On this fair Tuesday, you may be prepared to vote and then go spend on new music. Just wanted to give you a play-by-play look @ an album I thought might be worth copping. Never one to make a quick judgment (at least try not to), after it leaked, I let others talk and took that in before finally listening myself…which brings us to today.
The words that might best describe AZ are stalwart and underrated smooth shit. And with The Format, he’s pretty much solidified his standing as one of those individuals that may always fly under the radar but will consistently put out hot product.
Start to finish, this is hip-hop. From what and how he’s saying it to the chosen beats as backdrops, pure unadulterated hip-hop.
“I Am The Truth” is a track that requires a listen or two to fully grasp how much he manages to into less than four minutes. Good start and definitely will grabs the attention.
“Sit’em Back Slow” featuring M.O.P. BOUNCES hard; straight boom-bap style, with no one slacking on their performance here.
“Get High” – seems somewhat uninspired or at least beneath A’s talent range. Fast fwd.
“Make Me” – “since a kid @ Freshfest I been fresh to death…” Say word.
“Rise And Fall” feat. Little Brother – Previously discussed here, I don’t even feel the need to tell you that this is what hip-hop sounds like in 2006. In ’88 and ’94, the “golden age”, there were certain songs that one could tell an outsider, “yo if you don’t know hip-hop, THIS is hip-hop.” This track is one of those songs that shares the common bond with tracks from that era – so simple and pure, it’s timeless. Pooh, Tay and AZ…an unlikely combo with remarkable results.
“Animal” – Hmm…not sure who made the beat but it’s got a feel of GZA/RZA tag team. The beat features strings and a collection of other sinister sounds that step forward during the B.I.G. sampled chorus and then fall back to repetition when AZ comes to drop his verses. “I been boss playin, cookin up sauteeing/til I saw another door, had to force a aggin way in…I’m so deep in it that I can’t turn back...”
“Doing That” – Shouldn’t have been done. I think this has always been a personal problem with my dude. He uses samples that have been overused and been done so much, no matter how much you do, it’s not going to create amazing results. This is Bad Boy era in full swing music.
“This Is What I Do” – An explanation to critics and a rallying call for fans, nice solid track. Good mix of knowledge spread throughout the verses then his adlib talking @ the end of the track.
“The Format” – Premo produced. Nuff said.
“Vendetta” – Ever fucked with a normally calm dog, backed him into a corner or some shit and he “grr’ed” and bared his teeth so you knew not to come any closer? Yeah…that’s what’s on this track, that “don’t push me” feel. The Dip-soundalike cat featured here and on other tracks really help to sell or bring out that image of Mr. Cruz.
Besides the songs mentioned that didn’t particularly inspire, the only drawback to this album is that, @ 12 tracks, it’s too short. But if you asked would I rather have 12 solid focused tracks or an unbalanced album of 24 tracks that could include 5 minute intro and outros, numerous skits and filler “radio track/club banger/one for the ladies/for the homies who ain’t here…” formulatic approach.
If anything, A is closer to greatness in terms of putting together a solid album with a good number of strong tracks where the beats are up to par with his lyricism, something that Nas, the peer he’s commonly associated with, hasn’t always been able to do.
“Royal Salute” – “Who can beat that?/so like Lennox I surrender my belts…poeticized karma sutra“…Closing out the album with this aptly titled track, with celebratory horns…”the music sounds so vibrant, so refreshing…”. It’s got that windows down in the winter, with the heat cranked up, far left lane type feel to it. As a perfect capper to the album, son shines as he runs down his past and present as to why he is and will always be one of the reigning underground kings of this thing…
Consequence – Nite Nite
Nas feat. Terminalogy- How We Live
Da Great Yola Ft Maceo,Young Capone & Gucci Mane-Aint Gon let Up (Remix)
UGK-Still Ridin Dirty (Produced By Scarface)
Ludacris – Do Your Time ft. Beans Pimp C and C – Murder
Termanology- 22 Years (produced by 9th Wonder)
9th Wonder – 22 Years Instrumental
Consequence – Blowin My Phone Up