Old News: Harlem Drug KingPin AZ Sues Rapper AZ for using his alias, and won. (New York Times)
Kinda relevant today...seeing as how their are 20+ threads in the past 2 pages talking about a certain Miami rapper using someones REAL government name on some fake sh-t....Interesting this guy got a half a mill based on the fact that someone used his ALIAS
[pic - click to view] What's In A Name? 450g - New York Daily News
'I was shot nine times. Twice in the head."
Azie Faison, a former drug dealer known on Harlem streets as "AZ," is distinguishing himself from that other AZ, the rapper whose recent single "Sugar Hill" went gold.
"Someone point a gun and put it on your forehead and you see them pull the trigger. . . . It was like a very learning experience for me."
Faison considers this experience hard enough earned that nobody should be able just to adopt the tag AZ and sing about being a Sugar Hill drug dealer. This other AZ on the videos looks as if he was never shot, not even once.
"He look like a little kid to me," Faison says. So, Faison figures that he was only right in suing. The papers his lawyer filed in Manhattan Federal Court last year charged that the other AZ had stolen not just his client's moniker but a persona that arose from a career as a young drug dealer.
That career ended abruptly on Aug. 21, 1987, when Faison and five other people were shot in a drug rip-off by none other than Ronald Timmons of the notorious Timmons twins.
Faison arrived at Lincoln Hospital to have a detective take a dying declaration.
"His exact words were, 'Mr. Faison, you know you are dying, right?' " Faison remembers. "My exact words were, 'I hope not.' "
For reasons he can ascribe only to the Almighty, Faison survived. He gave up the narcotics trade to become AZ, rap singer of righteousness.
"I felt I had a message, to tell the people what happened to me; that I saw God," Faison says. "I was trying to show them right over wrong."
The public reaction was as might have been predicted.
"People didn't want to hear that," Faison says. "I was definitely ahead of my time."
Last year, Faison ended up broke on a stoop in Sugar Hill across from the dry cleaners where he had worked for $75 a week before becoming a drug dealer. He suffered a surprise to rival that of being shot when somebody handed him a red and black flyer announcing that a rapper named AZ was coming out with a song called "Sugar Hill."
"I felt this to be very strange," Faison says.
Over the days ahead, AZ posters were plastered all over the neighborhood. Faison was met with the same question everywhere he went.
"People were coming up, saying, 'When's your single out?' " Faison says. "I said, 'I don't have any record coming out.' "
One friend stopped by to urge Faison to share some of the wealth that was surely rolling his way.
"I said, 'What?' " Faison recalls. "He said, 'Stop playing me, A-man. Give me some money. Where's your car? I know you got something new out here now.' "
Faison was at another friend's house when he heard the deejay say, "AZ for real on Sugar Hill."
He then heard this other AZ sing the single promised by the flyers and posters. The song was a first-person account of a Sugar Hill drug dealer who becomes a "recovered man."
"I said, 'This sounds like me,' " Faison says. "I said, 'I'm AZ and I was born and raised in the heart of Sugar Hill.' I said, 'This don't make sense.' "
Somebody urged Faison to sue and he retained attorney Lawrence Weiss. The suit docketed as 95 Civ. 7110 in Manhattan Federal Court alleged that the other AZ, real name Anthony Cruz, "appropriated to himself the name, identity, persona and life story of the plaintiff."
In recompense, Faison asked for $10 million. He also sought to enjoin Cruz from using the name AZ, as this was "likely to cause confusion and mistake, and to deceive consumers and others, as to the affiliation, connection and a.ssociation of defendant with plaintiff."
Cruz' lawyers denied that their client had ripped off anybody's identity. They also suggested that Faison could not claim protective right to letters of the alphabet. "You or I could pick up the same AZ and go out there and perform," attorney Donald Zakarin says.
In the depositions, Faison gave sworn statements as to his status as a bona fide former drug dealer known as AZ who had been shot nine times. The lawyers in April agreed to a settlement whose terms the parties are prohibited from discussing.
Faison does indicate that his remuneration is some $9,550,000 less than he sought. He says he is using the money to bankroll a record of his own. He will be a.ssuming a new rap name based on A's status as the first letter of the alphabet and Z's as the 26th.
"I'm '1-26,' now," Faison says.
"But, you can come up to Harlem and ask anybody who's the real AZ."