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AZ - Doe or Die (LINK) and vote

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  • AZ - Doe or Die (LINK) and vote

    I just thought i should up some albums today, what better way to start then with this classic album. I also found a good review of the album, if yall dont wanna read then just go all the way to the bottom and download the album. For me this album is as good as Illmatic lyrically and production wise, if not better. My fave song on the album is Mo Money, Mo Murder, Mo homicide feat. Nas, this is one of the best rap songs ever. I give this album 5 stars, what do yall think.

    Doe or die reiview ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Author's Product Rating
    5 stars

    Intelligent, well-written lyrics, thoughtful, socially conscious, amazing production, no filler, guest appearances

    Besides the Sugar Hill Remix, Let me get back to you on this one...

    The Bottom Line
    AZ's own version of Illmatic... definitely a classic, which you've probably never heard of... i suggest copping it

    Full Review
    The story of Nas' Illmatic is of course, legendary. Not much new to say, you know its classic, you know its one of the greatest hip hop albums ever crafted, and a contender for the crown of being the flat-out best in history. Many people figured that it would be difficult to craft an album so perfect ever again, however it was possible, and it was attained in 1995 by one of Nas' own proteges, the relatively unknown AZ. At the time, AZ was only known from his guest verse on Life's a B*tch from Illmatic. In 1995, AZ released a definitive, yet very underground and unknown CLASSIC, known as Doe or Die. On this album, AZ matched Nas perfectly on every aspect that there could be, and similar to its counterpart, it is a classic.

    Almost everything AZ put out after Doe or Die with the exeption of a few tracks, are shallow and weak compared to the extraordinary work he put out on this album. To me, it seems that AZ followed Nas' formula for crafting a classic, and put it on his debut in a very similar way. All of the incredible elements that made Illmatic such a great album are brought back here. The unquestionably intelligent lyricism, thoughful subject matter, stories, street poetry, and unique easy-to-listen-to production were all reproduced on Doe or Die. After this album was released, AZ's career flunked in a similar way to his teacher Nas' career, as he too fell into the black hole known as commercialism. Even though AZ sold his soul, i forgive him, simply because Doe or Die remains one of 1995's unknown pure classics.

    Track List & Rating

    1. Intro (NOT RATED)
    2. Uncut Raw (5 Stars)
    3. Gimme Your's f/ Nas (4 1/2 Stars)
    4. Ho Happy Jackie (5 Stars)
    5. Rather Unique (5 Stars)
    6. I Feel For You (4 1/2 Stars)
    7. Sugar Hill (5 Stars)
    8. Mo Money, Mo Murder, Mo Homocide f/ Nas (5 Stars)
    9. Doe Or Die (5 Stars)
    10. We Can't Win f/ Amar (5 Stars)
    11. Your World Don't Stop (5 Stars)
    12. Sugar Hill Remix (3 1/2 Stars)

    Production-wise, Doe or Die can honestly, not get any better than this. We get a big plethora of different styles to do beats, but they all mend together perfectly track after track, similar to how they did on Illmatic. We get a complex mix of piano keys, violins, synthesized drum loops and basslines, with a mix of soulful, R&B styles, which only add to the listenability (if thats a word) to this album. The album is nice to listen to driving on a long stretch of highway at night, or with a loved one, or even at night, before going to bed, or studying. I find myself putting this, along with other similar sounding albums, on while im playing video games, and muting the TV. I dont know, maybe thats just me. But of course, production doesn't make an album, it just helps it. Doe or Die's real power lies on its extremely complex lyricism, in which AZ mirrors his own, and Nas' work, on the legendary Illmatic. AZ instantly shows us that he isn't here to play right from the onset.

    After a very listenable intro, mirroring that of the intro of Illmatic, AZ kicks it into high gear with "Uncut Raw".

    On this opening track, AZ begins his top-notch lyricism over tight production. Featuring a very soft and sombre instrumental, which is composed of a low drum loop, background snare, a soft keyboard arrangement, and a non-changing bassline, with some gun sounds in the background, AZ flows his introductory track. AZ gives us an articulate flow, with an amazing breathing pattern which at times makes me wonder when he breathes because his voice seemingly never dies and he raps on a continuous pattern throughout the song, which to me, is very skillful. Though he raps pretty fast most of the time, each word is spoken clearly, and you can tell each lyric is thoughtful and well-written. The subject matter basically gives us a glimpse of the streets, and his perspective of some of the things he has had to do. At this time, AZ's style mirrored Nas, which is pure street poetry.

    AZ delves into storytelling territory with the next two tracks.

    On "Ho Happy Jackie", AZ gives us a gripping story of a little girl living in the ghettoes of New York, who has to resort to prostitution and huscling. The interesting part of the tale is that she had everything going for herself, but then her greed took over her mind, forcing her into a position of being namely, a sl*t. Sometimes i think this story mirrors the career of AZ as she went from having infinite potential, to being lower than the lowest possible denominator. The storytelling on here is masterful, and the production is stand-out. Featuring some jazzy saxophones, soft drum / bass accompaniment, and some low violins, it complements AZ's lyricism perfectly.

    But on "Doe or Die", AZ changes up a small bit, but attains one of the finest moments on the entire album, or dare I say, his career. AZ gives us 100% pure street poetry and darkness. AZ gives us an extremely intelligently complex lyrical track where AZ narrates stories about the bouroughs of Brooklyn and its projects. AZ tries his absolute best to show us the mentality of somebody living in this sort of neighborhood, and explains that once it gets in you, its extremely difficult to get it out of you. He claims that every day is an adventure and every day they are faced with new dangers and contemplate how they remain alive, and AZ explains it masterfully, in which i will sum up in one sentence: A dangerous and difficult way. The production is more laid-back and light-hearted, with a lot of soulful simplistic sounds to add to the nice feelings.

    Lyrically? Well it seems AZ cannot be touched: And all hoods I hang with mix slang in they language, Love, kickin that gang sh*t, sellin on the same strip, Hustlin hard, no matter how much we hated, So dedicated, even our dreams are drug related, Sh*t, puff bananas, not even the cops can stand us, Cause of the way we vanish, everytime they come to can us, 25 we get the money live - f*ck all that funny jive, The streets is our only source to survive, And before any teeny-boppers think about tryin to stop us, I rather put your head, through the propellers of a helicopter, Cause all my peeps be playin for keeps, Straight out the litter, so bitter, these bandits don't even need sweets.

    Of course, what made Doe or Die stand-out, but not as much as one would hope, is the lead single "Sugar Hill". Myself, i have only seen the music video for this song twice on television, so i doubt it helped sales, even though it should've. Underground fans of hip hop, namely street poetry, ate it up, as well as me, because it really is a great piece of work.

    Featuring a very cool R&B chorus is very laid back, matching with the production perfect. The instrumental is a mix of a simple drum / snare combo, a thumping bassline, some soft claps, and some distant violins. AZ gives us a track matching Nas' If I Ruled the World, only a year before that track was released. AZ gives us some extremely light-hearted and intelligent lyricism as to his view of the perfect life within a perfect world. AZ narrates street poetry and gives us his honest opinions of changing the world for the better. The lyricism isn't as dark as other moments, but this song is one of those feel-good, thoughtful tracks and it seems everytime i listen to it, i think of beaches and living the good life, meaning that AZ has accomplished his mission, and along the way, given us yet, another classic track to love. Doe or Die also comes with a remix, but im guessing i dont enjoy it nearly as much as the original due to the fact that the beat is subpar.

    Of course, the grand master and creator behind Illmatic pops up here too, so dont think Nas is out of the picture. Nas lends his poetic voice to "Gimme Your's" and "Mo Murder, Mo Money, Mo Homicide".

    On the first of the two, Nas lends his vocals to the chorus, giving us a catchy, memorable chorus for a catchy, memorable track where AZ gives us masterful lyricism. The second of the two is the better of the two, in my opinion. The instrumental is my all-time favorite on the track, getting much darker with violins, a dark, thumping bassline, and a double drum loop, this song has an extremely dark, yet pleasuring feel to it, which i enjoyed a whole lot. AZ and Nas narrate an amazing mafiosio story about the huscle of violence and drug sales, giving it a very "Scarface / Al Pacino" feel to the song. Both lyricists drop amazing, jaw-dropping flows, loaded with complex wordplay and street poetry, which i enjoyed. This is probably my favorite track on Doe or Die, but they are SOOO hard to choose from, i dont even know anymore.

