This album was released on November 11th this year. I was looking forward to checking this album out when it first got announced, but I didn’t realize just how excited I was for it until it actually came out. I hadn’t listened to a new album in a long ass time, but I literally pressed play on this project fifteen minutes after it dropped. I thought the first King’s Disease was a pretty great album, but, with that said, I probably haven’t listened to that project since around the time I first heard it. However, King’s Disease II was even better than the first one, and I still go back to certain tracks from it every now and then. That’s my favorite project Nas & Hit-Boy have dropped together, but I know most people consider Magic to be their best. I like King’s Disease II slightly more, but they’re both really great albums. It should be noted that Magic is the only Nas album aside from Illmatic where I like every single track. Anyway, I’m just gonna say it right now… I think this album is amazing. This might be kinda blasphemous to the purists, but this is actually my second favorite Nas album now. Yeah. I like it more than It Was Written. This shit is fire. Let’s talk about it…
The opening track is entitled Ghetto Reporter, and it’s fucking fire. Nas always has good intros, but this is probably my favorite out of all the King’s Disease intros. The production from Hit-Boy is really polished and lavish-sounding. The piano loop sounds fantastic. Hit-Boy is a good ass producer, man. Fuck what y’all be talkin’ ’bout. That dude is a serious talent. I don’t get the hate I see for him. I mean, yes, he does have a very polished, clean sound that I guess isn’t for everyone, but I don’t think many people are doing that sound better than him at the moment. All his shit sounds expensive as fuck. I guess that’s why some people don’t like it. I don’t know. Fuck it. Anyway, the first verse on this song was really good, but that second verse though? Gotdamn. This man went off. I actually really appreciate the shit he said on the interlude between the two verses too. It kinda puts into perspective this crazy run that he’s been on for the last two years.
King's disease Most of us catch it at one point or another But evolve Find a new formula One that takes everything in you to make
I guess he had King’s Disease when he made NASIR and then found his new formula with Hit-Boy after that. I say that as someone who actually liked NASIR too. I mean, it definitely wasn’t up to expectations, but it was still somewhat enjoyable to me overall. I also liked The Lost Tapes II a lot. I kinda don’t know why people weren’t feelin’ that project. Some might consider me to be a Nas stan though, so maybe I’m just biased. Anyway, the second verse is really what pushes this song to the next level for me.
The audacity, masterfully crafted these classics So naturally had to be Nasty back at it They argue KD1, KD2 or Magic, what's harder when… KD3 go harder than all of them
His flow was so fucking nice on that quatrain. The song is fire. It’s just great production and great rapping. Can’t really ask for much more than that. I love it. In fact, I love the song more now than I did on my first listen. It’s dope af. The following track is another major highlight entitled Legit. This might actually be my favorite song on the album. Hit-Boy. God. Damn. The production here is fucking incredible. This is easily one of the best beats I’ve heard all year. I love how it builds up too. It doesn’t really drop until about halfway through the first verse, and once it finally does it really pays off. This beat is glorious. It actually kinda reminded me of something Jay-Z would’ve rapped over for The Blueprint to be honest. Nas of course killed the verses too.
Stars in the ceilin', God's Son in the buildin'
Rep that 718, it’s hard to depart from that feelin’
Careful sellin' weight, the DEA be watchin’ you dealin'
Get yourself straight, before they find that paraphernalia
For those who claim a hundred million on taxes, beautiful actresses
Street dudes who turn activist who used to move packages
No Nas, still here to remove the wall that I'm back against
Legitimized all your hustles before the gavel hit
I even love the hook on this track. It’s catchy as hell. There’s legitimately not a single aspect of this song that I don’t love. The production, flows, rhymes, hook, etc. are all fire. Again, this is a strong contender for my favorite track on the album. I mean, I honestly think it is my favorite track, but I’m not quite ready to make that call yet. We’ll see how I feel by the time I’m done with this review. Before I move on to the following track, I gotta make sure I highlight some of my favorite lines from this song.
