Call them musical ambassadors. AZI Fellas, a crew of Cambodian rappers based in the city’s Olney section, made its first trip to Phnom Penh earlier this month. Their goal was not only to tap into the country’s growing hip-hop scene, but to join Mia-lia Kiernen of The One Love Movement – a Philly nonprofit calling for better immigration policy and a stop to deportation. That issue hits home for the AZIs; their track “Injustice” paints a picture of deportees separated from their families, taken without notice – something they’ve witnessed in their own neighborhood. It’s a fierce and chilling indictment, and shows the group’s ability to operate on different planes. On one level, they can make RZA-esque bangers like today’s Philly Local Phile, “Unstoppable.” But their role as social critics and activists is equally formidable. The Fellas returned to Philly yesterday, and are wasting no time playing a homecoming gig – they’re at The M Room tonight.
AZI Fellas perform with Voss and Young Gliss at 9 p.m. at The M Room; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.