As 2022’s calendar winds down, there is still plenty of Hip-Hop to look forward to. On December 9, Kool G Rap will release his first album in more than four years. Last Of A Dying Breed will feature the late Sean Price, Vado, and fellow Queens, New Yorker Royal Flush. In the rollout to the album, G Rap premiered Big Daddy Kane collaboration “Fly Till I Die” at Ambrosia For Heads in late August. That was followed by September’s Gorilla Nems-assisted “Critical” and this month’s “Scared Money.” All three songs are produced by longtime G Rap collaborator Domingo, who has also worked with Big Pun, Fat Joe, Masta Ace, and KRS-One, among others.
This weekend, the Corona lyricist dropped “Born Hustler,” featuring AZ and 38 Spesh. In the opening verse, G Rap kicks a cold verse about putting love aside for lust, and stacking paper with intention. 38 Spesh raps about doing for self in his verse. The Rochester, New Yorker spits about feeling neglect from others before becoming a boss on his own two. The artist who founded T.C.F. has released catalog by Planet Asia, Che Noir, and Rasheed Chappell, among others. In 2018, G Rap and Spesh made the powerfully-titled Son Of G Rap, featuring production from DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Showbiz, Daringer, and Alchemist.
AZ raps last. As he’s done throughout his career, the East New York MC is a show-stealer—even among one of his top influences. “Nothing nickel-and-dime, I’m fickle with mine / A million ways to get paid, hater, pick you a grind / Fly Louis frames, my peripheral’s fine / From the gristle, it’s consentual, I’m official with rhyme,” he begins, tracing his steps from the basement to the top floor. Twenty years ago, Tha Visualiza guested on the Buckwild-produced “Holla Back” from G Rap’s Rawkus Records LP, The Giancana Story.
In 2021, AZ told AFH of his top MC influences (embedded below), which included the Juice Crew collaborator. “When you’re young, you get more caught into the beats, so [Fatback Band’s] ‘King Tim III’ and [Run-D.M.C.’s] Run were like, wow. But I [was really] young though. But then with the Rakim [era], then you hear the [Big Daddy Kane], [Kool] G Raps, the KRS-[ONE]—I gotta say all they names, ’cause each one of them played a part—Slick Rick and Chuck D. These seven—my world revolved around them. When you think about content, you think about fluidity, and flow, and word structure, it all turns into a one thing, so that was just my life at one time.”
This summer, AFH compiled a list of MCs naming their own top MCs. AZ and Kool G Rap each provided lists, and were named among the greatest.
Earlier this year, AZ released an expanded edition of 2021’s Doe Or Die 2, in addition to a Logic collaboration. Earlier this month, 38 Spesh teamed with producer Harry Fraud for Beyond Belief.
AZ Takes A Classic Kool G Rap Beat & Demonstrates Why He’s Great (Audio Premiere)
#BonusBeat: In late 2021, AZ spoke to AFH‘s What’s The Headline podcast about Doe Or Die 2, his top MCs, and some of his favorite fellow feature snipers: