AZ Reintroduces Himself With Amazing New Music

Today (December 1), Brooklyn, New York veteran MC AZ released a new album. However, unlike AZ’s respected back-catalog, Truth Be Told marks his first album-long partnership with a producer. Diggin’ In The Crates legend Buckwild has been working with S.O.S.A. since “Ho Happy Jacky” on Doe Or Die. The Bronx DJ/producer has remained in AZ’s circle, as recently as 2021’s Doe Or Die II, joining Pete Rock as an original creator to reprise the role on the sequel.

Truth Be Told finds AZ focused on legacy. No longer weighted by a long-touted sequel, Tha Visualiza embraces a new frontier of excellence. “Still Got It” begins with the proclamation: “Him then, him now—it will always be him. I kept it 100 from day one.” He then raps, “New album, few features / I’m through browsing, moving housing to down deeper / Off-road / This ain’t old, this is boss-mode.” Buckwild chops up a brassy Soul track that perfectly complements a lyricist who kicks nostalgia without ever sounding past-tense.

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“Still Got It” is one five selections added to the Ambrosia For Heads playlist. “The Goat” is another legacy check-in. “Late ’80s s__t, I was crazy with the bars / Ever since I set it off with Nas / Had the big houses, all of the money and the cars,” a few bars before he kicks, “Grind til’ my whole crew’s wealthy / Get mines, only surface for a few selfies.” Buck’ samples a vocal beautifully for another short-but-potent song.

“Go Time” and “Amazing” represent those songs with “a few features.” Pharoahe Monch guests on the former, which sounds like heist theme music—something Buckwild has long laid down. Monch’s flow shines in the second verse, using his voice as an instrument. He and AZ sound seamless together, going back to back. Tha Visualiza boasts that he owns his publishing, but he clearly wants more. Mumu Fresh sings and raps on “Amazing,” a song that embraces the R&B-tinged production S.O.S.A. has long embraced, but refuses to deviate from hard rapping.

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“Reintroduction,” the first proper song on the album, is another example of the musical marriage between Buck’ and AZ. The Soul-based song uses spaces in the music to create emphasis for AZ’s lyricism. He raps, “Success, still on it / The wheel, put a mill’ on it / There’s no facade, the gods can build on it / Appeal on it, no mumble or Drill on it / Concealed on it, go Wallo and Gil’ on it.” There is an evident hunger in AZ, and it’s a treat for longtime fans and new listeners alike.

Previously, Buckwild has partnered with Celph Titled, Meyhem Lauren, and Pounds on albums. Last year, Buck’ handled the first Artifacts album in 25 years, which arrived after the passing of Tame One.

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In addition to new music from AZ, the AFH playlist features new music from Statik Selektah, Nas & Hit-Boy, and DJ Premier with Common, among others.

#BonusBeat: In late 2021, AZ spoke to AFH‘s What’s The Headline podcast about Doe Or Die 2, his top MCs, and some of his favorite fellow feature snipers: