Pieces of a Man

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AZ had a lot to prove with his second album, Pieces of a Man. Not only did he have to prove that the success of his debut, Doe or Die, was not a fluke, he had to live up to his success with the Firm and as a guest artist with Monifah, D'Angelo, and Nas. For the most part, he lives up to these expectations on Pieces of a Man. There are certainly some slow spots on the record, but the production from Trackmasters and Dr. Dre is appealing, funky, and seamless, blending street rhythms with radio-ready hooks. Furthermore, AZ's lyrical skills are increasing, as the best moments (including the single "What's the Deal") prove. The moments that work on Pieces of a Man are so strong that they make the lesser, lazier moments forgivable.

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