I Can't Call It: Nasir - Nas

Posted On Thursday, June 21, 2018

I haven't enjoyed a complete Nas album since "Stillmatic" back in '01. So when word got to ear that Nas had a new album dropping produced by Kanye West I had zero expectations. Why? Well, if the last time I enjoyed a Nas album was 17 years ago and since it's been  over 15 year since I heard a legit Ye produced BANGER ask yourself why would I be excited by what Nas & Ye had on tap? Oh ya'll thought cause Ye laced Pusha T with those "Daytona" I'd be hype? Nah. See here's the thing with Push, dude could literally rhyme over Impeach the Pres 7 times in a row and it would be crazy! See, Push is one of those rare MCs who doesn't need the beat, the beat needs him. Where as with Nas...well let's just say dude literally could go down in history as the worst beat picker EVER. So where as Nas' cockiness probably leads him to believe that he's in Push's lane, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Nas NEEDS dope beats. Now the question is, after doing Pusha's album, his album, Cudi's album and Teyanna Taylor, does he have any dope beats left for Nas?

"Nasir" sets off with "Not  For The Radio" and has Nas spittin' "black Kemet gods, black Egyptian gods, summoned from heaven blessed dressed in only goyard/homie go hard like Stone and Robert in a stolen car, shoot the ballot box no voter cards, they all are frauds/senegal's finest minerals diamonds, the earth is cursed but I survive many climates/calm and thoroughly they try to Hyman Roth me/John Fitzgerald me, the industry never bought me" while Puff throws around regurgitated adlibs from BIG's "Long Kiss Goodnight" while "White Label" has Nas going in "a Vet stylin' at Met Gala Tuna salad from La Scala Black sweats, swallow a lot of reefer God, it hard to quit the bottom feeder, lobster eater/when I fast, I see Elijah's features A million cash for a Nas feature Nas cheaper, do it for free if you do it for me 52 bar verse if the beat is movin' me Stumble through customs, coppin' Cubans at the Duty Free Layin' on the most expensive beds, still I'm losin' sleep, next to Jet's Beauty of the Week 1993/chin grabber, neck choker, in her mouth spitter/blouse ripper, ass gripper, that dig you out nigga." Bonjour" is cool but there's waaaaaay too much got damn singing and who is the hell is the world famous Tony Williams? "Everything" and "Adam & Eve" are both dope and "Simple Things" ends "Nasir" with Nas breaking down how he's probably hit your girl, "lucky me I meet some beauties, make you wanna shoot me/hate to brag my worst batch kills off your best cutie/ facts is deep we break up, they hook up with athletes, get married 'cause we wasn't that match/my G Don't attach me to the games, I'm lucky, I'm blessed One of my exes could be your next dog—trust me don't test." But the stand out banger on "Nasir" is "The Cops Shot The Kid" which has Ye freaking the Slick Rick sample from "Children's Story" and has Nas speaking on the age old tale of our black boys being killed by cops, "the cop shot the kid same old scene, pour out a little liquor champagne for pain Slap-boxin' in the street/crack the hydrant in the heat cop cars on the creep, doin' they round-ups, we just watch for the sweep/it's hotter than July It's the summer when niggas die."

I won't hold you, I like "Nasir." In fact, I like it a lot. But remember, I'm the guy who had absolutely no expectations for this album from the door. So when you have zero expectations for something, it's not too hard to like it. Now if I was still waiting for Nas to make his 2nd Illmatic or swoop in and save hip hop from mumble rap like a lot of folk obviously are, then maybe I would be pissed. But since I wasn't, I'm good money with "Nasir." Could he have been sharper? No doubt. But I didn't think dude was trash either. Could the beats have been better? I guess. But with Nas' past track record for picking beats I'm not mad at these either. And for all of the folk who don't like this album, keep this in mind. "Illmatic" dropped in 1994, it's 2018...what exactly do ya'll want from Nas? For him to be as lyrically sharp as he was 24 years ago? To make an album doper then "Illmatic?" And PLEASE don't tell me ya'll are STILL waiting for that Primo produced Nas album? Hell, I'm a Primo fanatic and I don't even want that shit anymore. All I'm saying is give the dude a break. Are ya'll expecting Grant Hill and J Kidd (the co-rookie of the years from '94) to be leading their squad to the playoffs in 2018? My bad, they can't...cause they're BOTH retired! I know, I know somebody's gonna say that they're athletes and eventually their bodies will break down on them and that it's different from hip hop but ask yourself, is it really? Prior to "Illmatic", all Nas was probably doing was writing rhymes and selling weed in the Bridge. Do ya'll think that's what he still doing in 2018? Nope.

Now don't get it twisted, this is album isn't without it's flaws. The biggest one being that it doesn't sound like it's a complete product. And what I mean by that is only two of these seven songs actually have 3 verses to them. Some songs only have 2 verses, "Not For Radio" has 3, 8 bar verses while "I'm Gonna Have To Leave You" has just one verse that's 14 bars. Hell, "Simple Thing's" 2nd verse just ends abruptly with 8 bars like the pro tools session crashed & they were too damn lazy to reload it. I think this album could've been SO much doper if it was actually...I don't know...maybe...finished? But back to Nas not being as sharp, now I'm not gonna tell ya'll to lower your expectations  (well, I guess I actually am) but give this dude a break. If you're waiting for another "Eye For An Eye" type verse. Don't. If you're waiting for "One Love Pt. 2." Stop. Accept Nas for what and who he is right now or stop listening. Cause if ya'll don't, ya'll will forever be let down...trust me.

4 outta 5 mics

1 comment

  1. Thing is, I wasn’t expecting another illmatic. I was expecting something good like his last album, at least.
    Disappointed in how he sounded uninspired or unenthused. Sounded like they were new verses and reading them from his phone.
    I listened to the album multiple times and while I backed off saying it’s trash, now I just think it’s blah. Doesn’t stay in the rotation.


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