BY JAKE PAINE • JULY 9, 2018
AZ is the latest guest on the “Rate The Bars” program. Many Hip-Hop Heads revere the Brooklyn, New Yorker for his lyricism, wordplay, and imagery. The MC said to be at work on his long-anticipated Doe Or Die 2 is a fitting and qualified judge for others’ rhymes.
As a guest on BET’s series, AZ pulls no punches in reviewing peers. He hands Florida’s Smokepurpp a 2 out of 5 for “Audi.” The judging MC explains where he feels Lil Pump’s close associate could have done better with his smash hit, at least as it pertains to him finding common ground. S.O.S.A. also hands Future a 2 for 2015’s “Peacoat.” AZ laughs at the Freebandz founder’s raunchy lines about bodily fluids and sex and says he sees where the message was trying to go, but ultimately says that he can’t cosign such lines. However, AZ is by no means against new voices in Rap. He hands Casanova a near-perfect 4.5 for “Set Trippin’,” from the just-released Roc Nation-backed Commissary album. Macklemore scores a 4 for his first installment of “White Privilege” as well.
AZ is handed some bars from himself and close affiliates. He awards original Firm co-founder Cormega a perfect 5 for “Affirmative Action.” That song, which featured AZ, has powerful history, as it appeared on Nas’ It Was Written as the jump-off to The Firm’s album a year and a half later. Reportedly over management differences regarding the group’s contract, Cormega (who went on to a successful independent career) was replaced by Trackmasters protege Nature for the clique’s sole album at Dr. Dre’s Aftermath. AZ spots the verse immediately and applauds its realness. Tha Visualiza also gives it up to Nas, doling out a 4 to his homie’s “My President Is Black (Remix)” verse. A’ gives himself the top notch though, rating his breakthrough appearance, 1994’s “Life’s A B*tch” with a 10 (out of 5). That Illmatic appearance would lead AZ to sign with EMI. There, he found success with 1995 follow-up Doe Or Die.