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This album was released on July 13th in the year of our Lord 2012. It pretty much dropped within the same month that I started listening to Hip Hop in the first place. I only remember a few songs from this project. I’m not sure how I’m gonna feel about it. I remember seeing some critical reviews around the time of its release. Most of this shit is probably gonna sound almost completely new to me. I doubt it’ll be trash. It’ll probably be on the same level as I Am… in terms of overall quality. I don’t know why I have that feeling… Anyway, as of this review’s date of publication, this is Nas’ latest album. Obviously he’s gonna be releasing something sometime soon considering the fact that he had a fucking song called “Nas Album Done” back in 2016. I just think it’s interesting to take note of the state of Nas’ career after dropping this album. So yeah. Here we go. Last Nas album. Yaaay…
Track 1: No Introduction (Prod. J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League)
Nas always has fantastic intros, so I already know this shit’s about to be great. It’s starting now. Alright, this production is fucking NICE. Like, this shit just sounds super luxurious. I love it. Nas’ flow on this first verse is fantastic too. God DAMN. This beat is fucking amazing. Ok. Yes. That first verse was absolutely stellar. This is a GOOD ass song so far. This fits in with all his other intros in terms of quality. The only intro I haven’t liked from Nas was Life We Chose, but The Prediction was technically the first track on Nastradamus, and I liked The Prediction a lot. I love the way this song is structured. There’s not really a hook; there’s only a sample break between each verse. This is a great formula for an album intro. When I put an album on, it’s always awesome to hear a shit ton of bars right away. Nas is killin’ this shit.
Hood forever; I just act like I’m civilized / Really what’s in my mind is organizing a billion black motherfuckers / To take over J.P. and Morgan, Goldman and Sachs / And teach the world facts, and give Saudi they oil back.
The second verse was nice as hell, but that final one was really great. It had the first mention of his ex-wife. I feel like I should’ve mentioned that in the preamble to this review. This album was released after he divorced Kelis in 2010, so that’s obviously a major theme. Actually, I’d go as far as saying it’s the MAIN theme, especially considering the album cover.
Some of y’all might know Kelis / This goes to her with love; also goes to y’all, let’s see / The craziest things already happened to me / So either you’ll be laughing at me or you’re laughing with me, HA!
Yeah, I definitely fuck with this. I have no gripes. This shit is dope af.
Track 2: Loco-Motive Feat. Large Professor (Prod. No I.D.)
Oh fucking shit. I love this production so much. This shit is so dope. The beat is hard as fuck. The first verse was dope. Nas’ fucking flow is relentless. Large Professor is more of a host than a featured artist on this track. Do you know what I mean by that? You know when you’re listening to a mixtape hosted by some annoying ass DJ that talks all over the music? That’s what I mean. LP’s a good host tho. He just says a few words during the breaks between each verse. The second verse was a major improvement over the first one. That shit was hard. The final verse was even fucking better. Okay, goddamn.
It’s ghetto beef; sinister niggas snicker through yellow teeth / Alcohol aging my niggas faster than felonies / How dare I? Must be something in the air that corrupts me / Look at my upkeep, owned and sublease; I’m here y’all.
This is another really fucking good song. His rapping on this track just got better and better as it progressed. This shit is dope af.
Track 3: A Queens Story (Prod. Salaam Remi)
This album is off to a pretty great start. Hopefully it doesn’t fuck up any time soon. Oh fucking SHIT. This beat… Yes. YES. This fucking beat is amazing. I love this shit. Salaam Remi put his ASS in this shit. I live for this shit, bitch. It kinda reminds me of the Made You Look beat. It sounds more modern tho. Jesus. This is crazy. Okay, honestly this is my favorite song so far. Nas is tearing this shit apart. He slaughtered that first verse. I love his aggressive flow on this track. I love the way this song is structured too. There’s a very short break between each verse. He’s just spittin’ his fuckin’ ass off. There are four verses, and they’re all dope as fuck. The final verse was EXTRA incredible tho. I fucking adored the way the production evolved as well. This shit right here is fucking superb.
