In an age where the attention period of rap fans is short lived, it’s simple for artists to get lost in the wash. When you’re out of sight and out of mind in an attention-seeking world, it ends up being a lot more tough to record the ears, minds, and hearts of fans and customers. There are constantly exceptions to the guideline, specifically in the case of veteran rap artist Anthony “AZ” Cruz. For upwards of a years, the Brooklyn-bred artist has actually handled to sustain the buzz and mystique surrounding the long-awaited follow up to his well-known 1995 solo launching Doe or Die
After dropping the Legendary and G.O.D. (Gold Oil And Diamonds) mixtapes in 2009, Doe or Die II‘s statement was met a definite quantity of excitement and anticipation, with long time fans of the East New York repper. Fans aspired to see him review a body of work and rhyme frame that lots of have actually considered a bonafide classic. Tagged for release in 2010, the album would be subject to a succession of obstacles over the subsequent years, yet, “SOSA” (AZ’s rapping alias) consistently assured its release, restoring fans’ hope with the periodic single or collection job.
Now, 25 years after Doe or Die struck racks, AZ has lastly revealed its follow up. With Doe or Die II, Sosa provides suave streetwise musings from the viewpoint of a significant gamer who’s seen and done it all and has actually lived to inform the story. Including twelve tunes and one perk track, Doe or Die II consists of visitor looks from Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Jaheim, Conway the Machine, Dave East, T-Pain, and Idris Elba– all of whom leapt at the chance to assist AZ bookend his profession.
” Once once again, everyone that’s on this joint, they’re main,” stated AZ about the album’s star-studded list of factors. “Ain’t excessive talking. I appreciate them all ’cause it wasn’t a great deal of talking. They solve to business.” Over a years in the making, Doe or Die II is an album that measures up to the buzz while functioning as a swan tune from among the most reputable hosts of his age.
AZ talked with us about bringing his profession full-circle with his most current L.P., the possibility of a brand-new album from The Firm (with supergroup members Foxy Brown, Cormega, and Nas), and broadening his brand name with brand-new chances in movie, style, and more.
VIBE: Your brand-new album, Doe or Die II, dropped Sept. 10 th. How has it been seeing the buzz and anticipation surrounding its release?
AZ: I suggest, it’s kinda frustrating since it’s been a minute, like 2012 given that I revealed that I was putting out Doe or Die II and individuals was thrilled then. For it to be this lots of years later on and it’s still the very same love and the exact same ambiance, it’s kinda frustrating, however it’s an excellent action and individuals are truly inspecting.
Doe or Die II is the follow up to your launching album, which lots of fans and critics think about a traditional. Explain the effect the initial had on your profession and why you selected to review that style for a follow up?
Well, Doe or Die, from the age we remained in, that was the mid-’90 s and sh t, which’s when the golden age was popping. You had Big, Nas, Mobb, everyone was originating from New York, doing their one-two and I believe I got on that classical soul kind of joint with “Sugar Hill,” male. It was “Life’s A Bi h” that galvanized the individuals towards my name, however then “Sugar Hill” came out and, you understand, I went platinum so it was an excellent time. You understand, I’m young, we’re in the city, and we’re bringing our dreams to life and sh t, so that was genuine. The factor why Doe or Die II, is I simply desired to do it complete circle? Regardless of what, careerwise and my tradition sensible, I began from one point and I ended up at one point. It’s a 360 to me, you understand, what I’m stating? ‘Cause at that time, we were signing agreements. And when we was signing agreements, it was for 8 albums, 9 albums, and sh t. You’re like, “Damn you can’t even get the very first one out,”? We was young at that time, now I’m independent and me putting out this album, it’s like I finished the cipher of what I began. I’m ending up.
The very first time Doe or Die II was discussed was over a years earlier however never ever emerged previously. What elements played in the prolonged hold-up, and how were you able to overcome those difficulties to provide it to the general public?
I wished to put it out, however you understand, you’re simply trying to find that energy. The sonics was altering. You got the Midwest doing their thing and after that it was simply all sort of zones. And at the tail-end, the other artists, they had their little methods of doing things. In the middle of all that, I was simply constantly putting out a record or 2 every year simply to put it out ’cause I felt like the album wasn’t prepared. It wasn’t cooking right, so I resembled, “Let me simply kick back.”
I still was doing programs, I still was doing other things and sh t so it was cool. I was on a tune occasionally, however then when the pandemic hit, it resembled, “Yo, guy, it’s either now or never ever,” you understand what I indicate? Like Doe or Die, now or never ever. I stated, “Let me put this sh t together and get it provided for genuine,” which’s where we’re at with it.
Did seeing any other veterans like Nas, Jay-Z, and other greats from your period brought out jobs that shocked the video game in the last few years motivate you in any method?
