The year of 1995 can easily be argued for as one of the best years for Hip-Hop as many classic albums were added to the parthenon of Hip-Hop's greatest albums of all time. This includes Big L's, "Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous", Tupac Shakur's, "Me Against The World" and arguably one of the best albums of 1995 from Brooklyn's very own, "AZ" in his debut, "Doe or Die". The project showcased and illuminated AZ's signature vocal tone and incredibly potent skills as an MC over soulfully luscious production that is only comparable to Hip-Hop's best which include Queensbridge's very own Nasir Jones.
Anthony Cruz who is best known as AZ to most originates from Brooklyn, New York where coincidentally many of Hip-Hop's greatest artists hail from and specifically includes the legendary hometown hero's Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. AZ's upbringing with being the only male figure in his household made his intentions and passion to take care of his family his top priority at such a young age. This paired with his early obsession for Hip-Hop's aesthetics and the writings of the poet Langston Hughes would inspire him in his early adolescent years to produce his own poetry.
AZ's introduction to Hip-Hop's landscape would arise when a young Nas summoned him to the studio to spit lyrics for his debut classic album, "Illmatic". In AZ's Doe or Die Documentary, Nas illuminates that once he heard AZ spit the legendary lines, "Visualizing the realism of life in actuality/ Fuck who's the baddest/ a person's status depends on salary/ And my mentality is money-orientated/", he instantly knew that the track that would become, "Life's A Bitch" would be an extraordinary moment for both Nas' album and AZ's career. Just short of a year after Nasir dropped his debut album Illmatic in 1994, AZ would release his highly anticipated debut 1995 project, "Doe or Die" and through the buzz he gained from his collaboration with Nas that allowed him to sign with the record label, "EMI". AZ's project would instantly jump to number one on the Billboard charts and instantly be received as one of Hip-Hop's grails for 1995. The album boasted AZ's unparalled ability to showcase true lyricism paired with his top-notch ability as a songwriter with songs such as, "Sugar Hill" & "Mo Money, Mo Murder" along with crips album cuts that include, "Uncut Raw" & "Rather Unique".
AZ's incredible success with his debut album would prime to release seven more studio albums over the next fourteen years. Setting him up to release the highly anticipated sequel (and final album) to his debut in, "Doe or Die 2". This final gem is anticipated to drop sometime in 2017 and until this releases we encourage you to check out his documentary streaming here and some of his best work below!