AZ: Super Lyrical

For all the rap world emphasis on sales or popularity, what about consistency? One MC who has epitomized reliability, in the form of world-class lyricism, throughout his career is Brooklyn's own Anthony "AZ" Cruz. While too many wannabe rappers preposterously speak of retirement before even dropping their first sub-par album, AZ has released eight official albums, not including The Firm and S.O.S.A. projects, and has no plans on stopping. The Visualiza's latest album, Undeniable, proves he hasn't lost a step on the mic and is another piece of evidence to support his fan's faithful rally of "most underrated rapper," Undeniable, you call it your eighth wonder, how’s the reception been for you?AZ: It’s been real good you. I just felt like I stepped it up conversational wise, you know, the lyrics [are] always my main thing but I touched a few topics, to me it’s like my real autobiography it just expresses where I came from, where I’m going and where I’m at. So I love Undeniable. You can’t deny it once you listen to What made you make that joint at the end of the album a hidden track, the song after “The Hardest”?AZ: We finished the album right and I had a couple of joints. The way I was going with the album it was like, Alright let me start off hard body, let them know that this is what I do and then I wanted to get real…I wanted to change the direction of the conversation and the music. I really didn’t want to go too hard because the two prior albums which were A.W.O.L and The Format was real street and I wanted to still stay street conversation wise. I just wanted to go in a different direction so I had a couple of street joints laying around but then I heard that joint and I always put a goodie at the end; all my albums I got a hidden track.[AZ "Undeniable"] You’ve got like a unique perspective where you’ve done work independent and you’ve also done it as far as on a major. Would you ever go back to a major label situation?AZ: The only way I’d go back as long as my label…it’s an umbrella thing, you know, we’re doing business together not as an artist. My label go under that umbrella and we can make some moves, the fact that I know both sides now I can go back with my label and a couple of my artists and still let me be the Now there was like a situation as far as versions of “Go Getta” with Ray J being on your album and his album. Has that been resolved?AZ: It’s been resolved to an extent. We recorded it, we didn’t know what we was going to do with it. I was really iffy with the song, he was iffy with the song…we just did it and at the end of the day let a few people hear it, they liked it and I guess me and him wasn’t really conversing at that time so we was dealing with the people that was in the studio and I decided to put it on my album and I’m sure he was with it and I guess he was doing a new version for [his] album. I guess he was really was just moving around people, the powers that be, and put somebody else on the album for his version and my version and it was just a mix up, a bunch of bulls**t. But at the end of the day originally me and him started the record from scratch. We wrote that record we did that in two hours. He did his singing part, then I did my lyrics, he did his singing part, then my lyrics and it was all done in two hours and we both just left it there, we didn’t stress it. So when I started pitching songs it kind of went with the concept of what I was tryin’ to do musically on my album so that’s why I wanted it. The media and artists are always harping on the negative or the bad things they see in Hip-Hop today, what are some positives you see?AZ: I mean I see a lot of positive. I see what Reverend Run has brought to the table, what Ice Cube brought to the table, Queen Latifah, LL, Mase—it’s a lot of positively that came out the game. Even though there’s knuckleheads in the game they still made jobs available for other homies in the hood so you know you got your good stuff and your bad stuff. That’s with anything you got yin and yang with anything, everybody wanna talk up the f***ed up s** We heard a rumor at one point in time you had a romantic relationship with Foxy Brown, you wanna confirm that?AZ: [Laughs] Get the hell out of here. Nah that’s my peoples man. That’s my peoples at the end of the day. [Laughs] That was You got eight solo albums just you and that’s not even counting The Firm stuff. Let’s say you could speak to the AZ that had just dropped who had just started hitting the scene with “Life’s a Bitch”, what would you tell yourself?AZ: [Laughs] Make sure you surround yourself with good people young fella and stay business oriented, don’t get caught up in a lot of bulls**t and keep your stuff tight, learn about the game. That’s the most important ‘cause it is a game, you gotta learn to master the game and make sure the people that’s running your business is on top of their business. [AZ f/ Styles P "The Hardest"] One thing people have always appreciated about you is that you’ve never been the ‘Oh I’m retiring after this album‘ type. You’ve always consistently wanted to drop new music. So what’s next? AZ: Oh yeah, I got a soundtrack. I’m getting ready to shoot my own little movie in the next month or so called Silent Wars. I pulled the soundtrack together with Quiet Money [AZ’s label], put the soundtrack together with a few of my artists. Me and DJ Absolut doing a mixtape that’s gonna be major, it’s gonna be crazy, crazy you know what I’m saying. I guess I’ll talk about it later on if we have another conversation but we’re gonna be doing a mixtape album that’s coming out real soon, next month or so, then the soundtrack and then, you know, keep it moving.