AZ – Aziatic

AZ - AziaticThe first track I ever heard AZ on was The Firm’s “Desperados.” Surprisingly, the man’s verse kept up with the heavyweight Nas and even compared with that of Canibus. His mellow flow sweetened the deal for me, and honestly I DL’d the only album I could find, Aziatic, since his albums are hard to find where I live. I also plan to buy Do or Die. I was surprised people don’t usually pay attention to Z, but then I realized that you have to pay extra attention to dude cuz of his passive voice, mellow style and not-so-emotional delivery. Still not an MC that should be overlooked.

 

1) Once Again 

Using a sample from an older song, a laid-back track that suits AZ’s mellow style and voice, on which AZ raps a positive verse about his return to the game. Makes me feel good, refreshing. (Good)

2) A-1 Performance 

AZ pronounces, “no more crystal and Don P–straight Gatorade,” and delivers his promise (lyrically at least) on this bouncy track. AZ raps confident heat, though I wasnt feeling the beat (think of Joe Budden’s NBA) or hook, which didnt seem to fit well with AZ. (Avg.)

3) Wanna Be There 

Not feelin the upbeat, piano keyed, 70’s soul beat/singer combination, definitely doesn’t fit AZ. His verses are real good, throwin it up to deceased homies, but the track itself is more suited to Jay-Z. (Poor)

4) Take it Off 

A Westcoast club banger, a good beat and def more of AZ’s style. Not feelin the sung hook that comes by way too often, however combining Westcoast club with rhyme skills is a good thing. (Good)

5) Essence (ft. Nas) 

60’s-type slow-dance joint…not feelin beat at all. Nas and AZ trade verses like experts with scorching rhymes, but the gangsta/i gotcha back subject matter ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT GO WITH THE CUT. (Horrible)

6) Hands in the Air 

MAJOR switch-up, an ILL beat worthy of Kanye West with guitars and a blues singer, a piano and a crazy-as-hell drum beat, put together with AZ’s verses INSANELY well. One of my favorite tracks ever, GOD DAMN THIS IS SOME HOT SHIT. (Excellent)

7) Fanmail 

More tolerable beat, average to me but not bad, and it fits AZ’s style as he reads mail from fans; set up extremely similar to Nas’ Book of Rhymes. (Avg.)

8) Paradise (Life) 

Not feelin the piano lacing of the track, but the beat does a nice as hell drum beat. AZ spits deep on life. (Good)

9) Take Care of Me 

A weirdly catchy string beat with a sinuous hook, a sex track rhymed in story form, takin it to a different area. (Good)

10) I’m Back (ft. El Shaber) 

a Spanish, Mamba-styled track, nice, different beat that I’m feeling pretty well, with a cool hook that’s over quick so AZ can get back to spitting. More about AZ’s return to the game, with guest El Shaber laying down some pretty good stuff too. (Good)

11) Hustler (ft. Trav) 

Good, emotional beat with a deep hook (I’m a hustler, not by choice), AZ laying vivid images of death and loss. Trav, a second MC, also lays it down pretty well. Only hitch on this is that AZ’s voice isnt really suited to deliver heavy emotion–can’t hold that against him, however. (Good)

12) ReBirth 

AZ spittin some str8 fire, not much for subject matter. (Good)

13) Aziatic Outro 

Starts with a slow, memories-type beat, AZ talking; then fades and moves into a sick Westcoast, G-Funk beat with him spttin suttin real, as usual. (Good)

Rating: 3.2/5

A few of the cuts on here seem out of place, not fitting AZ at all, and his ill verses are hampered by that fact. However many of his songs are good (not amazing, just good) due to his own skills more than the beat, and there’s the odd Excellent cut on there. If they had, except for a few exceptions, released an acapella album of this I’d cop that and lay the vocals over something more suitable.

My advice: If you’re a die-hard AZ fan get this album, you can put up with whatever and listen to his illness. If you’re listening to him on recommendation and never heard dude before, you’re better off with Do or Die.

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