Not actually since I understand how they’re developed, I understand how I’m developed. To see them still doing it is a true blessing, ya dig, however I simply be being in the cut, awaiting me to strike my target and sh t. It’s constantly great to hear your A-Alikes get hectic, so I’m like, “Okay, their sword is still sharp, I understand my sword was sharp” so I’m like, “Aight, let me simply kick back.” Wait so the lane can open enough and simply leap right in. That’s where I was at with it.
How much product was tape-recorded for Doe or Die II considering that you at first revealed strategies to launch and just how much of it is still left in the vaults?
If I had actually put out no records when I initially stated I was gon na put out the Doe or Die album, it would’ve resembled 25 records. ‘Cause today, it’s 13 on this album. I put out around 7 or 8. I still most likely got a couple in the chamber, like 3 or 4 in the chamber. Yeah, I would’ve had like 25 records on this album if I would’ve waited.
Well, I truly began truly locking all the method in like2017 I most likely had like 2 or 3 records I most likely currently had and after that by 2020, I did a great bulk of it, like an excellent 6. And after that this year 2021, I did the rest, so whatever is damn near fresh. It’s most likely like 3 of them I had cooking and sh t currently, however whatever else is fresh. Fresh up, fresh baked.
With the hiatus in between albums, did you feel any pressure to provide while producing this album?
Nah, organization as typical. We from the Brook, we do not actually get no pressure, the only pressure was on myself to get to the bag, however besides that, ain’t no pressure. I simply wished to make it best ’cause these sh ts last for eternity, you understand what I’m stating? I simply desired to make it.
The initial track on Doe or Die II includes a look from star Idris Elba. How did he end up being associated with the task and what’s your connection to him?
Well, I was setting the album up. I resembled, “Yo, this sh t seem like a motion picture, we require somebody to discussion it on the introduction side. Among my individuals was on trip someplace or doing something and they encountered him out there, Idris and sh t. I understand I gotten in touch with him back when I was on trip with the Rock The Bells trip with Nas. We dialogued a bit so I connected to him like, “Yo, what’s excellent guy, I require an introduction.” He stated he do not truly do introductions, however he resembled, “Let me hear the album ’cause I do f k with you.’ I let him hear bits of the joint and he was like, “Alright, let’s get it done,” and he hopped on so that was a true blessing.
You just recently launched Doe or Die II‘s lead single, “The Wheel” including Jaheim. How did the 2 of you link, and how did that tune come together?
I put out a record at the end of 2020 called “Different,” and I was doing among my interviews and sh t with the D.J.s and Kay Gee from Naughty By Nature was on the line, too. I think he dropped something with his artists. And I resembled, “Yo male, we got ta work,” and he resembled, “No doubt, we got ta get hectic” and after that, we linked. He provided me some beats and sh t and I understand Jaheim was from his camp and I resembled, “I’m attempting to go left, I’m attempting to do the unforeseen, guy. Where Ja at? I require him on a joint.” ‘Cause Ja, he ‘d been sitting inactive for a minute, too. And he resembled, “Let’s make it take place.” He got the beat, I picked the beat, he got on the hook and the rest is history.
Rick Ross turns up on “Never Enough,” which catches the luxurious atmosphere you are both understood for. What’s your history with Ross and the backstory to that tune?
Nah, I f k with Ross, he suffer, he spit that sh t, you understand? I simply reached out to him and struck him like, “Yo, male, what’s up. I kinda require to make this album legendary, male, I require some spitters on this sh t,” so he resembled, “Let’s get it done.” Ain’t excessive talking with Ross, if he f k with you, he f k with you. Ain’t excessive talking or discussion, he’s solving to it.
” Ritual” discovers you, Wayne, and Conway The Machine sparring on a track and represent 3 different ages in hip-hop. What about those 2 artists made you tap in with them for this specific track?
Conway, he’s hot today, he’s certainly a spitter. Me and him were dialoguing, I stated, “We got ta do something.” He resembled, “Let’s get to it.” He got on it and when we got on it, I was like, “Damn, who else actually finishes the cipher, too?” And I resembled Wayne, he’s a f king issue, you understand what I’m stating? I had an Alchemist beat. You understand how Alchemist provide it up and I was informing Wayne we might do our own thing, or I still got the joint with Conway. He resembled, “Give me that ’cause they got ta put some regard on my name, provide me that.” You understand what I indicate? The video game got ta regard his pen-game, so he got on it. That’s one of my preferred records too, guy, that joint right there. “The Ritual” is among my preferred joints.
You had a cameo in Dave East’s “Child of the Ghetto” video previously this year and secured your very first cooperation with “Blow That Sh t,” among the standout cuts on Doe or Die II Discuss your relationship with East and how that track became.
East is gotten in touch with my kid [Nas], so it’s certainly love. East, he’s doing his one-two and if you’re from the East Coast, you can’t duck him ’cause he’s all over. When I went to do the video, I informed him I require to hop on something, I require that energy. He resembled, “What’s up,” so we got in the laboratory and we did our one-two, you understand what I suggest. Knocked it ideal out.
