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.