AZ has not had the best of luck. Back on Illmatic, one would have thought that he would be mentioned in the same breath as some of the peers who went on to become icons in hip-hop (most notably 2Pac, Biggie, and Nas). And why not? Sosa has displayed various projects of his own as well as on collaborations that he is lyrically strong, or maybe even stronger, than many emcees past or present. But is seems that the Brooklyn veteran has the same notion in which he expresses on many occasions on the solid, but non conceptual Undeniable.
AZ has always been known to be one with words and this is seen from the opening of the album with the song “The Game Don’t Stop.” This track is self-autobiographical as AZ speaks about his days before rhyming doing it eloquently over Lil Fame’s dreamy production. Another standout track is “Dead End” where the Visualizer discusses scandalous and shallow individuals who he knew back in the days of when he did not have much and how they react to his success as exemplified in lines like, “Where’s everybody when them shells and them shotties tryin’ to sail through your body/Nobody wants to poly/Everybody cool when they cruisin’ in Denalis /All crewed up and jolly tryin’ to screw all the hotties…”
More lyrical skills are on display with the title track “Undeniable” and the impressive Styles P assisted, Large Professor produced “The Hardest”. One thing about Undeniable that can’t be overlooked is the way AZ blended with most of the beats. The production seemed tailored for his laid back coniac flow that made it very easy for this listener to hear AZ’s tales of glamorous living and Mafioso lifestyles.
Where AZ seems to make a wrong turn is when he tries to come off as a ladies’ man. This is not his strong suit and it is obvious on the lame Ray-J featured “Go Getter.” The same goes for the lackluster “Parking Lot Pimpin’,” which again, AZ is not at his best. But the most disappoint track has to be “A.Game,” with its annoying hook and heavy usage of the drums.
Overall, Undeniable is nothing that we haven’t heard AZ talk about before, or any emcee that came out in the mid to late nineties. Even though he has the ability to be one of the best, he needs to be more consistent when it comes to concepts and ideas. Until then, AZ will continue to be denied his proper due. – Ryan Harrison
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