A thoughtful, literate “gangsta” rapper in the truest of New York traditions, critics have long celebrated AZ’s lyrical prowess. Like local peers Nas and Jay-Z, not only does AZ bring intelligence to his rhymes, but also an impressive flow and delivery that further sets him apart from the flood of New York MC’s fighting for survival in the crowded rap game. With a successful underground career dating back to 1995, AZ has often been linked to Nas (beginning with a career making step-out on Nas’ “Life’s a Bitch” from the album “Illmatic”). With Pete Rock crafting beats for him on his solo outings, his career took a sudden upswing as he joined rap super group The Firm (featuring Nas, Foxy Brown and Nature) recording with Dr. Dre and The Trackmasters for the ‘97 release of The Firm’s “The Album”. He followed up the group outing with five heralded solos albums, including ‘Doe or Die’, ‘Pieces of a Man’, ‘Aziatic, ‘9 Lives’, and ‘SOSA (Save Our Streets AZ)’.
The 6th full length solo effort from the rapper, ‘AWOL’, is a rock solid album of classic AZ material. With production from highly regarded New York underground legends such as DJ Premier, Buckwild, and DipSet production duo the Heatmakerz, and features from Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, the rapper stepped away from his previously money-oriented subject matter, stating that he "wanted it to be all street.” The results are a certified classic.
A1. So Sincere (Intro)
A2. Never Change
A3. New York (Feat. Ghostface Killah & Raekwon)
A4. Can't Stop
B1. Still Alive
B2. Az's Chillin'
B3. City Of Gods
C1. Street Life (Feat. Half-a-mil & Begetz)
C2. Bedtime Story
C3. The Come Up
C4. Envious (Feat. Bounty Killer)
D2. Live Wire
D3. Magic Hour (Feat. CL Smooth)
D4. The Truth (Feat. Ralo)