|AZ is criminally slept on. With over 10 years experience in this Hip Hop game, AZ has never received the mainstream love he hoped for. AZ took some time out to speak with MVRemix about being one of Hip Hop's most slept on emcees. AZ also addresses his political views of the US, as well as his thoughts on who is the greatest emcee of all time.
MVRemix: You have been in this game for 10 years, but do you feel that you still don't get the credit you deserve, or that people still somehow sleep on you?
AZ: I think I don't get the credit I deserve, but no, nobody sleeps on me. It just the fact that I haven't got promoted the way I should have in order to reach more of the masses. But those that know me, they know my style, inside the music industry and outside. I'm respected for those that know me, but for those that don't, I can't blame them for what they don't know.
MVRemix: Does it piss you off to see these artists, who are straight up garbage, but because of the right promotion or push, they end up selling millions of records?
AZ: Not necessarily, its just the name of the game. I never was one to hold grudges, I'm not that type of cat. I just knew that anything that could happen would happen. Some people are just at the right spot at the right time, shit happens. Some people that can maintain it, such as myself, I'll be in the situation that I'm in. But as long as I'm able to do what I can do, itís a blessing. I'm not stressed, I'm good, I'm still putting out albums, and a lot of cats still can't do it. So itís a good thing that I'm still able to do it.
MVRemix: In your opinion, who is the greatest emcee of all time?
AZ: AZ! AZ, is one of the greatest! (laughs)
MVRemix: Well, besides yourself.
AZ: See when people tell me that shit I don't understand. Because everybody has their own angle and been through different shit in their life, so there can never be a greatest. When they ask who is the greatest Jazz musician, or whateverÖyou can't do that, its degrading in a sense. Because every artist has their own characteristic, has their own ways that they view things. And even though we were all brought up in the minority, and was poverty stricken, we still got different upbringings in a sense. Some was raised by niggas in the streets, some were raised with parents, some without parents, some with schooling, some didn't. So there is no greatest! So everybody just did what they did. And if you want to tally up on sales, thatís a different thing. Who sold the most? Eminem sold the most, so is he the greatest emcee? No. It's the fact that everybody came from different zones. So we all great in our own right, so I donít like that who's the greatest emcee, that shit is corny.
MVRemix: So I guess you ain't feeling LL calling himself "The G.O.A.T."?
AZ: (laughter) It's cool, cause thatís how he feels. We all got confidence, we all feel like that. I said AZ, "I'm the beginning, never began". I always was here, I have no beginning no end. And Nas felt like he was in the Koran. So everybody got their definitions of their life, name and attributes. It's crazy when people say that. B.I.G., the greatest of all time, yeah he put work in, he had two albums only. Pac feels like from him being part of the Black Panthers, and he had like six or seven albums, been all around the world, he feels he's the greatest. So everybody got their own rights to say that they are great in their own way. I can say that out of anybody to make an album from my community, I'm the greatest. So it don't make no sense. We just put work in and its music, and music is for the soul, and thatís what it is.
MVRemix: Let's go back to your classic verse on "Life's A Bitch". Just take us through the process of writing that verse and how it went down.
AZ: That verse was automatic, that wasn't even meant to be. I was just in the studio with Nas and more or less, L.E.S. put that track on and I was vibing with it. So he was like "what's that you talking about", cause I already had the hook. So I was signing it and they was like "yo, go spit that". I ain't never really been in a studio before, I just went in the booth and spit that rap. And that shit was done in like 10 seconds.
MVRemix: Switching gears a little bit, are you going to be voting this November for the Presidential election?
AZ: I just found out I can vote, to be honest. Cause I'm a felon, and I never threw that out there like that, but all my life I thought felons couldn't vote. But I just found out I can vote. So I'm not necessarily going to vote this one, but hopefully, next year or whenever, I'll vote. But I would influence those to vote though, those who can.
MVRemix: So what do you think about the state of our country right now?
AZ: I mean, you know it's chaotic right now, with the Fahrenheit and all that. Its crazy man, sometimes I donít even want to get political cause we could talk for days. But there is a lot of shit behind a lot of shit, behind a lot of shit.
MVRemix: So what did you think of Fahrenheit 9/11?
AZ: It was kind of deep. I have always watched tapes like that though, before Fahrenheit even came out. They got a lot of those tapes in the underground market, just like that. Its kind of deep, but it also makes a lot of sense. If somebody is going to pay you four hundred thousand a year to do a job, or some people are going to pay you damn near a billion dollars over the course of a couple of years, which one are you going to lean towards more?
MVRemix: Anything else you got going on? Are you going to be appearing on anyone's album?
AZ: I'll be on Nas' album, and I did a joint with Heavy D, he's signed to Bad Boy. Off hand I can't remember, probably two more people, but basically look out for "Final Call" in September.
MVRemix: Any last words?
AZ: Quiet Money, record label, enterprise, movies, clothing. A whole lot of things are getting ready to start, look out for it.
AZ 2004 Interview by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
AZ 2005 Interview by W. Lo
AZ 2006 Interview by W. Lo