With AZ’s long awaited Doe Or Die 2 finally out, the project saw the MC spanning multiple generations of Hip-Hop on collaborations that fans have never seen before, and some - like T-Pain - that maybe they didn’t expect. Rick Ross, Conway The Machine, Dave East, Lil Wayne and more could be found in the features, but there was one name notably missing. One that has been inextricably tied to AZ’s career and vice versa: Nas.
In part two of our exclusive conversation with AZ, the venerable MC explains why Esco was left off of DOD2.
“Nasir is a busy man. The invite was there, it was just a matter of us connecting which didn’t happen,” said AZ.
“He’s doing so much and I’m like, ‘okay, I gotta get back on my bike and do me.’ I’m sure we’ll meet up again,” he added.
Later in the conversation as he was breaking down each song, AZ revealed the particular song he wanted his “Life’s A Bitch” partner in rhyme to bless.
“[‘Ritual’ was] the track I wanted Nas on,” AZ said of the Alchemist produced track that wound up featuring Conway The Machine and Lil Wayne. “I was trying to make it happen and then I ran into Conway at a Nets game. We were up in the box, we’re watching the game, I’m like, ‘we gotta make something happen.’ He was like, ‘let’s get it done. This is what we do. This is on the bucket list for me.’ I sent it to him, he sent it right back. I was like ‘wow.’”
“Then, I was thinking I need somebody else on the album, just to balance the album out. I always [like to have my projects have] a balance. I reached out to Wayne like, ‘yo I wanna do a record. I’m not sure I can get the beat from wherever I’m gonna get it from. I kinda got a record with Conway.’ He said, ‘just give it to me. Give it here.’ I said, ‘just wait. I can get a record just with you and me.’ He said, ‘no, send the shit.’ I was like, ‘alright,’ sent it and he just went crazy.”
On the subject of Nas, the “Quiet Money” MC also spoke on the possibility of another reunion. One that would undoubtedly set the Hip-Hop world on fire.
"I’m open for [another Firm album]. I’m here. I’m cool with everybody and everybody’s cool,” AZ said of the supergroup comprised of himself, Foxy Brown, Nas, Cormega and Nature. “I deal with [Cormega], Foxy, Nas, everybody’s cool, but everybody has their own careers to govern so it’s like, if time permits, if it happens I’m sure it would but if not, everybody’s individually successful enough to focus on what they’re doing.”
As Doe Or Die 2 was primed for release, rumors were swirling that it would be AZ’s swan song, and he even admitted that prior to its release he had his mind set on venturing off into other avenues. Then the momentum changed. First, the night before the album’s release, 9th Wonder sent out a tweet pleading to do a seven-song project with him, and then the day of, AZ was reminded just how much love he had in this game, as day one sales figures saw him sitting in the number two spot (behind only Drake).
“I was thinking about [retiring from rap] and I was told earlier today that [DOD2] is number two on the sales chart and I was like ‘wow,’” AZ revealed. “I know it’s hard to get Drake out of that number one spot, but since I got their ears now, I think I’m gonna do a Doe Or Die 3. You’re the first one I’m telling, and I’m gonna do it sooner than people think, and it’s not gonna be something I just throw together, it’s gonna be a classic. Remember I told you that. I was gonna fold, but music is about expression. I can do this forever. It was different when I was doing it [just] for the sales. Of course I wanna make money, especially me being independent, I put my own money in, but at the same time I love Hip-Hop, I love the culture. I live for it.”