After beginning his career by debuting on Nas’ track “Life’s A Bitch,” AZ released classic Albums such as 1995’s Doe or Die, 1998’s Pieces Of A Man, 2001’s 9 Lives and 2002‘s Aziatic. AZ was also a member of rap super group The Firm with Nas, Foxy Brown and Nature and has recorded with some of today’s greatest producers such as Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, Trackmasters, Buckwild and Pete Rock.
Following the success of his 2005 release A.W.O.L., AZ strikes back again a mere year later with a brand new studio LP, The Format, which will be released on 11-7-06 courtesy of AZ’s own label Quiet Money/Fastlife Music.
After a decade in the game, A.W.O.L., brought AZ back to the forefront and among his rightful place as one of Hiphop’s most elite visceral lyricists; and The Format will only build upon his already legendary status, as AZ’s vision and lyrical power to paint pictures have long been celebrated by critics and fans alike.
Now he is back with The Format, a rock-solid collection of 12 new tracks.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: What up homie? It’s always an honor to interview a legend, so you back like cooked crack, on this new album.. what label is the album coming out on?
AZ: Quiet Money.. that’s my label.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: How is Indie vs Major? I know the money is better of course.
AZ: With the Indies, its more hands on, more control. You get to see where every dollar is spent. More creative control, more bang for the buck at the end of the day, you control your own destiny. You get a chance to watch it grow, it starts from a fetus, but you get a chance to see it grow, and I know its gonna get greater later.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Are you on the road right now?
AZ: We setting up tours now. The 1st week of November, AZ will be in your town very soon.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Guest spots on the album? I know AZ lyrically can hold a whole album no problem…
but, Did u link with anyone?
AZ: A few. I got M.O.P…you know that’s Brooklyn all day, I needed that. I got Little Brother, they speak along the same vein that I do. I got a record I did with a Dipset affiliate. And I got Quiet Money artists on
there. I kept it minimal.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Why were you able to last so long? I mean 12 years in the game since ’94 with Illmatic…
AZ: I keep myself grounded. I don’t have any insecurities, I’m comfortable within my own skin and I’m me. so, once you got that, you can rock it until the casket drop, ya know?
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: How as an artist do u please a younger fan base that doesn’t know who you are?
AZ: I still got one leg in the hood. I also have a big family, and their ages range from teenagers to whatever and I keep my ear to the street always. The game never change, just the names.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Everybody I ask, they say AZ is in the top 5 greats..who are ya Top 5 MC’s of all time?
AZ: I got a top 15 or 20 (laughs) cause I gotta start it with G. Rap, to Kane, to God bless the dead, BIG and Pac..Jay, Nas, Ice Clue.. to Snoop.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: When is the album droppin? What’s the name of it?
AZ: It will be in stores November 7th. It’s called “The Format” and its AZ to the tenth power, I get greater
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: What producers did you work with on this project?
AZ: A lot of new producers, J. Carter, is one, but I also got legendary Dj Premier, Fame from M.O.P. did
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Can we expect to see AZ on the big screen?
AZ: Yea actually, I did a movie already, it features Lisa Raye and Maia Campell. It’s called Envy. It’ll be out in 2007.. I’ma see how that pans out.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Word? Ok we gonna be checking for their sexy asses. If u peep the dvd hustle, its similar to the independent music game. Alotta cats are taking product straight to the streets. Is this a similar deal?
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Is Hip Hop Dead?
AZ: Oh it could never die to me, it may get a makeover, but it has no beginning so it can have no ending. Hip hop is the life, the struggle, the culture, and we still have that. It may change names, from blues, to jazz, to hip hop, but if it gotta get another name.. then that’s what It’ll do, but it’ll never die, cause it’s the way of life.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Over the years, AZ has rocked some fly ass wears, do u have plans for a clothing line or anything like that?
AZ: I want to… I’m not focusing on it as yet, but once I get my foot where I wanna be…then that’s a zone that I wanna go into.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Ight, good looking out AZ, anytime, when you in my hood get at me, Flex is definitely gonna blast off your joint on my radio show, and I appreciate what you’re doing for the music.
AZ: aiight FAM..