This review is to discuss the Doe or Die album from the Brooklyn veteran MC, AZ. AZ is probably one of the most underrated artists there is and I say that because even though he does get recognition, it isn’t enough. Everyone first heard AZ on a major level when he spit his verse on the Life’s a Bitch track by Nas. That record and verse put AZ on the map and he went on to release quite a few critically acclaimed albums both through Major labels and independently.
The Doe or Die album stands out because it is AZ’s first studio album, his lyrics were insane and his flow is smooth as can be. It was released one year after Illmatic and considered to be one of the strongest rap albums out in 1995. The content consisted of street tales with a mafioso undertone and conveyed with a lot of energy because he had something to prove. Not to say that any artist ever gets to a point when there is nothing to prove but sometimes the delivery and stye can change a bit to reflect growth as an artist and a person.
I personally like every track on this album but a few of the tracks that really elevate to a higher level are “Gimme Yours”, “Mo Money, Mo Murder” and of course “Rather Unique”. It is really just a preference thing and I am sure some may argue that other tracks are more to their liking or more inspiring but the whole album has replay value. There came a point where a lot of hip hop albums had that one or two hit wonder radio tracks and then the rest of the album were filler but not in this case. If you have not listened to this album and you are a hip hop fan, I highly recommend you go check out AZ’s whole catalog, it is almost as important as checking out all of Nas or Rakim’s music.
I would rate this album probably like a 4.5 out of 5. It isn’t perfect but it is close to it.
Mo Money, Mo Murder