ESCOBAR SZN BEGINS! One of Hip Hop’s most important artist has returned. Nas has been putting on for New York and the East Coast as a whole since the 90’s. Nas is a lyrical genius and his rap style is one that has earned him a mass of success. His ability at story telling of life in the inner city and its harsh reality pioneered a wave for Hip Hop, one that has not since been duplicated. Nas has had quite the path to this moment. ‘Illmatic’, Nas’s debut album in 1994 left its mark on hip hop and is known unanimously by everyone and anyone hip hop as a classic album. Nas has maintained his status as a top-selling artist, releasing eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums, plus selling over 25 million records worldwide. Nas’s last project was ‘Life is Good’. Six years later here we are with NASIR, his 12th overall studio album. Back in late April is when we got word of this new Nas album via Kanye West on twitter. Kanye then told us he was going to be acting as the producer. ‘NASIR’ includes appearances from Puff Daddy, 070 Shake, Tony Williams, and The-Dream – making for an interesting mix of collaborators. ‘NASIR’ is under 30 minutes in length. A seven track album executive produced by Kanye for a Legend like Nas. This should be a real treat right?
Tracklist & Ratings
- NOT FOR RADIO (4.2/5)
- COPS SHOT THE KID (4.5/5)
- WHITE LABEL (4.2/5)
- BONJOUR (4.3/5)
- EVERYTHING (4.7/5)
- ADAM AND EVE (4.3/5)
- SIMPLE THINGS (4.2/5)
Favorite Tracks: Everything, Cops Shot The Kid, and Bonjour
So ‘NASIR’ came out to debut at number 5 on the Billboard 200, while continuing to build a buzz weeks after release. Not bad for the Legend in a new climate in Hip Hop right? Well ‘NASIR’ is all about the NOW. He discusses inequality, racial tensions, as well as its lies and truths. Nas did not hold back at all here. On the opening track, “Not for Radio” he lays the groundwork for a narrative about misconceptions and varied truths. I felt Nas was trying to deliver the feel of some of his classic and most memorable tracks here. I say this based on Nas’s delivery and overall message in this song. 070 Shake is on the hook to add her unique sound to this track. Something about her is so special. She makes a small contribution but its so powerful.
My favorite song on the album was “Cops Shot The Kid” in which Ye incorporated a Slick Rick loop from his classic song ‘A Children’s Story’ throughout the track, along with a snippet of Richard Pryor screaming from an old stand up. The song title speaks for itself. Here we have a song that addresses gun violence and police brutality, two obvious sensitive topics in today’s world. This song featured Kanye West and he definitely dropped a dope verse. I know Ye openly supported Trump (The person not his beliefs and policies) but at the end of the day he is a BLACK MAN from Chicago so this is a subject that is close to his heart. He did a good job producing this track as well.
After the first half of the album we get a change of energy. “Everything” is a 7 minute masterpiece that features both The-Dream and Kanye West on vocals. It is a song that is very well produced and has a very somber tone to it. The message on this song is open for interpretation. Some may see it as either uplifting or tragic. I see it as being hopeful in a time of hopelessness. Also there are parts in the song delivering a message of just staying true to yourself at all times. This song didn’t seem to be a favorite among my peers but it’ll grow on them if it hasn’t yet! The next song is a strong effort as well! “Adam and Eve” sounds more like vintage Nas from the 90’s with his flow and delivery. On this track Nas seems to be telling a story of a person’s harsh reality. This person seems to be him! The closing track, “Simple Things,” delivers a message of humility, and ultimately finding peace within yourself and the ones you love. A message that i personally feel is important for everyone to hear.
‘NASIR’ is a lot to digest from a lyrically standpoint. I could have done a deep dive but that would be way too much work especially since I am trying to get these album reviews a lot faster. Anyways, Nas delivered. He obviously isn’t in ‘Illmatic’ form but he isn’t far from it! Musically NASIR is extremely well put together. I noticed this after maybe my 5th listen since the release day. NASIR retains classic Hip Hop beats and sounds of the past. Salute to you Kanye! Overall, NASIR is a project that could get overlooked as average based on peoples feelings towards it being a Kanye produced project. (This is a sneak diss to a few people who I strongly disagree with) But since I’m solely judging the music, ‘NASIR’ is an enjoyable project that excels for being just under 30 minutes in length.