Brooklyn veteran AZ is starting the final month of 2023 by putting out his 10th full-length LP. Most notable for his longtime association with Nas being the only feature on the latter’s iconic debut album illmatic with the song “Life’s a Bitch”, he would later go to signing with EMI Records & drop a full-length of his own Doe or Die a little over a year later becoming one of the greatest mafioso hip hop albums of all time. Other standouts in his discography include Pieces of a Man, Aziatic, A.W.O.L. & The Format & more recently Doe or Die II which was a return to form for him personally. But for his 2nd album of the 2020s, he’s enlisting Buckwild from D.I.T.C. to fully produce Truth Be Told.
After the intro, the first song “Reintroduction” sets the tone of what’s to come hooking up a soul sample with kicks & snares admitting that he’s been going for this going for the game-winning shot with only a few seconds left in the 4th quarter whereas “Don’t Go Astray” goes for a bluesy/boom bap vibe talking about real ones never head off target or into any sort of wrongdoing. “One of the Greatest” works in more kicks & snares accompanied by a mellow loop rightfully calling himself that leading into “Amazing” looking back on moments in his life over a prettier instrumental.
“Still Got It” proves Sosa’s point that he hasn’t lost a step with the pen since returning to making music on top of a soulful beat just before “G.O.A.T.” goes for a sample-heavy sound talking about his greatness. “This is Why” has some rock undertones to the instrumental a bit as he looks to remain fly, but then “Go Time” featuring Pharoahe Monch brings this orchestral flip in the picture so both of them can get on their battle shit.
The penultimate track & final single that just came out last weekend “How We Get It” featuring Fat Joe takes a lavish approach musically as both of them break down the way each of them get it individually & lastly, “Respect Mine” ends Truth Be Told by bringing it raw 1-last time breaking down his legacy for the last minute & 45 seconds left of this half-hour long LP.
Some were calling me crazy because I loved Doe or Die II more than others & I still believe it’s AZ’s best since The Format due to Undeniable & Legendary not being that well received. That said: Truth Be Told matches the caliber of that previous album we got a little over 2 years ago & is his 2nd consecutive classic in this decade. Sosa manages to refine & update his style with the help of his longtime collaborator from The Bronx.