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9 Lives

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Reseña de álbum

Five years after the critical celebration surrounding his debut release, Doe or Die, AZ's name suddenly didn't seem all that familiar. Sure, Doe or Die had indeed been a quiet classic of sorts, but it never shook the cash register, and his subsequent efforts were even less successful from a commercial standpoint. Perhaps it was no surprise then that he encountered problems with his label after the indifferent response to his sophomore album in 1998. But three years later, AZ returned with a new label, Motown, and what he obviously feels is a comeback of sorts, 9 Lives. There are some problems with this comeback, though. First of all, Motown has never been known as a fostering environment for rap artists. Secondly, perhaps related to the first problem, there is a serious lack of big-money talent on 9 Lives — no Pete Rocks or Jay-Zs for this album. Granted, these problems are purely commercial, but they're bad omens for any contemporary, commercial rap effort. No matter whether or not AZ actually succeeds with his unofficial comeback from a commercial standpoint, he's done an admirable job when judged purely on artistic merit — his rhymes are obviously well written, he delivers them with enthusiasm, and his low-profile production team turns in some good second-rate DJ Premier/Pete Rock-style sample-laden beats. But "admirable performance" is about the best you can say about the album. It's been over five years since Doe or Die, and AZ has never blossomed in the way that Nas and Jay-Z did — Doe or Die was his pinnacle and sadly remains so. He's not quite as wordy as Nas, not as grimy as Mobb Deep, and not as jiggy as Jigga. With a little more charisma or wit, he'd be a noteworthy talent, or with beats by Pete Rock he'd at least rival his performance on Doe or Die. But as things stand on 9 Lives, AZ remains second tier, lacking a unique identity in a game with few unclaimed niches and little patience.

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AZ has to be top 10 all time.

To you newcomers that don't know who AZ is, trace back his old cd's of Doe or Die (1995) and Pieces of A Man (1998). Now that you have listnened to all of AZ's tracks, did you notice a legend in some of his songs by the name of Nas? Yes, this guy Nas has been working with AZ since 1995, 1 year after the Illmatic release, even mentions AZ on the song "Last Real N**** Alive" off the God's Son cd 9Check that cd out too by Nas, great cd). AZ has GREAT lyrical talent just like Nas and Jay-Z. He's a 90's MC and he SHOULD be up there with the legendary eastcoast 90's lyricists such as Jay-Z, Nas, and The Notorious B.I.G. (RIP). Listen to all his tracks, you are going to start loving this guy. You would surely argue with yourself who are the best east coast Mc's of the 90's are "Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, or AZ?" Ok, enough about background information, I'll get to the album review on 9 Lives. FORGET what critics say, this cd is JUST as HARD as Doe Or Die and Pieces Of A Man, and the rest of his later cd's, I GARAUNTEE it or your money back. AZ comes HARD on every single track, real talk. I can't name 1 track I do not like. As for Jay-Z, Nas, and Biggie, I can re-call some crappy tracks made by them but not AZ. ONLY THING AZ lacks is PRODUCTION. I'm sorry, but his production is 2nd class compared to Nas, Jay-Z's and Notorious B.I.G.'s....maybe this is why he is not "commercialized" like the other 3. AZ practically makes a crappy beat sound good though through his insane lyrics. If he worked/works with sucessful producers such as Primo, Trackmasters, and Pete Rock, then I am FOR SURE he would be more "commercialized" and noticed. But to all you underground hip-hop fans, you all know who this guy already is. To you newcomers, please take your time and recognize a great lyricist. All the tracks are hard but if I ONLY had to pick 3 notable ones it would have to be "What Cha Day About", "Problems" & "Love Me", are 3 REALLY good, must have tracks off this album. If you like soothing, relaxing, hip-hop music, try AZ.

Good, and for a long time

i wrote this review partly to the other reviewer "..." i would like to say to him or her, that what he/she wrote on all four of their reviews was very informative, and i respected it. His review on i am the street dream mixtape, was the best review on there. I personally liked young jeezy but i could not have thought of a better way to put it, and i did not feel disrespected. But now back to AZ, he has been around for years, and 2pac did a song with him, and so did Big Daddy Kane, both legends, Eminem mentions him on the re-up, but in a negative, way, by implying that he is at the bottom of the hip-hop. Good cd, and good for the money, go get it

So underrated

This album is one of the greatest ever, but it never got it's props. Hopefully, it gets its due over time

Biografía

Nacido/a: Brooklyn, NY

Género: Hip-Hop/Rap

Años de actividad: '90s, '00s

One of the numerous thoughtful gangsta rappers to emerge from New York during the mid-'90s, AZ enjoyed critical success early in his career, particularly with his debut album, Doe or Die (1995), but commercial success largely eluded him over the years. Born in Brooklyn, he initially garnered attention with his guest feature on "Life's a Bitch," one of the standout tracks on Nas' landmark debut album, Illmatic (1994). In the wake of Doe or Die's critical success, AZ collaborated with Nas in the ill-fated...
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9 Lives, AZ
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