Nas’ album Life is Good just dropped last Tuesday, July 17th and let me just start off by stating there is no way in the world I could convey to you how great this album is, you just have to go experience it for yourself. Nas tells of his past and everything he’s experienced to get to where is now, then goes on to explain why Nasir Jones, life is good. The album gives us both songs to reminiscent about the 90s to and to ride out to enjoying life right now despite what we’re going through.
The album begins with Nas revealing a timeline of his struggles on No Introduction and the last verse describes the album the best.
“Reveal my life, you will forgive me
You will love me, hate me, judge me, relate to me
Only a few will, this how it sounds when you too real
They think it’s just music still
Well I am a graphic classic song composer
Music notes on sheets
I wrote this piece to get closure
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…”
Now Nas himself is no stranger to hardships, the difference between this albums and his past ones is the content he finds regardless of the troubles, “I know you think my life is good cause my diamond piece/ But my life been good since I started finding peace” (Loco-Motive). Back When, A Queen’s Story, and You Wouldn’t Understand with songstress Victoria Monet also continue the theme of Nas’ humble beginnings with his ability to paint pictures with his words and references to previous classic bars. The single Nasty is also classic Nas having fun spitting rapid bars educating new fans to the Nas we old heads all know and love.
Daughters has to be one of the most touching constructions to ever hit my ears. “She looked at me like I’m not the cleanest father figure/ But she rocking with it… They say the coolest playas and foulest heart breakers in the world/ God gets us back, he makes us have precious little girls.” He also addresses the incident where his daughter tweeted a box of condoms enhanced by the background vocals from Kaye Fox. Nas’ ability to expose this aspect of his lives solidifies his realness and makes me love him even more.
Accident Murderer featuring Rick Ross reminds you of Nas’ gangsta just in case you started to doubt him. Reach Out with fellow veteran in the game Mary J. Blige and Summer on Smash with Miguel and Swizz Beatz is sure to be heard blasting through speakers on those windows-down-hot-summer-nights with a beat selection only veteran producers like No ID, Swizz Beatz and Justice League could create. His features are a great balance of enhancing the album but giving the right amount of Nas a fan like me needs. Nas’ versatile flow goes easy yet oh so hard when the time calls for it like on the neck breaking The Don co-produced by Heavy D who passed before the completion of the second single off the album; “Heavy D gave this beat to Salaam for me to rap to.”
The soft side of Nas is exposed as he takes you through deep emotions with the smooth, jazz inspired, track Stay and Cherry Wine featuring Amy Winehouse (a nice dedication since Monday was the anniversary of her death), while Bye Baby is my new break-up anthem based on his & Kelis’ separation with a sample from Guy’s Goodbye Love “Wanted you as my shorty since before I saw you screaming/ Hate you so much right now/ Should’ve saw the man in angry black women/ Actions of a demon, I’m leaving.” His rhymes have you looking at his life through his eyes and there is no way you can not feel where he is coming from. The deep thinking and thought provoking Nas will have you listening to songs over and over and realizing different meanings each time. That is what I live for in an album. Thank you to Nas for showing the younger generation of hip-hop fans what the rap game is truly about – living to learn and inspire through music.