Black Music Month

Former Dallas Rapper Turned Music Exec Using Platform to Inspire

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Azim Rashid’s beginnings in the music career were headlined by the emergence of his Dallas rap group, Nemesis in the 1980’s. That career, leading him to commercial radio, music, retail and lifestyle promotion before forging a career in music and entertainment marketing.

The UNT graduate has been involved in brand strategy for music icons such as Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, NE-YO, Katy Perry, MIGOS, Sean "Diddy" Combs, T.I., Jaden Smith, Russ, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq, The Carters (Jay-Z and Beyonce), Lil Nas X, Lil TJay, Polo G, John Legend, Tyler, Chloe x Halle, The Creator, Adele and other legendary artists and influencers.

“As a transplant of Dallas, when I got to the music business, it was definitely a foreign concept. It wasn’t New York of Los Angeles. Nobody made it from Dallas. I just kind of had that determination to make it,” Rashid said.

He then went from in front of the mic, to behind it.

“Just being an African American male, let’s call a spade a spade. There aren't many of us at the top of the business especially with the advent of streaming, which has shown globally that hip hop and R&B is the number one genre of music. You would think that as contributors, we would have an equity place. It’s something that we are working on continuously," Rashid said.

It’s through that work he shows others how Black music has influenced music for centuries.

“Honestly, I think that’s the statement. All music is Black music. Especially here in America. We’re talking about every form of music going back to the field slaves and the call and response. Then to gospel and then to blues and jazz and then rock and roll. All American music is Black music,” Rashid said.

In his more than 30 years in the business, one thing has been constant, change.

“This is the first generation of kids, say 12 to 22, that all they know is digital music. They have never had to buy a CD or a piece of vinyl. Everything is in their hands. It blows my mind. The downside to that is because there is so much media and so much consumption and things vying for our attention and our eyes that a lot of stuff, especially the good stuff, doesn’t get that justice,” Rashid said. “It’s a progression over time. Everything has become an evolution.”

He says now, he is focused on paying it forward.

"I have a saying that there are five jobs in front of the mic and there are 500 jobs behind the mic. It’s part of a foundation that I have started called behind the microphone which is a passion project of mine. It’s to teach young people specifically in high school and college how to get into this business," Rashid said.

Lending his time and resources to charitable and civic organizations including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, The Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center, The Living Legends Foundation, Music Business Empowerment Conference and the National Museum of African American Music.

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