AZ enjoyed a relatively quiet 2018. The highly-respected Brooklyn, New York lyricist was the subject of a documentary involving commentary by Rakim, Nas, Pete Rock, and Foxy Brown. He made a few careful appearances, one with early mentor Daddy-O of Stetsasonic and another with Fresno, California’s Planet Asia. However, when it came to solo music, the artist responsible for some iconic verses mainly sat back and watched.
That will not be the case for 2019. AZ kicks things off with the fittingly-titled “It’s Time,” premiering at Ambrosia For Heads. The quick-strike is an homage to an MC and era that inspired S.O.S.A. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo made a lasting Hip-Hop introduction with 1986’s “It’s a Demo.” The devastating display began as a non-album single accompanied by “I’m Fly” for a B-side and would eventually appear on the duo’s 1989 debut LP, Road To The Riches as a remix.
The East New York MC attacks the vintage Marley Marl production with devastating, short lines as he gets on his “project ish.” He spits, “My first debut came through like Jeru / Played who? Nias smoking that cake too / Passed out, got clout they rap ’bout from the trap route / Try’na close on Shaq house / Still buzzin’ / Was the king of the kitchen oven / In the spot with two coke pots like kissin’-cousins / Scratch that / Too fly for flashbacks / Got my eyes on a G5 ‘craft, all matte black / More moula, dirt-bikes out in Dubai / F*ck 50 feet in the sky, I need a new high.” For an artist who has made memorable songs with L.E.S., Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and Dr. Dre, this showcases some finesse over chopped break-beats.
In recent years, A has been working on Doe Or Die 2. He released a Buckwild-produced single called “My N*as.” Apart from that, AZ released a 2017 video single, “Save Them,” which features Raekwon and one of Prodigy’s final appearances.
Notably, AZ and Kool G Rap worked together on Ghostface Killah’s “The Battlefield,” which was released as an animated video from 36 Seasons.