He was then and is now, Mr. Streetwise, an eloquent and verbally-in-touch youth with every inner city, project building and crime-ridden urban blight of America.
Only six cuts make up this entire album. The first remix by Tha Arsenal's Def Jef & Meech Wells is of Illmatic's "Life's a Bitch," and the pace is as hectic as a highway speed chase. Much faster and with raw scratches stopping the beat at times, there's a continuous hard press on the gas pedal as this East Coast funk explosion sees AZ's lines kick off this release. This is the song that gave AZ a start on his career just from one verse and a hook. But a verse it was, rap along now: "We were beginners in the hood as 5 percenters but something must ah got in us because ALL of us turn to sinners..." When Nas approached the mic that night in the studio, those present couldn't be luckier. He paints such picturesque and rhythmic patterns, with such a resounding onslaught of words, that everyone is always queued to recite parts of the verse without knowing just why: "..when I was young at this, I used to do my thing hard/robbing foreigners, take they wallets, they jewels and rip their green cards