AZ - conducted by W. Lo  

AZ: Better Than Ever

October 2006

AZ said it best on the song "City Of Gods": "With one rap got rich off a "Life's a Bitch" chorus." In 1994, AZ debuted on Nas's track "Life's A Bitch," which spring boarded his career. After 12 years in the game, AZ is back and better than ever with his new forthcoming album "The Format." This will mark AZ's sixth album, following 1995's Doe Or Die, 1998's Pieces Of A Man, 2001's 9 Lives, 2002's Aziatic, and 2005's "A.W.O.L.."

But don't expect "The Format" to be AZ's last album, as he says that he's got about 5 more in him. AZ was also member of The Firm along with Nas, Foxy Brown and Nature, which received production from Dr. Dre and Trackmasters.

AZ took some time out to speak with MVRemix about his new album "The Format" which is hitting stores November 7th, 2006. He also expresses his thoughts on recording another track with Nas, discusses his little beef with 50 Cent, and explains how he met Jay-Z.

MVRemix: How are you doing right now?

AZ: I'm in New York state of mind.

MVRemix: You got the album "The Format" dropping. Why did you name it "The Format"?

AZ: Basically, just giving brothers the format to the game, on how to last ten years and beyond. That's how I felt like recording this album. I know all eyes are on me at the end of the day, ya nah mean.

MVRemix: You got a DVD as well coming with the CD right?

AZ: Yes sir.

MVRemix: And you're gonna have some music videos on that as well as some live performances?

AZ: Yeah, actually, this video that we did for "The Format", which is the title of the album, we just did that for internet purposes, we ain't go too hard, so I know that a lot of people ain't gonna get to view it. And then you know, I tour periodically, I don't tour as much, so I did this show which is real hip hop SOB's in New York. I just want people to see how I get down; you know, that never came to an AZ show.

MVRemix: Right, I went on your website, and I saw you had a show on with Cormega a while back.

AZ: Yeah, yeah, well, actually, a show like that, you don't get the real perception of it like we do on the DVD, cause its coming from all different angles.

MVRemix: I checked up "The Format" video, that's on the DVD as well I'm guessing?

AZ: Yes sir.

MVRemix: How was it working with DJ Premier on the song "The Format"?

AZ: I mean you know, Primo, he legendary, and he was on the "A.W.O.L." album, and I mean working with him, he hip hop, so it's like a love thing, it's automatic.

MVRemix: You worked with him on the song "The Come Up" off the "A.W.O.L." album; did you also work with him when you did the "Lady" remix with D'Angelo, a while back?

AZ: Right, right.

MVRemix: So how was it like shooting for the video "The Format"?

AZ: Well, I mean, we kept it simple, we kept it in Brooklyn. You know we did a lil' Coney Island shot, and we have the mirror of Biggie and Pac, and just basically, Coney Island is the landmark of Brooklyn, and the rest of the footage was shot at a New York atmosphere. Basically just giving the glimpse of me as an artist, without the entourage and ladies and all that, just me and pure lyrics. I just wanted to get that across. The life in New York City, and just poetry, just hip hop, at its best.

MVRemix: You also shot that in Times Square right?

AZ: Yes sir.

MVRemix: Your album has a song "Rise And Fall" featuring Little Brother. What was it like working with them? I'm guessing that's the first time you've worked with them.

AZ: Yes sir. Well you know, they more underground like myself, and they talk about real things and life and I felt good working with them cause its just like looking in the mirror dealing with them, ya nah mean. We all speak from the same vein, the same heart, the same soul, you know.

MVRemix: You recently also worked with The Alchemist. You recorded a track called "Professional Style."

AZ: Right, right. Actually, that didn't make the album.

MVRemix: I think that's on his other CD "Chemistry Files."

AZ: Probably.

MVRemix: I also heard a track recently that you did with Wade Waters, "Speak On It."

AZ: [laughs]

MVRemix: I really liked that one actually.

AZ: You like that?

MVRemix: Yeah, it was really good. I liked the beat, I was feelin' everything.

AZ: They lyrically inclined. I like the Waters, they good.

MVRemix: I actually never heard of them before hearing that track. It was pretty good.

AZ: That's good man, appreciate it.

>> continued...

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  • AZ 2004 Interview by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
  • AZ 2005 Interview by W. Lo
  • AZ 2006 Interview by W. Lo

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    "Fifty is Fifty, you know. He's a great marketing dude; he knows how to market himself. I don't think that he really wants to fuck with me."