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AZ - A.W.O.L.

posted on Dec 21, 2005 AZ f. Raekwon and Ghostface - New York (Link Expired)
AZ - The Come Up (Link Expired)

AZ - A.W.O.L

Quiet Money/ Fastlife Music, 2005

None of AZ’s albums are especially impressive, although he usually blesses us with a handful of dope tracks on each offering. Despite his largely disappointing catalogue, it’s difficult to dislike AZ. He is renowned for possessing one of the smoothest flows around and he positively drips old-school integrity and class. He makes periodic alterations to his delivery and remains more or less in step with current slang. Theoretically, he should be basking in mass appeal beyond his cult following: his retention of a ‘90s New York musical sensibility and aesthetic makes his product potentially palatable to both sides of the Stretch/ Bobbito schism and then some. Still, AZ falls far short of a consistent album once again, so much so in fact that its difficult to pinpoint why such a clearly talented emcee fails to make magic in the studio.

On a few cuts off of A.W.O.L AZ lives up to his own promise. He sounds right at home over the “Gangbusters” break on “New York,” and more than holds his own alongside still-relevant dart-spitters Ghostface and Rae with a flow so precise you could set your imagined talking watch to it. He rips the title track to a million pieces like he was born to do it, and makes his breathless linking of ’87 reminiscences and multisyllabic boasts sound easy on “City of Gods.” The DJ Premier-produced “The Come Up” is a fairly average outing for both artists but it bangs lovely nevertheless. Aside from these cuts however, A.W.O.L is forgettable and vanilla: AZ would have to kill shit much harder than he does on anemic, synthetic-sounding tracks like “Can’t Stop” to encourage a second listen. “Still Alive” is a trying mess that should never have progressed past pre-production, an unfortunate reminder that AZ’s ear for beats is so underdeveloped that it obscures his stronger attributes. Approach this album with caution.

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Comments for "AZ - A.W.O.L."

  1. Dog who reviewed this is wrong as wrong can get! Still Alive is some serious hood shit with a hook that surpasses the lyrics and the tracks you just feel the meaning of a tune like Still Alive cuz it reflects your like and your surroundings or you do not. I feel AWOL is soulful and the best tunes like Never Change and City of Gods go beyond reppin’ NYC’s golden era sound but represent a whole generation’s bullet-riddled ambitions. Also, no other MC on earth does this rhyme style. AZ is a poet noone spits this way, noone does the English language like this. Buy this if you dig intelligent lyricists!
    chronwell    Dec 22, 01:19 PM   
  2. I don’t doubt AZ’s talent or authenticity. “Still Alive” just sounds bad to me. My hope is that he can get some more consistent production next time.
    R.H.S.    Dec 22, 02:13 PM   
  3. The key is discerning the element which holds him back, dude’s definitely got the gift but even Doe or Die seemed lackluster to me.
    sankofa    Dec 23, 06:51 PM   
  4. Never Change was one of the best songs of the year imo
    eskay    Dec 27, 12:58 AM   
  5. my name is ramercy and i am 16 years old and i love az i believe that he is one of the smartest in the game.

    ramercy    Jan 13, 01:36 PM   
  6. You all are crazy AZ is definently one of the best ever i dont think lacks on anything on Doe or Die or AZiatic…i havent really heard the other two in between them but AWOL is ok songs like come up City of Gods and Bedtime Story are amazing. You guys should check out Life is a Bitch that will tell you he is one of the best there is.

    Cory    Jan 20, 03:34 PM   
  7. AZ has one of the nices flows, hes from brooklyn NY and has a similar flow to that of NAS, reason being that they both (especially AZ) draw out their “R”’s. Give it a second listen and you’ll hear it.

    Rock    Feb 16, 02:08 PM   
  8. AZ is incapable of pronouncing R’s. I’m serious – listen to any track. This was something that was pointed out to me recently.

    R.H.S.    Feb 16, 02:49 PM   
  9. az was killed on illmating as well as doe or die.pieces of a man one of the best ever. az is one of the illest, and thats why in the dead presidents video its az, jayz, and biggie sitting at the table.royalty

    gabe    May 12, 10:34 PM   
  10. Man some one’s full of sh!t. Still Alive is the livest song on the Album! I was dissappointed by the production in New York, the cookin soul remix is much better imo. Can’t Stop is another dope track as well.

    The weakest song is probably Bedtime Story and thats not even that weak.

    Ice Cold EX    Jun 17, 08:12 PM   
  11. I know this is old, but it’s fucking hilarious how many AZ riders crawled out of the woodwork to bitch.

    Train    Jan 6, 11:00 PM   
  12. i think this is a very good album, but some of the beats were not the best. Lyricaly, AZ did his thing. DOWNLOAD MY REMIX of the album for FREE!! @

    Justice    Jun 4, 01:17 AM   
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