ biggest year yet. The guy almost single-handedly brought Brussels’ blooming and booming rap scene into the mainstream and ended last year with no less than 5 Red Bull Elektropedia Awards. But Elvis is clearly not...
5 acts waarvoor je zeker naar Melt Festival in Duitsland moet
Waarom zou je in hemelsnaam op de trein, het vliegtuig, de bus of in de wagen springen om naar Melt festival in Duitsland te reizen? Wij selecteerden 5 acts die de moeite waard zijn om uit je luie zetel te klimmen en de reis naar het indrukwekkende Ferropolis terrein te maken...
Faffie: een jong kledingmerk om in de gaten te houden
Gent en creativiteit, het is al heel lang een match made in heaven. Wij hadden een babbel met Sofie Vandenbergh, een 22-jarige Aalsterse studente die nu al een tijdje in Gent woont. Ze combineert er haar studies met haar eigen kledingmerk en daarover mochten we haar...
WAWA, “we zijn allemaal jong en hongerig”
Wat kan je in Aalst nog meer vinden naast: mannen die zich drie dagen verkleden als oude vrouwen in combinatie met heel wat alcohol? Het antwoord is: heel wat jong talent! Eén van deze talenten die je zeker in de gaten moet houden, is de 17-jarige WAWA. Een...
5 Flemish YouTubers to keep an eye on
Youtube. It’s the perfect way to gather eternal fame on the internet these days. For the British and American creators, that is... We don’t see some Belgian kid becoming the next Logan Paul anytime soon, but never say never, because this country is full of talent!...
From Saint-Petersburg to Shanghai along the longest railway in the world.
According to American travelogue-ist Ian Frazier, Siberia is so big that it is almost more an idea than an actual place. European portrayal of the Orient is unmistakable fed by historical framing, ignorance and the fact that James Bond is always chasing a Lenin or Mao comrade. Intrigued by Chinese...
6 new Belgian Hip-Hop tracks you don’t want to miss
If you've been watching the skies the past week, you might have noticed there was exactly one day with actual refreshing sunlight. Those few rays of sun were just enough to inspire us for this list. Have a look, or should we say, have a listen. We present to...
Bird over zijn debuutalbum ‘Vogelvlucht’: “Blij dat ik zo lang gewacht heb om dit te droppen”
Toen Bird in 2014 'Klootzak met karakter' uitbracht onder SG Records, was dat onmiddelijk een schot in de roos. Ondertussen mogen we deze plaat als een Vlaamse rapklassieker beschouwen waarvan de teller al op bijna 200.000 plays staat, en het bezorgde hem de award van beste nieuwkomer op de Vlaamse Rap Awards....
Our 11 favourite Belgian hip hop tracks of 2017
This list is compiled by two members of the Chase music team. Raf Cyran, music producer, beatmaker and record label owner, and Mitchell Galle, owner of the Vlaams hip hop talent group, rapper and community manager for Red Bull Bekvechten, bring you their favourite Belgian tracks of the year. ...
Boeken drops video for ‘Wolven’ exclusively on Chase
Antwerp-based rapper Boeken is mostly known for his work at StraatWaarde and as co-founder of S.G. Records. He’s also a devoted freestyle MC, who recently took second place at the Red Bull Beckvechten battle. In 2014 he started collaborating with NoMoBS and...
DJ IDFX verzamelt West-Vlaamse ‘Kletsers & Klassiks’ op zijn nieuwe mixtape
David Carton – beter bekend als DJ IDFX – stichtte zo’n twintig jaar geleden samen met mc Herbie de West-Vlaamse hiphop-/reggaeband Pure Blend op. Sinds 2014 staat de groep op non-actief, maar IDFX laat nog dikwijls van zich horen. Tegenwoordig kennen we de Roeselarenaar vooral als admin van...
5 reasons why you should check out Brussels Jazz Festival 2018
From the 11th till the 20th of January, Flagey organises the fourth edition of Brussels Jazz Festival! Every year in January, this festival strikes down in one of the nicest districts of Brussels. You can enjoy 10 days of non-stop jazz. National and international top musicians and artists offer us...