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Anthony Cruz, better known as AZ of Afro-Dominican descented .is an American rapper, whose stage name is derived from former drug lord Azie Faison (though spelt differently.) AZ is best known for being a long time rhyme partner of Nas and being a member of hip-hop super group The Firm alongside Nas and Foxy Brown. AZ is known for his multi-syllabic rhyming pattern and deep content based on Five Percenter theologies. AZ first came to prominence by appearing on Nas' landmark album Illmatic on the song "Life's a Bitch" (1994)—he was the only guest emcee to appear on that album. After a bidding war, AZ signed with EMI, and soon released Doe Or Die (1995) to more critical acclaim than commercial sales. The album's lead single, "Sugar Hill", became AZ's only major commercial success as a solo artist, reaching the top 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and achieving Gold status. AZ's EMI contract was transferred to sister label Noo Trybe Records/Virgin Records when the EMI Label Group was shut down. In 1997, he and Nas appeared in a Sprite commercial. AZ signed with Motown/Universal Records and released 9 Lives.[1] In 2002, he released Aziatic. A single from the album, "The Essence," (featuring Nas) was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. In 2004 AZ was going to release Final Call, but it got pushed back multiple times and heavily leaked and was eventually scrapped. A.W.O.L. was released in late 2005.Then in 2006 The Format was released.Then Undeniable in 2008 was released. Final Call was finally released on November 11, 2008, named as Final Call (The Lost Tapes)[1] In 2009, AZ released Legendary on June 2, 2009 for the record label Real Talk Ent.