Written Before Listen
Nas is in his 4th straight year of dropping an album…..and I love it. Like I mentioned in my Kings Disease I review, Nas is one of my all time favorite rappers. He is someone who has always impressed me as a strong lyricist with a groundbreaking focus on different types of lyrical hip hop. Whether if that’s conscious hip hop, gangsta rap or strictly Boom Bap. On the other hand, he has also dropped some underwhelming albums in his past discography, but I am here with solid expectations and I hope that they’re met.
In Comparison To
In comparison to the original, this one is easily glitzier and more luxurious. I think everything about this album is slightly stronger than the previous. There is also better feature choices as well. There is honestly nothing I like less about this album when compared to the original.
Hit-Boy (as I said last time) usually wouldn’t be the guy to produce for Nas, but he works well. His production is still glitzy and glamorous and this time, there is more variety on the glam. There are some old school beats as well as modern trap beats. There are beats that could go to Rick Ross but also beats that could go to If You’re Reading This era Drake. Just like I said, this album is stronger in every aspect.
Yes, the features continue with the same philosophy. Surely the Blxst and Charlie Wilson features aren’t the flashiest, they both do their justice. We have some of the biggest stars in todays hip hop as well which includes A Boogie, YG and none other than Eminem. On the other hand, we have some people on this record that we haven’t heard from in a long time. We first have EPMD on “EPMD 2” and having them on a track named after them, is super necessary. We also have “Nobody” featuring Lauryn Hill. From what I’ve heard when it comes to people that have also heard this album, everyone loves the Lauryn Hill feature. I will say that her feature caught me by surprise if anything. She didn’t sing on this song, she went on the mic and wrote bars. I personally dont think she stole the show or anything, but I love hearing her in 2021, without question. With that being said, Nas chose good features.
Nas is back with his usual style of conscious hip hop on this one. This time luckily, he is less political and way more focused. He is more brag-centered, philosophical and celebratory. With songs like “The Pressure” and “Nobody”, Nas talks about the dark side of fame while songs like “40 Side” and “Store Run” have Nas reminiscing on times BEFORE fame. We have tracks topics touched before such as love and leisure but they are touched stronger than usual. Nas is back in his best shape.
Like I said, this is a pure upgrade from the original Kings Disease, but thats the gripe. Its just an upgraded version of an album that was mediocre to start. Personally, I wont be surprised if this album grows on me well, but that usually doesn’t happen with Nas records, hes kind of instant as I know what to get from him. I’ll just say that Nas brings a better version of the original and inconsistent Kings Disease.
This album was good. Honestly, might be one of the best Nas albums, like his best since The Lost Tapes. With Nas, I’m not an admirer of his albums per say, but lyrically and sonically, this is easily one of his strongest releases. The only thing that stops me from loving this is the fact that it’s a continuation of an album that I wasn’t big on.