A rapper who has shocked many with his ability to bring things together in hip-hip. The story of his life is also fascinating, he lost one of his eyes during his childhood days and now is helping bring people together who are blind through the foundation that bears his name.
He was very close friends with Notorious B.I.G before he was killed, even playing a part in Biggie’s song “Unbelievable” on the album Life After Death.
AZ has always brought quality lyrics to the game and has collaborated with huge artists like Dr. Dre (calling him an idol), Eminem & Nas amongst many others . Here are ten interesting facts about AZ revealed by the Trendlifestyle Team:
#1 : AZ’s mother was a computer programmer and his father was an engineer.
AZ grew up in Queensbridge Houses, one of the largest housing projects in New York City. His middle name Anthony best describes why he started rapping. He received little support for his dreams in life from people in his neighborhood because they thought it was ridiculous but things changed after he joined forces with Cormega who always believed he would make it big someday (and later on became his partner-in-rhyme). It can be said that AZ got much inspiration for writing songs from his real-life experiences during his childhood days. “I remember how it used to be when we were growing up in Queensbridge, people didn’t really believe in themselves. I never used to have a lot of support for anything that I did.”
AZ’s father worked as an electrical engineer and his mother was a computer programmer at IBM.
#2: He is married to Jackie Foster who is the sister of Sadat X.
AZ met his wife, Jackie through one of her sisters. They got married in 1994 and ever since they were together they have been each other’s companions, supporters and friends no matter what life brings their way. “You can’t really define love until you experience it” -az
#3: Before he got into rapping he tried out for the New York Giants but did not make it after trying out for them three times.
When AZ was growing up he dreamt of playing in the NFL like many other kids, but he had no support from family and friends when he tried out for his high school football team. He even got rejected by all five colleges that offered him scholarships to play football so he decided to go on another route which was doing rap instead. ‘I used to be with my friends playing ball during our lunch break and I would always get teased because they knew how much I loved football, so one day I just told myself “Yo, I’m tired of this”‘. So then later on he went back to try-outs again but still didn’t get accepted.
#4: AZ is the first rapper to mention Barack Obama’s name in a song even though he was already a senator back then.
AZ made it big when he was signed by Dr. Dre ‘s label Aftermath Entertainment. He started working on his album Doe or Die but things got delayed for over two years until it finally dropped in November of 1995. The album did pretty well and fans loved it, which opens up more doors for him like performing at the Source Awards, meeting hip hop legends like Rakim, performing with Rakim, Kool G Rap, and Foxy Brown at Madison Square Garden among others. Some people didn’t take this well because they thought that critics were treating him unfairly while others said that AZ wasn’t getting the support from radio and TV he deserved.
In the midst of all his problems, he got a call from a friend who told him that one person, in particular, had loved “Sugar Hill” which was a song AZ recorded back in 1995 for the soundtrack of Money Talks starring Chris Tucker and Charlie Sheen. That person who enjoyed it so much was going to be running for president of the United States, Senator Barack Obama. ‘He said my name is Barack Obama, I’m running for President, and would you consider being my Senate? At first, when he called me I thought they were playing on my phone because this guy sounded like a little kid’ -AZ
#5: In 2003 He signed onto MCA records where he released a double album called “Asiatic” a year later.
#6: AZ had a cameo role in the 2002 Hype Williams’ movie “Belly” starring DMX, Nas, Method Man and Ja Rule which did pretty well at the box office.
The film was set mostly in New York City and also shoots on location in Kingston, Jamaica, Baltimore, Maryland, and Toronto, Canada.
#7: In 2014 AZ was diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer but he still continues to write lyrics for new songs while going through chemotherapy treatments.
AZ was diagnosed with colon cancer in April of 2014 and when he went in for surgery it got revealed that his tumor is actually larger than what they thought making it stage three instead of stage-four. AZ said that he still kept working on his album even though he was ill because “Cancer never stopped me before, why should it stop me now?
#8: AZ is part of the hip-hop supergroup Boot Camp Clik.
The group consists of members Buckshot, Smif-N-Wessun, Tek and Steele (of Black Moon ), Heltah Skeltah, and O.G.C.:Originoo Gunn Clappa along with several guests like Nappy Roots, Sean Price, Rock (of Heltah Skeltah) , Method Man & Redman ).