Track 4: Accident Murderers Feat. Rick Ross (Prod. No I.D.)
I’m pretty sure I heard this song around the time it was released, but that was five years ago, and I was JUST then getting into Hip Hop, so I probably won’t remember it very well, if at all. It’s starting now… The production sounds very… Umm… How should I put this…? Um… It sounds like something I’d hear in my Dad’s southern black methodist church. Instrumentally, I mean. This is dope. It’s good to see that Nas can still come up with entertaining song concepts this far into his career.
He saw you coming; he ran when you tried to blast that man / You missed him by inches, he sprinted / Some of his boys on the corner was who your bullets entered / Two of ’em pull through, but one didn’t; son’s finished, you took the life of him / The part about it that’s crazy: you was alright with him, tight with him / Why was he in the way? Why was he standing next to the enemy that specific day?
It’s also interesting that he chose to tell this story in 2nd person. It’s not a very conventional method of storytelling. The first verse from Nas was dope. I don’t mind the hook. Rick Ross is about to go in now. This should be interesting I guess. I always find it strange how really talented MCs always decide to have Rick Ross as a feature. Pusha T did it. JAY-Z did it. Royce did it. Too many rappers did. With all that said, this is one of the best verses I’ve ever heard from Rick Ross. It’s not like he fucking blew me away and outshined Nas, but it was a solid verse. I enjoyed it. It was more impressive because of his flow than his lyrics, but none of his lines stood out for being really bad. His flow was smooth. It was definitely better than I was expecting it to be, as you can probably tell. Oh shit. Nas fucking snapped on the final verse. The way No I.D. built up to it was so fucking cool too. He fucking killed that shit. Yeah. This is another fantastic song. This shit is dope af.
Track 5: Daughters (Prod. No I.D.)
This album is actually WAAAY better than I thought it was gonna be so far. I mean, I know it’s about to fall off at some point because there’s a song with Miguel and fucking Swizz Beatz, but this is still way better than I thought it’d be. Anyway, this is one of the few tracks from this album that I’d actually heard prior to this review. It was a pretty big single. Easily the biggest single from this album. I’ve always liked it. It’s old person shit. He’s literally just rapping about being a father. I really love the beat on this shit. It’s really nice. The explicit album version of this song is a lot better than the explicit single version. I usually don’t give a shit about stuff like this, but the harsh profanity in the uncensored single version just really didn’t fit very well with the rest of the song. It sounded way too aggressive to me. I’m really glad he changed it for the album version. The first verse was dope. It’s literally just him rapping about being a dad. He doesn’t do it in a boring, sappy way tho. He just highlights the many difficulties that come with raising a daughter.
She was taught and raised like a princess / But while I’m on stage I can’t leave her defenseless / Plus she’s seen me switchin’ women; Pops was on some pimp shit / She heard stories of her daddy thuggin’, so if her husband is a gangster, can’t be mad; I’ll love him.
It’s rare to hear Hip Hop songs that are literally just about trying to be a good dad, so it’s refreshing. Again, it’s awesome that Nas is still finding new shit to rap about. I used to laugh at the idea of myself ever having kids, but I’m currently going through a midlife crisis at the age of 19, wishing that I had a wife and kids, so the way he’s rapping about having a daughter just seems really nice. He makes it seem appealing. It’s only making my desire to have someone look up to me and love me the way I love my mother more intense.
Although you real plus a honest kid / Don’t think I’m slow; I know you probably had that chronic lit / You seventeen; I got a problem with it / She looked at me like I’m not the cleanest father figure, but she rockin’ with it.
This song’s got a very upbeat, almost celebratory atmosphere. The production just sounds very bubbly. I’ve always had an aversion to fathers who seem really overprotective of their daughters, mostly because there’s almost always a double standard and a certain level of misogyny behind all his strict rules. He kind of addresses the double standard right at the end of the song, playing it off as a manifestation of his intense love for his daughter. Eh… Whatever. I’ll allow it. Anyway, I really fuckin’ like this track. I don’t think it’s a super amazing song, but at the same time there’s not really much I don’t like about it. This shit is dope af.