After scoring tracks on the initial variation of Doe or Die, Pete Rock and Buckwild contributed tracks to its follow up over twenty-five years later on. How essential was it to have them belong of Doe or Die II, and how did their participation manifest?
I imply, they constantly remained. It’s particular felines from the genesis that remain all the method to the end and sh t. And you truly attempt to remain near to house with a great deal of sh t, so I figured their existence on the joint truly assisted actually strengthen the entire 360 motion. Dollar truly played a part throughout my entire profession sh t and Pete, that’s like household so I required that. It was an add-on that made it main.
What are 3 tunes on Doe or Die you’re excited for fans to hear and why?
The “Never Enough” with Ross. “The Ritual” with Conway and Wayne and “Blow That Sh t” with Dave East since all 3 is simply main sh t, guy. And it provides you that energy, it provides you that ambiance. All 3 take you to various zones, and it’s simply great energy guy and everyone’s spitting how they’re expected to spit, spitting that genuine sh t. Those 3 right there. To keep it 100, I enjoy the entire album, to be technical. ‘Cause the entire album got various vibes. Every tune’s got its own energy to it.
What was your objective while developing this album?
For one, I did it for those that truly f k with me and I did it for me simply to finish the cipher, simply to understand that I can begin something and I’ ma end it. That feels excellent and self-reassuring. Like, yo, I began this sh t in ’95 and I’m ending this sh t in ’21 I finished the cipher. Simply let the fans understand like, “Yo, the hard-hitters are still around,” you understand what I indicate? A great deal of siblings from that age ain’t around, they ain’t doing it, however it’s still motherf kers around still holding the torch and suffering.
Last year, The Firm reunited on Nas’ King’s Disease album for the very first time in over twenty years. What was that experience like?
Oh, yeah, that’s constantly a true blessing, male. When you f k with the first day, you understand that. That’s in any element. When you f k with the first day, it’s an excellent ambiance and we got it in. And we went an entire another path and still got that love. We was speaking about the broads on that and simply dialoguing with the females and we still made a mark with that. That simply reveals we’re ageless and we go anywhere with it.
Do you see you and the members interacting once again, whether separately or as a whole?
Yeah, yeah, I f k with everyone. Everyone be so hectic, male. Everyone actually remain in their own zone doing sh t. Yeah, I ‘d like to f k with the group, like the groups the group ’cause everyone stands on their own and when they get together, we form like Voltron. I’m here, guy. Whenever the time provides [itself], I’m here. I’m on deck.
You kept pointing out a cycle thing with Doe or Die II This isn’t the last album is it?
Not always. Nah, it ain’t the last album, however I finished my cipher, for sure. I feel excellent no matter how it goes. I finished my cipher, so even if I do roll something else out, I’m great. I simply feel excellent, like I stated, to myself.
Do you believe that fans could anticipate another job from you earlier than later on? Are you back and active, what’s great?
You understand what, I do not understand. I may keep that on a hush since we’re still playing chess, you heard. If I do a dive out on ’em, I desire it to be a sneak attack on ’em, you understand what I’m stating? ( laughs) I’m here.
What’s next for AZ progressing?
I got my SOSA Wine coming out this year, I’m anticipating that. The gleaming rosé, the red wine. It’s a stunning thing, I’ve got that coming out. I’ve got a documentary. I simply completed, I’m preparing to drop that. Another tennis shoe coming out ’cause I put that Ewing tennis shoe out in 2015 and this year. They offered out, so I got my own tennis shoe coming out called Diamond Edition. I’m simply attempting to do everything, male. I’m attempting to shoot a little film and all. I’m attempting to do all kind of sh t today.
How did the Ewing tennis shoe offer happen?
They connected to me. We f ked with Ewing back thens. I do not understand how old you are, however I’m certainly a historian with the kicks and all that. They connected and I’m like, “Yeah, f k it.” You can develop your own sh t and all that, so I developed my colors, created my tennis shoe and we tossed it out and it offered out in 2 weeks. We re-upped a couple of months later on and that offered out in 2 weeks. That’s why I’m featuring my own sh t called Diamond Edition. That’s coming out and I’ ma drop that, ideally, in like 3 months, by Christmas time or some sh t like that.
What’s the documentary about?
The documentary is simply essentially from me starting in Brooklyn and where I’m at, up-to-date., like where I’m at with it and what I’m doing. It went from how I got on, what I’ve been through when I was getting on, all of the up and downs in the video game, the labels I was f king with. I’ve never ever been dropped from my label, however I’ve been on mad various labels. I own all my publishing, I own most of my masters, you dig what I’m stating? And now, I’m independent and the zones that I remained in with each album all the method approximately this thing, discussing this album right here. It’s main.