I read Jesus' diary and ran to tell the streets
No, this ain't no hype, we in the belly of the beast
All they said was I would be a felon, be deceased
Instead, I'm in Margiela, in Loewe with the crease
That is so fucking hard. That is some baller ass shit. I love it. He was talking that shit here. The song is dope af. The following track is called Thun, and it’s one of the more popular songs from the album. Personally, I don’t love it quite as much as the opening couple of tracks, but I still think it’s a fantastic song. The production is really goddamn nice. I saw someone on Twitter say that this track sounds like something that could’ve been on It Was Written. I’m not sure if I’d go that far personally. However, if I had to choose one song from this album that could come the closest to fitting on IWW, it’d definitely be this one. The beat just sounds a bit too polished to sound exactly like something from It Was Written, but if for whatever reason Nas wanted to make It Was Written 2 I could see this beat being on there. There’s just one verse on this song, but it’s good enough to stand alone. There’s one quatrain in particular that is to blame for this song’s relative popularity.
No beef or rivals, they playin’ Ether on TIDAL
Brothers can do anything when they decide to
In a Range Rover, dissectin' bars from Takeover
Sometimes I text Hova, like "Nigga, this ain’t over"
I get it. It makes sense why people are so enamored by these lines. That shit is fire honestly. The whole verse is great.
I had to hold it down for Queens 'cause I over-value fiends Shout to Brooklyn, all between, hoods be over lappin' Subways be stacked and I ain’t been on a train in decades And I can still hear the wheels on the tracks
Again, this song didn’t completely blow me away like the couple of preceding tracks, but I would still say that I love it. It’s dope as hell. Track 4 is called Michael & Quincy. Honestly, on my first listen of this album, this track didn’t really stand out that much to me like the opening three songs did. However, upon further listening, I actually think this track is fire. Nas fucking killed this song. The beat is fire too, but Nas is really the star here.
Jeepers creepers, America's a baby that's teethin'
Shittin' on itself, cryin' for it's next feedin'
As odd as it gets, it's not even a toddler yet
Gang members got nothin' on these congressmen
I’m not totally in love with the way the beat switches up for the second verse, but the verse itself is fire. The way Nas stuffed in all those Michael Jackson references was really cool. The whole premise of the song is that Nas is comparing himself and Hit-Boy to Michael Jackson & Quincy Jones. That was probably obvious from the title. This shit is really fucking great though. I think Nas killed it. I really like the production a lot too. Again, I wasn’t crazy about the second part of the beat, but it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t as good as the first part in my opinion. Anyway, I think the song’s dope as hell overall. Track 5 is called 30, and it’s really damn good. I love the beat here. It sounds like something that A$AP Rocky would fit over perfectly honestly. It just sounds really grandiose and celebratory. It’s one of those beats that sounds like it’s really fun to rap over. Nas of course floated over it beautifully too. This is the shortest song on the album, so there’s only one verse, but it doesn’t sound incomplete or anything. The verse itself is fire. These lines in particular stood out a lot for obvious reasons…
Superhero material, rap star status
Premier album still might happen
I wonder why Pete Rock would act like that
That type of behavior make me give rap right back
I wanna take this moment to apologize to Pete Rock. I have been kind of dismissive of his work in the past because I don’t love a lot of his production like most people do, but honestly he deserves all the praise he gets just for producing The World Is Yours alone. If that was his only contribution to Hip Hop he would still be a legend in my eyes. The shit with C.L. Smooth just adds to his greatness. Anyway, these lines from Nas are referencing the lawsuit that Pete Rock initiated against Nas in regards to certain royalties that he never received from The World Is Yours. I mean, I don’t have all the details. All I know is that Pete Rock tried to sue Nas, so that’s why that line’s in there. Personally, I’m more intrigued by the line leading up to the Pete Rock bar. It would definitely be more exciting if he said something like, “Premier album still gon’ happen” instead of “still might happen,” but it’s exciting either way. Anyway, I think the song is dope. Again, it’s just one verse, followed by a hook, so there’s not really that much going on structurally, but everything here is just really well done. I love the production, and Nas sounded great over it. It’s followed by Hood2Hood, which is even better in my opinion. The beat is absolutely stellar, and Nas killed it. The first verse is really good.
How did I become number one? I'm one-of-one
Flyin' down the 101, right under the Cali' sun
Junior M.A.F.I.A. out the subs, shorty calling me "Son"
If one clique make a million today, it probably be us
I really love the way he was flowing when he spit those lines. The hook is pretty straightforward, but I think it works really well. The second verse is even better than the first one in my opinion. Honestly, that’s actually one of my favorite verses on the album. The lines about him stealing his flow back from other rappers who bit him are fire.
I'm OJ with the memorabilia, had to steal it back Like the Nas flow we be hearin' on your tracks Stop that, my guy, you are not that, my guy That feeling to be a king, can't top that, my guy King's Disease, I'm still poppin' these young things Got me thinkin' like Amerie, it's this one thing
The reference to Drakeo the Ruler was nice too. I think this song is fire. I don’t have any complaints with it. I think it’s dope as hell. Track 7 is called Recession Proof. I’ve seen a couple people in my Discord server say that this is the one track that they aren’t crazy about on the album, and I honestly have no idea why. This is one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. I don’t have any gripes. I love the way Nas was flowing at the beginning of the first verse. Both of the verses are really great. I just love Nas’ voice and flow. He sounds so good when he raps. The production from Hit-Boy on this track doesn’t really blow me away like it did on some of the other tracks, but the actual rapping from Nas here makes up for it. I think Nas killed this shit. I love how he ended the second verse. His flow was so nice. I feel like I didn’t say that much about this track, but I have no complaints with it. The people in my Discord server are haters. This shit is fire. The following track is even better though. It’s called Reminisce, and it’s fire. I think it’s one of the best songs on the album. It’s got a beautiful, soulful instrumental. The way it evolves as the song progresses is legitimately amazing to me. I think it’s a perfect song honestly. The beat does kinda sound like an R&B singer belongs on the hook, but I actually think that could’ve been a risky move. It’s probably for the best that Nas just handled the hook himself. The first verse is fucking fire too.
I didn't have to die so that they could call me the great one
Didn't take a couple albums, people said it from day one
From wings with hot sauce to tuna tartare, driven in RRs
From hidin' from robbery victims in back of cop cars
Tatted from my neck to abdomen
Almost gettin' shot was averagin' once every two weeks
Blessed what I had to been
These painful words, hearing these liars puttin' my name in dirt
Aim and I burst, pistol practice until my fingers hurt
Honestly, as much as I adore Nas’ rapping on this song, the aspect of it that stands out the most to me is the production. This is definitely one of the best beats on the album, which is saying a lot. It’s just a gorgeous instrumental. The lyrical content fits over it perfectly too. The beat is really dynamic as well. It’s not just one super repetitive loop. There’s not a single aspect of this song that I don’t love. I can’t praise it enough honestly. This shit is dope af. Track 9 is called Serious Interlude, and at first when I read the title I assumed it would be a skit, but then when I gave it some more thought I realized that it would probably just be kind of a short song. I guess I wasn’t wrong even though it isn’t even the shortest track on the album. It’s fire though. This album technically has no listed features, but there are uncredited vocals from Mario on this song. Anyway, the production on this track actually reminded me a lot of something Kanye West would make; particularly something that Mike Dean is involved in. It’s the guitar loop. Anyway, Nas rapped very well here of course. The storytelling is really well done. I mean, I personally don’t really find the subject matter that interesting, but I think it’s really well executed. In fact, this is probably about as well done as it could be. The production is absolutely phenomenal, and Nas did his thing over it. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the uncredited vocals. Mario sounded really good here. I’m more than satisfied with his performance. The song is dope as hell. I’m on Fire is the next track, and this one’s a major highlight for me. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. Again, I still haven’t decided on a number one favorite track, but this is definitely a strong contender. The production here is fucking superb. This beat is so fucking good. It’s really beautiful honestly. Nas of course rapped over it incredibly well too. I love how it kinda takes a while for the beat to finally drop. I’m starting to feel like a broken record ’cause I’m kinda saying the same things about every track. This shit is fire though. The production is absolutely stunning, and Nas sounds perfect over it. Once again, I have no complaints. I mean… Maybe he could’ve added one more verse. I don’t know. The song is a little short, but honestly I’d be lying if I said I really cared that much. At this point I’m just reaching for things to complain about. The song’s dope af. Track 11 is called WTF SMH. Once again, the production is top notch. The beat here during the first half of the song is a lot darker than most of the other instrumentals. The verse that Nas spits over it is really nice too.
Demonic motherfuckers, what you do come back God bless the trap, but I wanna see you untrapped Plottin' on another man and his possessions is wack One on one with your opp, all they see is two dumb blacks
Honestly, I like the second part of the beat more. That sample is beautiful. Nas fucking slaughtered it too. I think the verse he spits here is one of the best on the album. It took a few listens for it to sink in, but he really went off here.
