AZ Goes A.W.O.L.
9/16/05 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview
In 1994, Brooklyn artist AZ
appeared on "Life's a B*tch", dropping verses on Nas'
debut CD. His skills shined in the collaborative effort
and gained him an immediate underground following. Since
1995, AZ has released several albums to mixed media
reviews, but never lost hold of his loyal base of
supporters. Last year AZ was to release "Final
Call", but the album never made it to store shelves. AZ
returned to the studio to record the recently released
A week after dropping, the heavily underrated MC took the time
to speak with LatinRapper in this exclusive interview.
Latinrapper.com: First off, what can AZ supporters expect
with your new album A.W.O.L?
AZ at his best, the authentic AZ, the new improved AZ at the
same time. Past, present and future, (laughs)
How would you say this album is different from your last
This album, man, is all street, you know. No singers on this
album, I basically stepped my lyrical content up. Every album
I do that, and to me this is my best album.
What track on this album is most significant to you?
Wow. There's a few. City of Gods, and Still Alive. I spoke
from my heart.
I noticed you didnít have too many major artists featured
on this artist
Any particular reason why you went that route?
I mean, you know, its an AZ album at the end of the day, I
like to keep it like that. I know I needed a few, which is why
I went to the Wu, Rae and Ghost, they keep up. And CL Smooth
is legendary, I wanted his aura on the album. Everything else
is my vision, my life.
If you could collaborate with any rapper you haven't worked
with before, who would it be?
(laughs) wow. God bless the dead, Pac.
As far as beats, who did production on the new album?
You know we had legendary Premier, Buckwild from Diggin' In
The Crates with Fat Joe and Big L, God bless the dead. Heat
makers, and the rest.
Have you been doing any shows to promote the new CD?
Yeah, I did a few shows, trying to get on a tour as we speak
right now, I'm still performing. Got a big show next week with
D-Block and Game, the stage show is impeccable.
IĎm sure youĎve been asked this before, but whatís the word
on you and Nas doing a full album together?
Well, my door's always open. Nas is Nas, nahmean, he goes
through his own zone. So when time permits, I'm ready. I donít
want the world to think its me [waiting], its more or less
Youíve been in the game for more than a minute, are you
involved with any side businesses outside of being an MC?
Well, Quiet Money Records is my own label, I'm the first
artist, this album is distributed by Koch. I got a few artists
coming out of the trenches, top of the year. Working on a
clothes line, but it takes time, everything gotta fall into
You had a brief appearance in the film Belly, no other
acting aspirations since then?
I just completed a movie called Envy, with Lisa Jay, Maya
Campbell, its like a 2005 "Belly", its supposed to be coming
to theaters by Christmas time, itís a good look too.
Not sure if anyone else ever asks this, but what would
Anthony Cruz be doing right now if he never became a rapper?
(laughs) I couldnít tell you that. I'm a hustler by nature,
I'd probably be doing something entrepreneurial, trying to
capitalize. (laughs) That's crazy.
How much as the rap game changed since you had gotten into
I mean, the rap game changes daily, just like human beings,
minds, clothes. Rap has expanded to me, it went from state to
state, coast to cast, still growing, like a monster that took
over the whole planet. I'm taking the good with the bad, lots
of bad things with rap, as with life. Lots of good things with
rap, as with life. Growth and development.
Do you ever have Latinos giving you extra props or showing
you love for being one of a handful of Dominican artists
Right. I do get that from time to time, itís a good look, you
know. At the end of the day, we all minorities, know what I
mean, I guess I speak that voice from the ghetto that everyone
could relate to.
Ask hip hop heads to name the top three most underrated
MCs, and you're often the first one mentioned. Why do you
think you get less media attention than artists that you
Um, I guess itís the machine that you're with. It plays a big
part, the politic game, everything's politics at the end of
the day, thatís the reason why. But at the end of the day,
someone gotta play that part, and I'm built for it. The
average person would have probably hung himself because they
cant deal with the social ills of life.
What's more important: a platinum plaque, a Grammy, or five
Five mics is respect, and that will outlast any Grammy. The
platinum, you put out enough albums, it will add up to a
million records (laughs). You put out 10 records, sell 250,000
still go platinum.
Any last message you'd like to add?
A.W.O.L. the album is out, itís the element that we missing in
hip hop, I'm bringing it back. Show your love and support,
I'mma continue putting out hits.
AZ on Myspace: