The legendary rap artist Nas, released an album on June 15, 2018, after a 6-year hiatus. As expected he did not fall short. The album was produced by Kanye West, and believe me, justice was done. The album features Puff Daddy, Kanye West, The Dream, 070 Shake, and The World Famous Tony Williams.
The 7-track album covers America race on inequalities, addressing slavery, police brutality, the forgotten ghettos, and political discrimination. Although I won’t dim the album perfect, Nas’ delivery was awesome and the overall production an 80%. Yet, the Queens rapper could have done better.
The first track ‘Not for Radio’, makes reference to religion, politics and slavery, while highlighting the financial and racial difficulties he faced upon making his way into the industry. The chorus “I think they scared of us…”, is an embodiment of the message in the whole track. On racial discrimination, he suggests that all of the oppression exerted upon the African Americans by the system of government and police is as a result of fear and a feeling of threat, “…that’s why they feel uncomfortable around us/ cause of our greatness”.
‘Cops shot the kid’ like the title implies addresses the recent and rather recurring issue of cops shooting black unarmed males in the United States. “The cops shot the kid, same old scene/ pour out a little liquor, champagne for pain”. Kanye West in this track slams the media and their “fake news”, “This fake news people is all lyin/ won’t be satisfied till we all die”. He as well addresses police brutality on the young black child, “just a good kid, he wasn’t that high/ cop gon claim that it was self defense/ say he was riding dirty so the case rest”. Without stress, both artists successfully emphasized the seemingly endless violence against Black Americans.
Nas speaks on lust and his sexual attraction to women in ‘Bonjour’. The track is a direct contrast to the tone of the whole album from criticism, lamentation and displeasure to romanticism. He does so by adopting French in the chorus, “Oui-oui amour, plenty of kisses, plenty of bisous/ good day and best wishes/ comment allez vous? Bonjour? The french are known for their romantic and ever relaxed mood, and so is their language to this. Nas made use of this effect in the track.
Everything emphasizes on changing the world with Kanye’s chorus “If i had everything, everything/ I could change anything, I could change anything/ If I changed anything, I mean anything, I would change everything. Nas in ‘Adam and Eve gives an exposition on his regular routine. Featuring The Dream on the track, he talked about how we do not aspire for a better living than our predecessore, “Adam and Eve, don’t fall too far from the apple tree…”.
The last track from Nasir , ‘Simple things’, touches down on others’ jealousy of him. He talked about his wants, “i just want my kids to have the same peace I’m blessed with. The whole theme which i agree with is that the simple things in life should truly be appreciated.
The album addressed issues that bug a typical black man, but it could have bee better. This is a comeback from one of rap’s most sort after artist, and trust me, more was expected. The production is unique and classic, but the message has only a feather’s touch. One would expect more depth from this legend, but then again, it isn’t so bad after all.