Everybody's so quick to flip or say they with the shits
They go against someone look just like them
But when the enemy has government powers
They become cowards, they cut the tough guy shit
When they arrest, when they come cuff your kids
They give us criminal records, because of where we live
And the money is low, and narcotics are thriving
It's evil, we diagnosed with something that's untreatable
Feel powerless so brothers only have beef with you
So you on your murder shit 'cause that's what you see them do
Well, let me tell you somethin', many go on GBG
Get Back Gang, who gon' rest in peace?
This song grew on me with repeat listens. I actually think it’s amazing. The production is great, and Nas spit one of the best verses on the album over it. The song’s dope af. The following song, Once a Man, Twice a Child is arguably even better. It’s definitely better production-wise. The beat is pretty amazing to me. The saxophone that comes in at the very end when Nas stops rapping is fire. The hook is pretty solid, but the main appeal of the song is definitely just the rapping and production. The first verse is great, but I like the second one even more.
I'm tryin' to expand the pineal gland
The world ain't our home, just temporary please understand
You die tomorrow then you born again, so life is deathless
Respect and balance, human dignity that's the perspective
Aimé Leon Dore New Balance when I'm steppin'
Time is precious
One day I might need my diaper changed inside a convalescent
The soul is different than the flesh is
I think the song is fire, although I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a contender for the best song on the album for me. It was at one point honestly, but now it’s not. It’s not that the song grew off me; I just think the other songs grew on me more. This one is still dope as hell though. I love it. It’s followed by another highlight entitled Get Light. I absolutely love how hard-hitting the percussion is on this song. The actual beat itself is fire too. It’s actually pretty jazzy, and super melodic. The first verse from Nas was cool, but the second verse is definitely the best part.
Ripley's Believe It or Not
I'm still the cream of the crop
I was just the tender age of eighteen on the charts
Wasn't even dreamin' this far
Believe who you are
The sun doesn't even know it's a star
I think that closing line about the sun not knowing it’s a star is pretty fucking cool. I think this song maybe could’ve used one more verse to push it to the next level, but it’s still fire as it is. This was one of my favorite songs on the album when I first listened, and I still love it, but some of the other tracks have grown on me enough to surpass it. I think it’s dope as hell though. Track 14 is another major highlight entitled First Time, and it’s all about the first time people heard Nas. The beat. Fucking incredible. I absolutely adore this instrumental. It makes me think of Sonic the Hedgehog for some reason. I have no idea why. It just does. In a good way though. It makes me think of the chao garden. This might actually be my favorite beat on the album, which is saying a lot. I don’t know for sure. It’s either this beat or the one on Legit. They’re both incredible. Nas fucking killed this shit too. The second verse has one of my favorite quotables on the whole album.
First time you heard Nas you probably heard somebody say that I pick bad beats
But I pick bad freaks
Narratives they runnin' with, the classics they comin' with
Ain't fuckin' with what I recorded last week
TALK THAT SHIT NAS. He fuckin’ killed this shit. Fuck, man. This might actually be the best song on the album. I don’t know. I still haven’t decided, but I guess it’s a good sign that I’m having this much trouble narrowing it down. Anyway, the part where Nas kinda mentions the advent of Kendrick Lamar is really cool.
Since when did rap leave me so suspended in air?
Since Kendrick entered the atmosphere, '09, I was there
On La Cienega
My nigga from LA said there's a nigga from Black Hippy
I was happy to just witness history
This song is perfect to me. I love the beat so much. The beat sounds really innocent and friendly sounding and warm. It makes me think of being a kid and spending time with my family. I mean, the people in my family that I actually like. Not my entire family. Anyway, the song’s dope af. It’s followed by Beef, which didn’t really stand out that much to me on my first listen in all honesty. I mean, I definitely liked it a lot, but it didn’t blow me away like most of the other tracks did. I really fuck with it though. I love how tense and dramatic the beat sounds. Lyrically, this might be one of the best songs on the album. It’s definitely one of the most creative. Sonically, this is probably my least favorite song just because the beat isn’t that interesting to me. I still think it’s good though. Okay, I guess I should explain the concept behind this track. Basically, Nas is rapping from the perspective of beef. Not the food. The Hip Hop thing.