Track 6: Reach Out Feat. Mary J. Blige (Prod. Salaam Remi, Darkchild & DJ Hot Day)
This beat’s kinda cool. I’m not crazy about the hook from Mary J. Blige in which she interpolates Once in a Lifetime Groove by New Edition. It lasts too long. It’s not even really enjoyable at all for me. I’d rather have no hook at all. I can confirm already that this is my least favorite song on the album so far. The production’s cool tho, and Nas killed it. It’s still a good song. I just don’t really like the hook. It’s not bad enough to ruin the song. Everyone else involved in the composition of this song managed to save it from being completely ruined by Mary J. Blige. I love how aggressive Nas’ flow sounds over the hard hitting percussion in this track. The final verse was awesome. This is dope.
Track 7: World’s an Addiction Feat. Anthony Hamilton (Prod. Salaam Remi)
This album is so much better than I thought it’d be. This shit is really great so far. I love the production on this track, and Anthony Hamilton sang his fucking ass off as always. I really love his vocals. I’d like to hear more features from him. This is a really dramatic beat. It sounds like a track from a fucking Kingdom Hearts soundtrack. Not in a bad way tho; this shit just sounds really fucking polished and well done. Salaam Remi fucked this beat. Anthony Hamilton fucked the hook too. This is really good. It’s really intense. Nas’ fucking flow and delivery sound so good over this beat. I love how chaotic this track sounds. It kinda gives me the same feeling that the first track from untitled unmastered. gave me. This first verse is spectacular. He spazzed on that shit. This shit is intense. Am I… Am I smoking dick right now? Do other people not like this shit as much as I do? I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this album this much. I mean, I’m pretty sure the next song is gonna be a fucking trainwreck, but, again, I’m surprised I’ve even liked every track up to this point. That second verse was really fucking good too. There’s so much I could quote. This shit is beyond satisfactory. The final verse tho… Maaaaan… That shit was fucking sublime. Gotdamn. That shit was so fucking good. It’s gonna be hard to choose a favorite song. This shit is fucking incredible.
Track 8: Summer on Smash Feat. Miguel & Swizz Beatz (Prod. Swizz Beatz)
Oh boy… Alright, here we go. This track always comes up in discussions when people are debating what the worst Nas song is. I’ve never heard it, but based on the reception I’ve seen as well as the featured artists, I don’t think I’m gonna like this song too much. The rest of the album’s been really fuckin’ good so far tho, so I guess one giant ass dud in the middle of the album won’t completely throw this shit off. It’ll be fine as long as every track after this is back to the same level of quality that the earlier tracks were at. It’s starting now. Oh fucking God. Already… It’s already terrible. Miguel… No…
Bad bitches, champagne wishes / Freaks only, baby; let me take pictures.
Oh nooo… This is just like fucking You Owe Me. That’s exactly what this reminds me of. I can’t believe he made this song at this point in his career. It’s just such a tone-deaf track for him. There’s not a single person on this planet who comes to Nas for this kinda music. Nobody wants club music from Nas. That’s not what he’s good at, and even if it was, that’s not what I expect from him. This hook from Swizz Beatz is absolutely terrible. The production’s kinda tight, but Swizz Beatz’s hook makes me wanna stick a fucking drill through my cranium. This is so bad. Nas’ flow is cool and I like the production, but, again, nobody wants this… This is like when Jay made fucking Magna Carta… Holy Grail. Nas clearly isn’t really trying to make great music with this track. It’s a sloppy and rushed attempt at a hit single, and it doesn’t fit in with any other song on the album so far. The first verse was not good. Do I need to say much more about this shit? The first and second verses from Nas were wack, and Miguel’s verse was fucking abysmal. It was already a terrible song, but—this should come as no surprise—hearing Miguel rap at the end was about as enjoyable as being sold into slavery. This is easily one of the worst Nas songs I’ve ever heard. This is fucking dogshit.
Track 9: You Wouldn’t Understand Feat. Victoria Monet (Prod. Buckwild)
Alright, hopefully the previous song was the only misstep on this project. This beat is pretty nice. The first verse was good, and Victoria Monet sang her motherfuckin’ ass off on that hook. She sounds really great. I love the second verse.
You ever been on the other end of a robber’s revolver? / Not me; call me “Lucky Nas Castellana” / Or been shot in the medulla oblongata and survived / And praise God with a bullet I never collided / Some did, and they lived; I salute the gods / Moët spilling, splashed by mistake on my Timb boots for y’all.
His flow sounds really good. I wonder on average how long it takes Nas to write one full solid 16 bar verse. The syntax of each line from him just seems a lot more seasoned and polished than that of most. The words all kinda fit together like a puzzle. As far as the lyrical content of this song goes, it’s not the most interesting shit I’ve ever heard from Nas, but it’s pretty standard I guess. This is definitely one of the less impactful tracks on the album, but I’m enjoying it. This is dope to me.
Track 10: Back When (Prod. No I.D.)
Oh fuckin’ shit. This beat is REALLY fuckin’ good. No I.D. fucked this shit. This is one of the best beats on the album so far, if not THE best beat. It’s incredible. The first verse was dope, and I love the MC Shan sample they flipped for the hook. Nas really came through on that last verse too.
Nas: my real name, stage name, same thing / How could you let these lames claim king? / I’m so ashamed, mayne.
This is definitely gonna be a standout track for me. The production is phenomenal, and I love the second verse.
You blame your own shortcomings on sex and race / The mafia, homosexuals, and all the Jews / It’s hogwash point of views, stereotypical / Anti-Semitic like the foul words Gibson spewed / And it’s pathetic; I don’t get the credit I deserve / That’s why I hate doing interviews.
I don’t have any problems with this track. I think it would’ve felt really incomplete without the second verse, but that really brought it all together. This shit is dope af.
Track 11: The Don (Prod. Heavy D, Salaam Remi & Da Internz)
This was one of the first singles for this album, but I still don’t think I’ve ever heard it. It’s starting now. Oh fuckin’ shit. Okay, here we fuckin’ go. This beat is fucking great. This really doesn’t sound as outdated as I thought it would. I feel like it wouldn’t seem out of place alongside more recent popular singles from respected MCs. The feeling it gives me isn’t too far different from that of Nas Album Done. Anyway, Nas’ damn flow is fucking vicious on this first verse. He annihilated that shit…
Had this been you having this lavish / Habitual happiness at me you wouldn’t look backwards / You would have sex on condominium roof decks / So anyone move next, I’ll hit you with two TECs / Rocking Roberto Cavalli, no shirt on, convertible Mazi / My Colombiana mommy riding beside me.
The pattern of his flow is tailored perfectly for this loop of percussion. The first verse was dope af. Goddamn. This song could have gone wrong very easily. This is basically… Hmm… No, that’s not right. I was gonna say “this is Nicki Minaj’s ‘Stupid Hoe’ if it was remixed into a good song,” but the only true point of any resemblance was the degree of vigor and intensity within the performing artists’ deliveries. I feel Nas could’ve easily fucked this shit up tho. He COULD HAVE made his own shitty version of Stupid Hoe. I don’t know why that song keeps coming to me. I’m a little stoned right now I’m not gonna lie. Ha. Anyway, he’s fucking tearing this second verse up to shreds right now. Goddamn, he sounds like a fucking monster in this shit. His delivery is fucking ferocious; I love it. Okay, I can confirm already; this is my favorite song on the album so far. Oh my fucking Christ. The way the production fuckin’ mutates into a super smooth, chill, lush, polished, gentle sounding beat for the first quatrain of the third verse is fucking awesome. Okay, this shit is crazy. I love the production. The impressive placements on this track really paid off. This is the archetype of “dope af.” I definitely fuck with this shit.
Track 12: Stay (Prod. No I.D.)
For some reason there’s a feature for this song on iTunes listed as “The Large Professor,” but LP doesn’t seem to have had any involvement whatsoever with the progression of this song’s development. Apple makes a lot of fucking stupid mistakes tho, so I really don’t give a shit about this little error. Anyway, the production on this song is filling and soulful, almost to an intoxicating extent. No I.D. put his ASS in this beat. Something about it just feels really warm and comforting. It makes me feel like I’m sitting with my grandparents in front of the fireplace drinking hot chocolate. Nas’ voice sounds perfect over this shit too. The first verse was great. I love how soulful the hook is. It’s just some smooth singing from an uncredited vocalist. Good fucking lord. How the fuck am I gonna choose a favorite song? I love the feeling this song gives me. The production gives me the same feeling that Smile by JAY-Z gives me. The second verse was beautiful. This is ironically one of, if not the first and only point at which Nas has addressed his divorce to such a direct and fulfilling extent. It’s great tho. I definitely fuck with this song. This shit is dope af.
Track 13: Cherry Wine Feat. Amy Winehouse (Prod. Salaam Remi)
I’m really not sure how I’m gonna feel about this single. I’m always wary of songs by legendary Hip Hop artists that feature Pop singers, but I’m not familiar with Amy Winehouse’s work, and from what I’ve heard it sounds like she’s different from the average Pop artist. I’m just gonna keep an open mind. It’s starting now. Oh fucking God. Jesus Christ. Her voice… It sounds so much more soulful and robust than I was anticipating for whatever reason. This is excellent. The production is very pleasant and lighthearted and flowery sounding. It kinda reminds me of Pink Toes by Childish Gambino. It just sounds really sweet. It might be a little too sugary for some people, but I’m enjoying it a lot personally. I think his eloquent writing style and manner of communication should be commended. He sounds very nice over this lush production too. This is fucking great. This album is so much fucking better than I was expecting it to be. Goddamn, I love this shit. This is yet another fantastic song. I love the second verse even more than the first one. I love hearing Nas’ thoughts. It’s just so fun to listen to him put rhymes together. The second verse was great. I love the bridge too. Maan… This is really fuckin’ good. Yeah. I fuck with this shit. This is dope af.
Track 14: Bye Baby (Prod. Salaam Remi & 40)
I’m not gonna lie; the fact that Nas rarely actually addressed the divorce he had with Kelis on this album bothers me a lot. I thoroughly enjoyed this project, but I think it could have been so much more. This is the final track on the standard release of this project. It’s beginning now. This production is fucking perfect. This is exactly what I feel like I’ve been missing from this album. A long, direct, honest message to the one who affected him the most at the time: Kelis. I feel like the first song on this album should’ve been him venting about all the shit he went through with her, and the final track should’ve been him coming to terms with it all, accepting it, and moving on. I really thought that that’s what he was gonna go for, but nah. The final product still ended up being quite enjoyable, but, once again, it could have been so much more. Anyway, the first verse of this song is fucking dope. I fucking love the sample they flipped for the hook too. This shit is really nice. The second verse was even fucking better. This shit is really sad.
You screaming at the racist cops in Miami was probably the highlight of my life / Like, “Ha, yo! Look at my wife!” / Gangsta; me and 20 cops ’bout to fight, crazy night / Bailed you out next morning we got clean / Like it never happened, and later we at that Heat game / Just another day in the life of two people in love, but it wasn’t enough…
I’m glad he didn’t try to seem invincible and act like he wasn’t hurt by the direction in which their relationship ended up going. It’s nice to see some vulnerability every now and then. This beat is so fucking good. God. Fucking. Damn. That final verse… That final verse got me. Wow. It all just clicked. I get it now. It’s crazy that he somehow managed to find himself with this incredibly optimistic perspective. I’ll explain it more in my final thoughts. For now, just know that this track right here is without a doubt dope af.
Track 15: Nasty (Prod. Salaam Remi)
This was technically the first single from this album, so I don’t know why it was limited to a deluxe edition exclusive track. It is what it is tho. It don’t make me no difference. Anyway, this beat is fucking incredible. It honestly takes me back to that mid-to-late 90s run of Nas’ career. This is great. He was fuckin’ gettin’ busy on that first verse. I love the way it transitioned into the second verse too. This is fucking fantastic. Jesus fucking Christ. He absolutely exterminated that second verse. Lord have mercy. That shit was crazy. Oh shit. Oh holy fucking shit. Don’t even get me started on this final verse bruh. My lord. It’s really gonna be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be to decide what my favorite song from this album is. This shit is definitely dope af.
Track 16: The Black Bond (Prod. Salaam Remi)
Salaam Remi really doesn’t get enough credit as a producer. This shit really sounds like Nas is rapping over a movie score. It sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a James Bond spinoff movie or something. Wooow… Man… This first verse is crazy. Again, his aggressive flow and delivery make him seem like he’s almost trying to prove that he can still kill anyone on the mic. This shit is fantastic. I love the break between the two verses too. The way the song is structured is very simplistic, but they found a way to make it work without having it sound incomplete. This is a really well done song, but it’s not exactly what I wanted. He’s comparing himself to James Bond by highlighting their financial similarities. He’s rapping about being as rich and fancy as James Bond. I would’ve much rather heard him rap about being a literal spy tho. It’s cool tho. I guess people would say it’s a cool, clever take on the whole exaggerated braggadocio formula for Hip Hop music, but I personally just don’t find anything he’s saying that interesting. The shit he’s saying just holds very little importance, mostly because I’m not very concerned with Nas’ financial status. I did enjoy this song a lot tho. The production was fantastic, and the verses are very well written. This is dope.
Track 17: Roses (Prod. Al Shux & Dan Wilson)
Man, I love this dark ass dramatic production. There’s an uncredited feature from Nikki Flores on the hook, and she did a great job singing. I feel like he’s talking about failed relationships in the bonus tracks more than he did in the actual deep album cuts, and divorce is supposed to be one of the main themes. It’s not a super big deal for me personally, but I feel like it should be pointed out and made aware of. The first verse was awesome. This is more of what I expected to hear on the main, standard edition songs on the album. This is more of what I wanted. I feel like this should’ve been on every version of the album. The first verse was awesome.
I’m an ass magnet; if you mad at that, you’ll be mad forever / Never played you; I prayed we would stay together / Wished it’d last forever, know what I mean? / Heard if you tear a rose from the roots the rose screams.
Maan… That fucking second verse was even better. Jesus. This fucking album just keeps coming through. This shit is dope af.
Track 18: Where’s the Love? Feat. Cocaine 80s (Prod. No I.D.)
This production is really grandiose. It’s not bad. The first verse was good. I like the hook too. Good fucking lord. That second verse was fucking insane. Damn. I already listened to the whole song. I don’t even have anything to say about this track. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think there’s a specific facet of this song that I feel needs to be explored further. The production is nice, and Nas spit one of the best verses on the entire project at the end. This shit is dope af.
Track 19: Trust (Prod. Boi-1da, Matthew Burnett & Jordan Evans)
Aside from Daughters, this was the only song on the album I was familiar with prior to this review. I fucking love it. Just to give you an idea of how much I love this song: it’s one of the MANY songs I’m considering for being my favorite track on the album. I fucking love how desolate yet pretty the piano melody is. Boi-1da fucked this beat. This was actually one of the first Nas songs I ever heard believe it or not. I don’t even know what to say about this track. I think it’s already pretty clear how I feel about it. This shit is dope af to me.
Goddamn. I’m actually fucking shocked by how much I loved this album. This is honestly one of my favorite Nas albums. It’s definitely not perfect. I’ll just get my criticisms out of the way as soon as possible. First of all, the cover of the album promotes kind of a misleading idea of what Nas has done with this project. He really doesn’t start getting into the personal emotional relationship shit until around the tenth track, and the standard version of the album only has 14 songs. I really love the conclusion Nas comes to on the standard edition’s final track. It’s an admirably positive & mature way to view everything he went through. The way he manages to find good in such a difficult situation honestly surprised me. I didn’t think it would be possible. I love this album. I kinda don’t understand a lot of the negative reception I saw for this project. Summer on Smash was a dangerous misstep, but that’s the only song on the entire project that I didn’t think was good. If it wasn’t for that one song, I think people would feel a lot more comfortable calling this one of Nas’ best albums. This shit is dope to me.
Favorite Song: The Don
Least Favorite Song: Summer on Smash