The first thing that comes to mind when listening to the newest AZ album is how much control over his work is Motown really giving him. Ever since I heard him on 'Illmatic,' I knew that this kid had mad potential. After the release of "Doe Or Die" which rocked my speakers for months to come, AZ’s spot in the music industry became even clearer. A year after, The Firm was born consisting of AZ, Nas, Foxy Brown, and Nature with Dr. Dre behind the boards. AZ again proved that he can rock the mic with passion, but due to internal differences the group disolved.
Two albums and a bootleg later comes “Aziatic”, and this time around “We have a game plan/ But this ain’t a game to us/ Because we don’t the luxury of losing.” I do have to admit that AZ hasn’t came off this hungry since his first release. Especially on the banger featuring his old boy Nas; “The Essence”. This joint alone made a lot of cats drool, and I’m not exaggerating. Both of the artists seem focused, and ride the beat flawlessly.
Some of the best lyrics off the album come during “Fan Mail.” “Faced with 10 or state time with life on the back/ It’s fucked up when your own folks ain’t writing you back/ Learn to relax fuck with certain cats that help me adapt/ You know the streets to the pen is kinda hard to transact.” Both “Paradise” and “I’m back” also give a chance for AZ to show off, with the later having the same beat as the new Onyx single. That in itself made me not enjoy the track as much.
As I have stated before it seems that Motown really tried shaping this album to suit every kind of hip hop fan out there. The beats are very inconsistent, switching from production similar to Jay-z’s “Blueprint” to club tracks that would make Jermaine Dupri proud. If it wasn’t for them, “Aziatic” would be playable from beginning to end. I try staying away from “Take It Off”, “Once Again”, and “Take Care Of Me” in order to keep my sanity (on “Take care of me” AZ states it best himself “Resurfaced/ consumers pre-purchase/ guess who’s back on the charts/ and he’s nervous.”). Well, it’s hard not to when rapping over such poor production.
Overall though, this is AZ’s best work since “Doe or Die” and I reccommend at least checking it out.