IN STORES NOW!
In 2001, with his platinum-selling Stillmatic, Nas created a
classic chronicle of the streets and reclaimed his title as
King of New York Rap --the city's best MC and most
authentic hip-hop hero. But Nas has always told those
who listened close that the name of the game for him was never
money, cash, or hoes. For Nas knowledge is king: knowledge
of the world, of the rap game, and most important:
knowledge of self.
So it's only fitting that this year's new testament, God's Son, should
showcase a deeper and more mature lyrical journey.
The past year of Nas' life has seen both enormous success and
personal tragedy. Following the release of Stillmatic came his heavily
praised compilation: The Lost Tapes. But during the year, Nas also
lost his beloved mother to cancer and this tragedy affected him
more than any musical success or failure possibly could.
God's Son might be the first hardcore hip-hop album that also pays
loving tribute to the artist's mother.
On the album's final two tracks, "Dance" and "Heaven,"
Nas depicts, with heart breaking honesty, the emotions his
mother's death evoked: sadness and despair and fear,
but also love and hope and bitter sweet memories.
But before Nas gets to the more serious business at hand there are
some scores to settle first. God's Son's lead single, "Made You Look,"
is a slice of hardcore street hip-hop that's been blasting from every car
on every corner in every hood since the moment it dropped. "You a slave
to a page in my rhyme book" is Nas' take on all the backstabbing
pretenders who've come after him in the past few years. On "The Cross" --
produced by Eminem -- Nas mentions no names but takes
deadly aim at phony thugs and R&B pseudo-rappers.
"The Cross" is Nas' proclamation of the unmatched wisdom
and experience he's gained in his struggle
to the top. "There's a new king of the streets/I was the old king of
the streets that y'all once hated/and now I re-invented myself
and y'all waited."
"Last Real Nigga Alive" provides a detailed history of Nas' entire career
as well as his relationship with the late Notorious B.I.G. and his
over-hyped feud with Jay-Z. Here Nas describes himself as the rapper's
rapper: the one that real heads will always be sure to choose in a
Nas has always been considered a gifted MC since his voice first graced
wax in 1991 on Main Source's "Live at the BBQ." This cameo led to Nas'
classic debut lllmatic, in which Nas painted unforgettable portraits of
his hustlin' days in the notorious Queensbridge Projects while
vividly detailing the struggles of everyday ghetto living. The Village
Voice hailed Nas as "easily one of the most important writers of the
century." On his multi-platinum-selling albums It Was Written (1996) and
I Am... (1999) and the platinum Nastradamus (1999), Nas went on to
pioneer the Mafioso trendin rap, writing songs as dense and
action-packed as a gangster movie, while working with some of the biggest
stars in the hip-hop galaxy. 2001's Stillmatic -- featuring the hit
single "One Mic" -- reminded everyone who may've forgotten that Nas was
still a lyrical force to be reckoned with.Nas' resume boasts a dozen
years of hip-hop experience which encompasses six solo albums and various
group projects -- a span of success unmatched by any hardcore MC. It's
the wealth of this experience that Nas draws up onto create his seventh
full-length album, the groundbreaking God's Son.
"Thugz Mansion" begins with the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar
and finds Nas rhyming about helping a young black man in danger, because
"everythug's face is my mirror." The second verse is performed by the
late Tupac Shakur -- permission to use this powerful recording was given to Nas by the Shakur estate -- and the combination of these two brilliant street poets rapping together is both eerie and unforgettable.
God's Son's mixing of the sacred with the profane is most evident on the
album's last few cuts."Warrior Song" -- produced by and featuring Alicia
Keys -- presents an unorthodox definition of a warrior: a man who's not
only strong in battle but fully present for his mother and daughter when
times are rough. "Dance"is Nas' plaintive desire for just one more dance
with his beloved mother and showcases the emotional depth and lyrical
complexity that have always been his trademarks. The track's haunting
coda comes from Olu Dara, internationally famous jazz trumpeter and Nas'
On God's Son, Nas has reached a level of lyrical skill and
personal maturity that may be unprecedented in hip-hop. Nas provides a
whole new dimension to the often hackneyed phrase "keep it real."
"Real" to Nas means a fully-realized life with all its pains and struggles. Like jazz greats Charlie Parker or John Coltrane at their peaks, Nas' musical
skills grow larger and more complex with each offering. With God's Son,
Nas proves once again that all he needs is one mic to change the world.
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