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About HAZIQ: 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 dont 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 its 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."

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