That behind the back shit complex and multifaceted
Lesson to the real, I be decimal subtracting shit
The devil is a lie, I could confuse a genius
Have him movin' real dumb over nothin' at my convenience
When empires fall over women, I am the reason
USA and Al-Qaeda, I'm the tension between 'em
It’s pretty well done. Don’t get me wrong, I really like this track. It’s just not as amazing as most of the others in my opinion. I gotta give Nas kudos for the creative concept though. I mean it’s far from the most creative thing I’ve heard this year, but it’s still pretty cool. I fuck with it. It’s dope. The penultimate track is one last major highlight entitled Don’t Shoot. This might actually be the best song on the album. Again, I still haven’t decided, but this is definitely a strong contender. The production? Fucking incredible. I can’t praise it enough. Nas fucking killed this shit too. Lyrically, it kinda reminds me of the closing track from Lupe‘s latest album.
Just a grown man tryna see how to change the community 'Cause all I see is mama's crying, reading eulogies Thinking 'bout everything her baby could've grew to be Speaking unity for years, but face scrutiny He weird, one day Esco be rapping 'bout shootin' me Next day he say "and I can," he been confusin' me
The way Nas kinda breaks into a double-time flow for the second half of the first verse is really cool. I’m not really used to him doing that, so it was interesting to hear. The second verse is really good too, and I love how the beat kinda switches up. I mean, it’s the same beat; it just gets a little higher pitched. It’s a beat alteration. I love it. I wish I could just choose three favorite tracks from this album. This would definitely be a part of that trifecta. It’s an amazing song. I think it’s dope af. The closing song is a bonus track entitled ‘Til My Last Breath, and it’s easily the worst song on the album in my opinion. I definitely see why this was relegated to a bonus track. I don’t think it’s a bad song just to be clear. In fact, I actually think it’s good. I fuck with it. It’s just nowhere near as amazing as the other material on this project. Something about it feels kinda odd. I just don’t like this direction for Nas personally. I mean, he did it well enough, but this just isn’t what I want from him. As soon as I heard him say “and we all about the shmoney,” I was incredibly nervous. I deadass thought to myself, “did this motherfucker really ruin one of the best albums of the year with a trash song?” That’s not what ended up happening, but I was scared for a second. This song easily has the wackest beat on the album. Actually, you know what? I just listened to the song again… I… Don’t like this shit. I gotta be honest. I was trying to force myself to like it, but I just don’t. I don’t think it’s a bad song, but it’s just not the kind of thing I would ever have the desire to listen to again. I think the beat is kinda trash. Nas did his thing over it, but it’s just not enough to make up for this production. It’s an okay track, but I’m not gonna be listening to it again in the future.
This album is amazing. Again, this is probably gonna trigger some of the purists reading this, but I have come to the conclusion that this is my second favorite Nas album behind Illmatic. It’s honestly not even that close for me. I fucking love this album. The production from Hit-Boy is outstanding, and Nas did what I have come to expect from him when he’s focused. This is easily one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. I don’t really have a single gripe with it honestly. I mean, I wasn’t crazy about the bonus track, but the main portion of the album itself is fantastic. I couldn’t be more satisfied with this project. Nas is on fire right now. I don’t know if he’s gonna keep going with this run he’s on right now. I frankly don’t see him topping this any time soon. This shit is that good. Maybe he’ll be able to match the quality, but I really don’t see him surpassing this. That’s not a diss. I mean it in a good way. I just love this album that much. This is what I’ve been waiting for from Nas. This is what I wanted after hearing Nas Album Done. Before listening to this, Life Is Good was my second favorite project from him. It probably still would be if it didn’t have Summer on Smash on it. I just wanted to hear Nas rap really well over some fire beats, and that’s what happened. The reason I like this project more than Magic and the other King’s Disease albums is that I simply think the production is far superior. I really think Hit-Boy went above and beyond here. This is probably the best work I’ve ever heard from Hit-Boy honestly. I’m so happy that this project exists. I love it. I think it’s dope af.
Favorite Song: First Time
Least Favorite Song: ‘Til My Last Breath
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.
[…] December & January playlists should be available sooner rather than later. Anyway, shoutout to Nas for releasing my favorite album of the month. Throw this shit on shuffle and let me know what your […]