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Anthony Hill, better known by his stage name YZ, and alias Umar Sa'id Ihsan, is an American rapper, singer, song writer, DJ and entrepreneur from Paterson, New Jersey. He is best known for being a pioneer of conscious hip hop.
At age 17, YZ and DJ Tony D opened a company called Two Tone Productions in Trenton, New Jersey. YZ and group members G-Rock and DJ Tink released the single "I am Who I Am/I'm Bad" (1989) on Trenton independent label Rockin' Hard Records. After acquiring half of the company Diversity Records, YZ released the maxi single, "In Control of Things"/"Thinking of a Master Plan", in 1989. Diversity Records later signed the hip hop group Poor Righteous Teachers (PRT), but because of conflicts with Tony D, the man responsible for producing PRT, Diversity and PRT severed ties before the release of their first single.
YZ signed a deal with Tuff City Records in 1990, then released his first LP, "Sons of The Father" (1990), and another project, YZ EP (1991). Subsequently, YZ signed with Livin' Large/Tommy Boy/Warner Bros, and released the single "Return of the Holy One" (1992). In 1993, YZ released his second full-length LP, "The Ghetto's Been Good to Me". After 1994, YZ released numerous projects independently, including the LPs "The Legend of Floyd Jones" (2007) and "Muad'ib" (2011). In 1999, YZ performed vocals for two tracks on Aim's album Cold Water Music.
YZ is the CEO of Blackworld Entertainment, a record company and management firm. Recording artists represented by the company include Daddy-O of Stetsasonic, X-Clan, Tray Chaney, Met Bronson, Ozara Ode, Jeni Fujita, producer-artist Bobbie Fine; and producers King Midas, and DJ Cozmos. YZ also served as broker for Stic.Man of Dead Prez, and as managing consultant for the record labels NREG (Nappy Roots Entertainment Group, Atlanta) and Team Maverick/700 Block (New Jersey).
YZ formerly held the position of CEO at Seven Twenty Sound Co. ("720"), a New York City artist management company. 720's roster included 8-Off the Assassin, aka Agallah; Urban Thermo Dynamics; a group featuring Ces, DCQ, and Mos Def; Terminata; Legion of Dume; One Step Beyond; Maya Degorgio; Baby Chill, aka #9; and NewChild.
Television and Radio
YZ is the creator, executive producer, and host of the TV show Comin at Ya Live, and the Internet's first hip-hop talk-radio show The After Thought.
- 1990: Sons of the Father (Tuff City Records)
- 1993: The Ghetto's Been Good to Me (Livin' Large/Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records)
- 2002: YZ Presents the Legend of Floyd Jones (Reservoir Records)
- 2009: Muad'Dib (Blackworld Entertainment)
- "Best of YZ - blackgrooves.org". blackgrooves.org. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Artist Biography". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- "Diversity Records". Discogs.com. Discogs. 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
- "Discography". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- Bush, John (2015). "Cold Water Music Review". allmusic.com. All Music Network, LLC. Retrieved 6 May 2015.