One of the numerous thoughtful, literate gangsta rappers to emerge from New York during the mid-'90s, AZ never garnered the attention of peers like Nas and Jay Z. Instead, he saw his debut album, Doe or Die, become a critical favorite in late 1995 before his career suddenly went downhill after such modest and short-lived success. Critics and b-boys alike celebrated AZ and his debut album for a literate approach to the gangsta lifestyle. Like his aforementioned peers Nas and Jay Z, AZ not only brought intelligence to his rhymes but also an impressive flow and delivery that further set him apart from the flood of New York MCs fighting for survival in the crowded rap game. Unfortunately, despite Doe or Die's quiet success, AZ stumbled in successive years, finally scoring a new major-label relationship with Motown in the early 2000s.
Born in Brooklyn as Anthony Cruz, AZ first came to the greater rap community's attention in a big way after his stellar performance on Nas' "Life's a ... Read full biography