AZ (Born Anthony Cruz) was born on March 9th, 1972 in Brooklyn. AZ’s original stage name was AZ The Visualiza. AZ is of Dominican and African-American descent. AZ now resides in New Jersey and while he has a very large fan base he has not attained as much commercial success as other rappers he grew up with. AZ first major appearance was as the only guest appearance on Nas’ Illmatic album in a song called “Life’s A Bitch”. AZ signed to Virgin Records and released his album “Doe Or Die” in 1995. AZ then joined the supergroup “The Firm” along side Nas, Nature, Dr. Dre, Foxy Brown and the Trackmasters. AZ was nominated for a 2003 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for his track “The Essence” off of his 2002 album, Aziatic. AZ is a renowned lyricist known for his smooth rhyme delivery, large vocabulary, and clever unconventional rhyme schemes including multi syllable, internal rhymes.