AZ Joins "Drink Champs" To Discuss Collabs, The Industry & How He Stays Grounded

BYGabriel Bras Nevares522 Views
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AZ Live In Chicago
CHICAGO - AUGUST 1995: Rapper AZ performs at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in August 1995. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
The New York MC is often hailed as one of the most underrated rappers of all time, and he discusses how he looks past that label.

When you look at many lists of the most underrated rappers of all time, one name that pops up more often than most is AZ. Moreover, you probably know him best as Nas' good friend who has stellar features on his 1994 classic Illmatic. However, the New York MC has a whole host of amazing solo material, cutting verses, intricate wordplay and technical ability, a lot of charisma, impeccable storytelling, and a true dedication to the art and craft of hip-hop. It's a quality that made him reflect on how the industry moves, and how the effects of fame and money is something that he either took advantage of or strayed away from. Now, the 51-year-old joined Drink Champs recently to break it all down.

Furthermore, AZ spoke to N.O.R.E., DJ EFN, and company about his most well-known work, that being his Nas collabs. He went over some stories with his comrade, and also brought up how this was what truly introduced him to the world of rap for profit. In addition, the "Respect Mines" lyricist also explained how this early phase led to the formation of the group The Firm with Esco, Foxy Brown, Cormega, and Nature. Overall, he has a lot to look back to when it comes to the genre's prime, and it's from a uniquely humble perspective.

AZ On Drink Champs: Watch

But how did AZ stay firm through it all, whether during his '90s run or his contributions to the industry today? Well, he explains that competition, the search for money, and one's ego are things to trust with skepticism. To elaborate, these are all things that drive artists to be better, to act smarter, to work harder, and to help each other reach their peak levels of potential. But it's also a dangerously slippery slope that can lead to a lot of evil, too, and it's something that the Doe Or Die II wordsmith is well aware of.

Meanwhile, if you want to listen the Bed-Stuy native these days, check out his latest tape, Truth Be Told. What did you think of his Drink Champs guest spot? Let us know in the comments section below. For more news and the latest updates on AZ and the popular interview show, stay logged into HNHH.

About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.