    AZ examines the racial boundaries and borders with "We Can't Win". On this memorable track, AZ changes his style to more of a "Public Enemy" style, basically preaching his views on society and their opinion on race. Amar spits extremely intelligent lyrics about the government, including their cover-ups, racism, and dangers. AZ brings it more to the streets and raps about employment, housing projects, and his views on people all over the planet. He talks about the individuals who wish death upon the african american community, for no reason, and AZ brings it to street poetry as well, rapping about the being trapped. He even takes a subtle shot at then-Mayor Guiliani, claiming he is a part of Illuminati. In case you dont know, Illuminati is supposedly a secret organization to eliminate african americans and gain control of America. There are even rumors that they created the AIDS virus, but thats a whole other topic. Its amazing that AZ has the balls to touch on these topics, yet he does it so intelligently, that its practically harmless, except for the intelligent individuals who listen to this album. AZ loads his lyricism with hidden messages, sort of like a philosopher, which is one of the factors that makes Doe or Die such a classic.

    Throughout the review, ive done my best to compare this to the great Illmatic because fact is, the differences are few and far between. They both attain an amazing amount of excellence in the three areas that matter: Lyricism, Subject Matter, and Production. To me it becomes obvious that AZ will never attain the same caliber of legendary underground classicness than he did on 1995's Doe or Die. The album is AZ's finest lyrical moment, and the best part of his career, when he was completely respected by the underground. The production is amazingly listenable, the lyricism is intelligent, complex, and well-written, the subject matter is thoughtful, loaded with street-poetry, what else could you want from a Queen's rap artist? Sadly, AZ has true talent and he shows it on Doe or Die, and its a shame that it went to waste in exchange for commercial appeal. Without a doubt, this is an album when AZ, and his partner Nas, were at their prime and one that belongs in everybody's hip hop collection.

    5 Stars

    AZ Doe or die
    1 Star
    2 Stars
    3 Stars
    3.5 Stars
    4 Stars
    4.5 Stars
    5 Stars

  • #2
    Props man... From all the time I have been on this site... I have never seen this album uploaded... it is a shame because AZ is a VERY VERY underratted artist, and this is his best album... everytime I go to the music store I check if they got this cd but they NEVER do!

    I get pretty pissed off, but thanks to Azad he hooked me up... I know this album is great but I needed it. so thanks man.

    *You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to azad136 again.*

    I can't rep you again... I tried, but I repped you already eariler today...

    Thanks again, props... keep up the good posts man!

    One Love


    • #3
      no doubt dawg. peace. 1


      • #4
        thanks for the link man, ill vote after i listen to it. I would rep you but i gotta spread some around too.
        you can't spell thugs without hugs


        • #5
          ^^ aight no doubt dawg.


          • #6
            personally i think 9 lives is better than that album and then pieces of a man puts them both to shame. or so i think.


            • #7
              AZ is one of the few artists that I own all the albums for and rarely ever talk about him nice poll this is definetly a 4.5 album no doubt about it. Good to see there are some more fellow AZ fans. Nas and AZ tracks are perfection no doubt about it.
              Take each day one step at a time.


              • #8
                I'd say this is a 4.5 mic album.


                • #9
                  i dont reallyl ike the mic of the stars ways of rating not acurate enf so i give it 9.5/10
                  thx to saturn for the avatar


                  • #10
                    Can someone re up this album, i lost my copy and i need to listen to so bad right now. someone hook me up. thanks


                    • #11
                      re up? please?


                      • #12
                        i only came across AZ in article's about Em's INFINITE album comparin Em to AZ, N i gotta say AZ one 'a' tha best cats i heard apart from Big L, he got all these multi's N tight storytelling, every AZ n NAS track ive heard, AZ outshines nas, very very underated. betta than most cats out in tha industry now. way ahead of his time
                        Banned - RapBasement Staff


                        • #13
                          yeah can anyobody re up please
                          or maybe up his latest album a.w.o.l
                          i shall never hold my tongue,
                          before that, i roll my blunt, load my gun
                          give a kiss to my daughter tell my mother i love her
                          and blow the brains out of a couple cops undercover


                          • #14
                            thanks allot, i have this but its scratched to death
                            Fav mcs
                            Eminem,Cormega,nas,Immortal technique,tupac,DMX,Murs,Too short,talib kweli, ,common,ras kass,Guru,Rakim, ChinoXL, slug,jin, Brother ali,Canibus,masta ace,Royce da 59,1 be lo,AZ,aesop rock


                            • #15
                              damn it didint work
                              Fav mcs
                              Eminem,Cormega,nas,Immortal technique,tupac,DMX,Murs,Too short,talib kweli, ,common,ras kass,Guru,Rakim, ChinoXL, slug,jin, Brother ali,Canibus,masta ace,Royce da 59,1 be lo,AZ,aesop rock


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