AZ The Format

[Quiet Money; 2006]

Styles:  rap
Others: millions… he’s a dime a dozen these days

“I’m a genius” – AZ

Yep, AZ is a fucking moron. The second thing he says on his 10th album is the above quote. Now, the only reason someone would make that statement would be if (a) you’re a genius or (b) you’re ignorant. After hearing far too much of The Format, it’s obvious AZ owns b. A genius wouldn’t say “(I’ve got) big toys like them boys in Iraq,” for which the obvious retort is why don’t you go to Iraq and help out? You’re already equipped and requirements ain’t what they used to be. What’s stopping you? You may think you’re a bad ass driving through your cavernous mansion in a golf cart pistol-whipping your butlers (hey, who knows), but let’s should see how tough you are when every pile of trash you pass on the highway could be a bomb waiting to tear your hummer in half. Now that’s gangsta.

AZ’s flow is as bog standard as bog standard gets, and the beats (mostly compiled by Emile, M.O.P.’s Lil’ Fame, and J. Cardim) don’t do much to save them either. The instrumentals are all incredibly safe, recycling the same ideas as those on the fringe of mainstream hip-hop have been pumping out since the late '90s. All of this adds up to The Format being ultimately doomed for obscurity. Shame too for the man who was the only guest rapper on Nas’ classic Illmatic, which landed a label of promise on AZ that he’s never been able to live up to or escape. Now’s a good time to fade away, dude. Fade away or enlist.

Industry sneak-peek: The album may not actually be as bad as the rating suggests, but the promo I was given had that thing where they quiet down the music and drone out “Y’all know what it is / The Format / November 7th” and shit. It’s a move that’s supposed to kill piracy, but all it actually does is kill the flow of the album, forcing the listener to focus on hatred. Being as the whole idea behind promos is supposed to be promotion, that whole talking-over-the-music thing really seems counterproductive to me.

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