Archives for posts with tag: Nas

A new segment, in which I examine the good songs on bad albums, the bad songs on good albums, throwaway lines on bangers, memorable lines on terrible song choices, and reevaluations of once loved or reviled albums.

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  1. Is there a term to describe the desire to write a “Destroy and Rebuild” (by Nas) of one’s own? People say stupid things that misrepresent and generalize, and it infuriates me to the point that I want to write such a song… but then I remember I’d have no audience.
  2. I miss Eyedea, and I saw a meme wondering why people care so much about the possible Eminem/Drake beef when Eyedea would’ve roasted them both. I agree.
  3. I really think Killer Mike is now in my Top 5.

Bet my nine spit for the pesos
But what’s it all worth, can’t take it with you under this Earth
Rich men died and tried, but none of it worked
They just rob your grave, I’d rather be alive and paid
Before my number’s called, history’s made
Some’ll fall, but I rise, thug or die
Making choices, that determine my future under the sky
To rob steal or kill, I’m wondering why
It’s a dirty game, is any man worthy of fame?
Much success to you, even if you wish me the opposite
Sooner or later we’ll all see who the prophet is

I always liked Nas. “If I Ruled the World” was one of my favorite jams, and a guest appearance by Nas was usually worth buying some random artist’s albums and usually a show stealer. But that bit of that verse cemented him in my upper echelon of emcees, in the Rap Mount Olympus. In just a handful of bars he goes from wondering about the amount of time we obsess over money, draws a connection thematically to his album cover and theme, questions his own aesthetic and worldview…And that’s just this one bit of this one verse.

We can argue on  and on about which albums of his are classics, and which ones are duds; we can talk about whether a particular set of tracks should have made the final cut or not; but what we can’t debate is his legendary status. Jay Z handed him an L, and he came out with Stillmatic, at once rejuvenated, out for blood, and focused. Then came another solid album: God’s Son. After a few lukewarm releases (each with shades and swoops of genius), he dropped one of the best records of his career – Life is Good. It’s funny, now that I think about it. The album cover for Life is Good was echoed when my ex left: after picking up her stuff from our old place, all that was left was her after-wedding party dress. That’s basically the story of the cover of that album. And just like Nas, my life turned for the better. And funnily enough, Nas’s album title God’s Son makes me smile, because that waste of breath that (very emptily) threatened me on multiple occasions (can’t keep my name off your fat lips [-A Nas line]), has that tattooed over his eyes. Haha.

I bring it up not to harp on bad times, but to emphasize how much Nas is intertwined with who I am. I haven’t so actively tried to dislike someone (I was really on the Jay won it side of the argument) or felt so heartbroken at a lackluster release. There was something in his ability to get back up after a perceived fall that I always identified with. His love of and skill with poetry helped me realize the potential of Hip Hop. His ability to pay dues without fawning also made me realize that you can both love and respect something and be critical of it. He can also get political, really quickly, and really well.

Nas deserves more blogging, and he’ll get it. But for the sake of my theme, I’ll end this soon. But I can’t end it without expressing one more time how much this icon has influenced me.

For my song choice, it’s gotta be my favorite one: