Nas is a legendary emcee out of Queens, New York. Not too long ago, he released his eleventh studio project, entitled, “NASIR”. The title is the artist’s legal first name.
NOT FOR RADIO
Nas is in teacher mode minus the preacher’s clothes. He knows knowledge is power so he proceeds to spread information from his point of view. He reunites with his “Hate Me Now” propaganda plug, Puff Daddy, to create an exposé of the world’s elite, their systems, or powers and principalities in high places. Also, the song reveals that those in power are really afraid of those they control. Imagine, if the controlled entities knew they possessed power, the world would be a different place.
The Queensbridge emcee drops knowledge, and more knowledge, amidst braggadocious raps perfumed with dominant black energy. He enlists 070 Shake to vocalize the sentiments of I think they scared of us.
“To Catholics, Moors, and Masons. John Hanson was not the first black Pres. to make it. Abe Lincoln did not free the enslaved. Progress was made ’cause we forced the proclamation. SWAT was created to stop the Panthers. Glocks were created for murder enhancement. For hunting men, circumstances. Edgar Hoover was black. Willie Lynch was a myth, Colombians created crack. The government made stacks. Reagan had Alzheimer’s, that’s true. Fox News was started by a black dude, also true.”
Not For Radio isn’t for radio, but Shake’s vocals make it possible. Also, the godly production is A+, thanks to Kanye West, Mike Dean, Benny Blanco, and Cashmere Cat.
In the end, Puff reveals why the powers are scared.
“That’s why they be killing us and shooting us. That’s why they feel uncomfortable around us. ‘Cause of our greatness. You’re lucky God made us compassionate and forgiving. Pssh, man, they scared of us, Nas. We see that bitch in your eyes.”
COPS SHOT THE KID
Richard Pryor pours humor over a dark subject matter. He jokes about police officers harassing young black teenagers. The artist and Kanye West address police brutality in urban communities, but they are more serious than Pryor. Also, a sample of Slick Rick’s “Children Story” plays repeatedly over a beat produced by Andrew Dawson and West. The artist attacks first and points fingers at the injustice system of America.
“Together we’ll be strong, but forever we divide. So y’all are blowin’ my high. Type of sh*t that’s killin’ my vibe. White kids are brought in alive. Black kids get hit with like five. Get scared, you panic, you’re goin’ down. The disadvantages of the brown. How in the hell the parents gon’ bury their own kids not the other way around?”
West plays devil’s advocate and tells two sides of the story. Also, he exposes a reason cops use to get off when they murder young black males.
“It’s certain things I can’t abide by. I ain’t bein’ extreme, this is my side. Talkin’ big sh*t, ready to die. I know every story got two sides. Claimin’ he paranoid by the black guy. Cop wanna make it home by night time. Just a good kid, he wasn’t that guy. Had a little hit, he wasn’t that high. Cop gon’ claim that it was self-defense. Say he was ridin’ dirty so the case rests.”
Nas raps miscellaneous thoughts over a multifaceted beat produced by Boogz, Dean, and West.
“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.”
Surely one of our favorite tracks on “NASIR”. The song contains expensive thoughts perfumed with a nostalgic odor from the south of France.
Nas enlists The World Famous Tony Williams to address the good days, beautiful women, and the finer things in life. Also, he drops knowledge and warns listeners about making ill decisions that could come back and haunt them.
“All these beautiful places, but the cities be poor. You wealthy when your kid’s upbringing better than yours. All this money we gettin’ could be gone in a minute if we don’t invest it. We long-term affected. Watch who you gettin’ pregnant. That’s long-term stressin’.”
Kanye West, Eric Danchick, Dean, and Che Pope produced the song.
Nas recruits West and The Dream to paint a verbal portrait of uniqueness and beauty. West’s singing sets the tone. Also, The Dream’s vocals solidify the track’s epic appeal. Then, Nas spits larger-than-life lyrics, which are splattered by an ambitious pen game.
“Listen vultures, I’ve been shackled by Western culture. You convinced most of my people to live off emotion. That’s why we competin’. Death by the chrome barrel forgot the secrets. My Kilimanjaro bone marrow’s the deepest. You can peep at the comments, but don’t fall for that. We want freedom, I’m a scholar, an almanac.”
Kanye West, Dean, Blanco, Cashmere Cat, and Plain Pat produced the song.
ADAM AND EVE
The Dream stays in the game and continues to contribute meaningful vocals. Nas raps the truth as he sees it. Later, he admits that he has an enemy called fear. Also, he battles flesh and blood. And to those he admits, “It’s a trend for these men to die on their own sword.” The battle-tested emcee addresses what he had to do to keep his circle pure from infirmities.
“What come first, peace or the paper? Before I had a piece of paper, peace was in my favor. Before I sat to eat at the table, it had leeches and traitors. Cut the fat from the meat. Extract the weak, bon appetit. No bacon, brothers is swine. It’s so hard to trust ’em ’cause my hustle is mine. It’s evident they all the same, with gray hair and still mean muggin’. Gray hairs of wisdom, that means you seen somethin’. Say somethin’, you stay frontin’. But these clowns got false crowns, fictional kings.”
The song was produced by West, Dean, E*Vax, and Pat.
Nas ends the project by speaking about his longevity in the rap game. What he has accomplished will live on forever, way after he’s gone. It’s that simple. Also, he highlights his recipe for success over a laid back track produced by West and Dean.
“Never sold a record for the beat, it’s my verses they purchase. Without production I’m worthless, but I’m more than the surface. Want me to sound like every song on the Top 40? I’m not for you, you not for me, you bore me. I drop lines prestigious schools read to their students. Look at my album plaques, somebody agrees with the music.”
Nas – “NASIR” listening event
According to Wikipedia, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums. Also, he has sold more than 25 million records worldwide. He takes time to address haters that’s jealous that he gets beautiful women.
“Was lovin’ women, you’ll never see. All you know, my kids’ mothers, some celebrities. Damn, look at the jealousy! 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.”
Although Nas’s flow isn’t as razor-sharp as his “Illmatic” days, it’s still effective on “NASIR”. Also, his evergreen lyrics are still relevant, meaningful, and thought-provoking.
It’s hard to imagine that Nas has been relevant for over two decades and counting. Also, his newest material sits at the top of the hip-hop pyramid with other dominant projects of 2018. We strongly recommend adding “NASIR” to your personal playlist.