The Underrated: AZ

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The man from out of Brooklyn, born Anthony Cruz, has built up a legacy over 20 years in the game, but tends to get overlooked still. He might be the most underrated lyricist of our time, with only a few other artists in the game coming close to his pen. His first moment on notoriety came on Nas' classic debut "Illmatic" and from there, AZ had the fans attention, but more importantly, their ears. His verse on "Life's A Bitch" is still heavily quoted and is seen by many as clearly superior to Nas' verse on the song.

With newfound fame on his side, AZ took to releasing his first album, the slept on classic "Doe or Die". His first single "Sugar Hill" was a nice success, garnering him a gold plaque for the Doe or Die album. With songs like "Mo Murder, Mo Money, Mo Homicide" and "Rather Unique" as well, it's no surprise the album reached much success.

With Nas popular, AZ on his way and Foxy Brown growing in name, they got together to create The Firm along with Cormega(eventually replaced by Nature). They released a platinum album with the single "Phone Tap" carrying it, and garnered AZ his first ever no. 1 album on the charts(The Firm album hit no. 1 on the Billboard 200).

AZ would not see a level of success like that or critical acclaim with his follow up projects such as Pieces of A Man and the bootlegged 9 Lives, however, he would hit hard with another near classic in "Aziatic", released in 2002. AZ got a grammy nomination off this album, for the song "The Essence" with Nas guest appearing. After "Aziatic", AZ released a plethora of indie releases, most of which were solid, before announcing Doe or Die 2. Doe Or Die 2 has yet to materialize, but one would imagine that AZ is feverishly working to create another classic.

AZ might not have the strongest career album wise or sales wise, but when it comes to skill and talent, there aren't too many that can keep up with him. Point blank. Salute to AZ.



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