A.W.O.L.? No kidding. Nas's old pal AZ has had a couple of good records since The Firm flopped - best of all, the DeBarge-flipped Problems - but generally his presence on the radar hasn't been very strong since the turn of the millennium. Despite the murderously ill New York with Rae and Ghostface, this LP may not brighten his blip or alter his underratedness. But it should - his Queensbridge-accented optimistic flow works really well on the right beats, which he's got in bundles. The Moss-produced Envious, featuring (out of nowhere) Bounty Killer, is beautifully gutter, and The Come Up is the dopest beat DJ Premier's made in five years.