AZ – Final Call

AZ - Final CallLet the phrase “new AZ shit” catch a true hip-hop fan’s ears and he’s in a good mood. Arguably, the Firm’s finest, the only guest on Nas’ undisputed classic Illmatic, one of the most underrated underground NY MC’s around. The flow is smooth, the voice is chill, the lyrics & style are sick..probably the only reason this man has yet to find fame with his friend & rhyme partner, is his tendency to choose horrible beats to rhyme over, but he attempts to correct that with Final Call.

 

1) Intro ft. Lemon

Just an intro, with some dude named Lemon talking. Lemon lets the crowd know, vividly and persuasively, that the album is going to have a message. One of the best intros to an album I’ve ever heard.

2) Omega 

First real track on the album, and the beat is eh. Not a good way to start off the album; even AZ’s verse starts off slow. It picks up, though the beat (soft piano and a soft snare with some chick singing off-key) doesn’t. (Poor)

3) The Truth 

The beat is decent, a kickin snare & a funk singer in the background with soft horns in the background. Instead of a chorus, the song is broken periodically by a heated OG talkin about the old days. AZ seems like he’s resting, saving his good shit for later, but he has some good shit here and there. (Good)

4) Seems That Way 

A nice beat, really Cali-styled, laid-back. Great cruising song. AZ’s mellow voice and his complex, sicc lyrics really liven the cut, and the hook is good; somehow him talking over it adds something extra. (Great)

5) Talkin’ Gangsta ft. Tony Sunshine

The beat is aight, latin-styled, salsa-ish (complex drums), too simple for me. Tony Sunshine does a good job on the hook, his voice is smooth and catchy. More of a dance track, but AZ comes pretty nice. (Good)

6) Side 2 Side ft. Ron G 

Damn. We were on a roll. An 80’s styled dance cut. The beat is pretty wack…AZ’s lyrics are pretty good but really don’t fit the dance vibe, it’s disorienting. Sounds like an Aziatic outtake. (Horrible)

7) You Know ft. Rell 

The beat is nice, smooth, has a lounge feeling to it. Rell is smooth as hell, too. AZ comes nice on this while being commercial, a bit like Jay-Z. A lot like Jay-Z. He’s switchin up really well on this track. (Good)

8) No Strings

Aaahh…great. The beat is fire, smooth, but not laid back; AZ comes aggressive on this one, which always makes his flow sound better, and the lyrics are sicc. The chick on the hook is pretty good. (Great)

9) Gangsta MC’s ft. Lemon

Lemon talks his poetry in rhyme style here, he talks to modern “gangsta” rappers. Says some deeeeeep shit like “hip hop has always been about the rusty fork tryina eat like the silver spoon” and “how you know holla isn’t short for hallelujah?”

10) Live Wire 

God Damn, I *****in love this beat, jazzy but grimey. It literally sounds like AZ making his own cut for Illmatic; that vintage, flavorful style with the Vizualiza flowing old-school but crazy. (Excellent)

11) Magic Hour ft. C L Smooth 

The beat is pretty *****in nice, halting but smooth at the same time. AZ flows and comes sicc on the track as usual, shows his versatility by switchin up styles/schemes here. CL helps bring that smoothness and presence to the joint; shit is good on the beat, good on the flows, good on the lyrics, good as a collab..shit is just *****in good. (Great)

12) I Am AZ 

Okay, this is an odd one. The beat is aight, it’s really simple, but AZ just *****ing RIPS IT. Has that sound of a street freestyle on the corner, where the beat is improvised. If more was added to the beat this could become another excellent cut. (Good)

13) Girls R Free

Mmm..AZ tries a new flavor here, with some reggae shit. Him singing on the hook is unacceptable, and the beat kinda sucks. The whole vibe is just weak, AZ’s verses are aight, A’s flow is choppy due to the beat. (Poor)

14) Poor, Poor People ft. Lemon 

Lemon does it again, period. “Next time you see a young man wit a criminal record tryinna get a job, hook a brother up cuz that’s the truth behind why he sells crack and why your ass got robbed.”

15) Let Me Know ft. Aaliyah

Over a slow, kinda popish 80’s type jazzy beat AZ rhymes about his life. His rhymes are good, but the beat takes some getting used to. I don’t know why Aaliyah is listed on the track, I think the dude on the hook is singing something she wrote. (Decent)

16) Quiet Money Anthem ft. Nu, Young

This is a nice energetic beat, clapping making up the drum kicks and a string beat makes up the background. Catchy. The hook is pretty catchy too, an anthem as it says, suttin to be bumped in the ride. AZ comes pretty nice, Nu comes aight, Young is aight too. (Good)

 

My Rating: 3.5/5

AZ is making progress from his last couple of albums, though sadly he has no Nas collab on this one. He still seems to choose wack beats to try to counterpoint his lyrics for some reason, but he doesn’t do it near as often. He has some heavy joints on here, but mostly this is a progress album, not a breakthrough album. Shit that shows what he can do and gets people noticin him again, waiting for the next album (if one’s to come).

My Recommendation: Support AZ, let him know you’re out there, buy his shit. There’s enough good joints on it to make it worth the price, maybe get it on sale, but you’ll be largely satisfied, and wait for the Vizualiza to announce his next project.

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