Brooklyn rapper AZ, titled after Harlem drug dealer Azie Faison dropped his 6th album entitled The Format in 2006, after his album A.W.O.Lreleased in 2005. In production, most notably its title track is produced by DJ Premier, with Emile producing 4 songs, and J.Cardim producing 3 songs, along with other production. M.O.P and Little Brother are featured on this album.
1. I Am The Truth
Sampling some Syl Johnson, the production of this song sounds clean, crisp, a gleaming shine compared to some of AZ's rugged topics he covers. He raps about his misfortunes, and the misconceptions about AZ on the streets. AZ's lyricism is nothing short of his possession, his Liquid Swords are his weapons in any rap battle.
"Hood legend, household name
Presence is felt, real niggaz vouch for my pain"
2. Sit 'Em Back Slow
Billy of MOP reps being a bad-ass, this song samples the popular songMary Jane, and it is immediately noticeable when the beat first comes in. AZ with only one verse spits about street hustlers, and body bags.
AZ's lyricism never seems to be off-topic or short of stellar. He captures an eye of a perspectived street hustler. AZ can tell a story of the hood he grew up in, the harsh times he suffered. It may be nothing original, but who doesn't enjoy a Cheese Pizza which has been done a billion times before
"From petty crimes to a street poet
It's all the grind, steady mind, taught to keep forward" - Verse 1
6. Rise And Fall
ft. Little Brother
The beat is dreamy, relaxed, piano sample. Phonte and Big Pooh fits AZ's style on this album, bullet ridden, street talking, and the rise and fall of corner, dealers, and times. The three carry the song great.
Sampling QB street legends Nas and Mobb Deep, with Biggie Small's"Ten Crack Commandments", the song boasts New York, yet (in my opinion) a bit reminiscent of G-Funk. AZ combines braggadocio with street slang, his style not duplicated, his lyricism his trademark, AZ dominates the song
8. Doing That
ft. Jha Jha
Produced by Fizzy Womack of M.O.P, the instrumental is different from their main work. AZ raps work ethics, style changing, and game snitches, this song has a different sound to the rest of the album, but still manages to be solid.
9. This Is What I Do
With soulful production, AZ reminisces back to his earlier days of"learnin' the life", his lyrics reflect some of the values and morals he encompassed in his life. He acknowledges rap as a "coalition".
10. The Format
The title track produced by DJ Premier, you can hear the scratches loud and clear. AZ does it again with his lyrics, his ego is strong, but not overly done, the instrumental strong, but not overly done. He fits the flow with the tracks, and slams the mic with his lyrics
"Now in the physical form
Verbalize through the scriptures I was biblically born" - Verse 2
AZ and Fresh make a good duo, the production giving them the platform to spit their bars. Without a doubt this song is good, the instrumental is a tad overshadowing on its part
12. Game of Life
Soulful production, you can hear the cries from the chorus. AZ raps about the wins and losses one experiences in a game of life
"My advise, never change you stripes
Cuz ain't no winners in this game of life"
13. Royal Salute (Bonus Track)
The music is vibrant and refreshing, as what AZ boasts. The song features horns, and upbeat instrumental, and Burru-sounding drums. With a Slick Rick scratched outro, the song only has one verse, but manages to come out great. AZ doesn't disappointing
Overall Rating (Outro)
The album is consistent, and rarely does it disappoint. The craftsmanship by AZ and his team is something unmatched by many producers and rappers. This album is a must for AZ fans, for East Coast Hip Hop sounds, or Hip Hop fans.