AZ Shares The Stories Behind 15 Of His Best Verses

“Uncut Raw” – Verse One

Album: Doe Or Die (1995)

AZ: “Uncut Raw”? I was being rebellious. When you are first coming out as an artist, you got so much bottled in. I was young and it was just like a whatever. You know what I mean? So, I was saying a lot of things. I was speaking about me, my people, the things that I know and the things that I’ve seen and the feelings. When we grow up, we always grow up with our peers and just conversating and knowing the mindset of your peers and the era we was in. It was a whatever type of zone.

“Uncut Raw” was basically when you are dealing with drugs, the best drugs is the uncut. You know, raw. Because that’s the most potent. I was just trying being potent with my lyrics and my mindset. Being like—whatever. Poverty-stricken [rhymes], it was me being raw with it. I couldn’t see myself detaching from what I was amongst at the time. That’s what made me, and that’s gonna be the death of me. That’s my mindset coming through the doors and shit.

["Outta state connect, slugs, sex, drugs and grands."] I was in that zone. That’s the ’90s. ’94-’95. That’s all it was about was getting money and doing whatever you have to do to survive. That’s always around being from Brooklyn. And then me being around that Queensbridge energy. It was like, “Yo, whatever.” We are New York. This is the energy coming from New York at that time.

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • Ian Piepenbrock

    How are they not even briefly mentioning Canibus’ verse on Desperados? Damn. AZ one of my favourites though.

  • rozenswag

    You had me thinking Life’s a Bitch wasn’t going to make the list. Got me clicking through all 15 though. Well played.


    we movin is that classic az

  • HP

    Before i check Life’s a Bitch or Affirmative Action are number one right?

  • Luke

    “Out of thirty men/ know twenty thats worthy men/ ten is friends/ the other ten’ll probably turn me in” >>>Thats what of my favorite most memorable lines from him. Life’s a bitch is his greatest verse for obvious reasons but seriously AZ has so many great great verses that I dont even know where to start. I just gives props to XXL for even doing this interview I enjoyed hearing all those classic joints again.

    • Luke