NASIR – Nas

“Escobar season begins.” After waiting for what felt like ages last Friday for this album to drop, Nas finally blessed us with Nasir, his eleventh studio album. This is yet another mini project Kanye West has helped produce and release over the past few weeks. Politically charged is an understatement for this album, but we don’t often see the Queensbridge native do otherwise. Nas is a legend in the rap game, and while its no Illmatic or Hip Hop Is Dead, it is a good album through and through.

The Vocals:

Solid. That is the best way to describe the vocal aspects of this project. The Queens legend is a lyricist and it shows. On every verse throughout, he truly kills it. He develops this story of a world that he had to grow up in, a world that forced him to sin which he doesn’t want for his kids. We also get yet another appearance from the ever-mysterious 070 Shake on the opening track “Not For Radio”. This makes her third feature on one of Kanye’s mini albums after coming out of the woodworks. We also hear from the main producer himself later, as he comes on “Cops Shot The Kid” and “everything”. On the latter, Kanye is featured with a singing part on the chorus. With that combo of Kanye and Nas, “everything” may be long but is a track worth the listen.

The Beats:

Solid. Once again, the best word to describe another aspect of the album. The G.O.O.D. Music team did a great job creating beats that just fit Nas’s style. Nothing was too out there, however at no point did they feel boring. They even for the second time (of Kanye’s mini albums) sampled Slick Rick’s “Children Story” with the line “Cops shot the kid” on the track with the same name. I found it actually quite unique how the producers utilize looping samples on “White Label” and “Cops Shot The Kid” to create a sort of beat. While it is repetitive, you don’t get that feeling since it is mixed in with hi-hats and snares.

The Production:

Solid. I keep using this word for a reason. It represents all aspects of the album. Kanye clearly had a heavy hand in the overall production of the album and he put his artistry to work with it. In a tweet from Mr. West, we can gather that the theory behind the project was the idea of the “7 Deadly Sins.” Each song represents a different sin, that being greed, gluttony, lust, envy, sloth, wraith, and pride. To create a theme like this is no easy task, as it has to be woven into the lyrics and beats. However, I felt the production crew and Nas did a great job with this. This theory most notably shines through on the song “Adam and Eve”, which was meant to represent sloth or laziness. They sampled “Gol-e Yakh” from the Iranian singer Kourosh Yaghmaei. The literal translation of the title of the 1978 song means “to sloth”.

The Essentials:

“Not For Radio”, “Bonjour”, and “everything”

The Rating:

As I said with each aspect of the project, it was a solid piece. It wasn’t Nas’s best but certainly not his worst. His lyrics were solid and the beats were strong. Of all the Kanye projects released over the past few weeks, this was by far my favorite and the best one. Nas holds onto that legend status with every verse he spits. Nasir gets a:

8.5

Politically charged with a deeper meaning. I’m going to say it again. Solid.

-Heff

nas

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