Possibly the most impressive aspect of his rise to the top is that it’s not due to some one-off lucky break. Azza’s put the time and graft in, progressing through room 3s and room 2s to achieve his main stage status, and is now reaping the rewards.
Coming up in the creativity-heavy Norwich DnB scene that gave us the likes of T>I, Bladerunner, Upgrade, and Limited, Azza quickly defined a style that wasn’t quite like anyone else. Combining humour and earworm hooks with straight-up hard lyricism and a highly original flow, his connection with audiences was undeniable.
And then TNA, The New Age, took Azza to an unprecedented level. Having discovered a kindred lyrical spirit in Grima, their back-to-back performances were becoming a legend all of their own. Adding their lyrical skill to producers and deejays of the stature of Dominator and Nu Elementz, TNA became, simply, one of the biggest crews DnB has ever seen.
Now, of course, Azza and the TNA family have a proven track record of shelling down the largest stages the drum ‘n’ bass scene has to offer. But perhaps it’s their series of roadblock events that really tell the story of how big these guys are. We’ve seen them sell-out huge venues without even releasing a line-up, such is the dedication and size of their fanbase.
In recent years, we’ve seen Azza hand-picked by Dizzee Rascal to emcee for his return-to-DnB radio sets, contribute to the multi-million-viewed Fire in the Booth and “DnB Artform” videos, and inspire a whole generation of up-and-coming mic controllers.
But this is just scratching the surface. Azza might already be an internationally-known drum ‘n’ bass superstar, but his career so far teaches us one thing. For Azza, there are always new levels to hit, so watch out for what’s coming.