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I Am... The Autobiography
     

I Am... The Autobiography

by Nas
 

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On his third release, I AM, Nas bolsters his reputation as one of hip-hop's leading wordsmiths. The 25-year-old has acted in a movie (Hype Williams's "Belly"), but his highly cinematic tales of the street suggest that his real ambition is to write them. Like a prison-yard bard, Nas tells crime stories full of blood and guts, but he balances them with a strong message

Overview

On his third release, I AM, Nas bolsters his reputation as one of hip-hop's leading wordsmiths. The 25-year-old has acted in a movie (Hype Williams's "Belly"), but his highly cinematic tales of the street suggest that his real ambition is to write them. Like a prison-yard bard, Nas tells crime stories full of blood and guts, but he balances them with a strong message opposing the plague of violence, as on "Small World" and "Favor for a Favor," which stress desperation as the cause of crime rather than glorify the criminal mindset. Except for "Dr. Knockboot," which casts Nas as a hip-hop columnist for the lovelorn, this rhythmic rapper is unremittingly sober, with a righteousness that would seem sanctimonious if not underpinned by the superb production of the Trackmasters and DJ Premier. Puff, Aaliyah, Scarface, and DMX appear on the recording, but none upstage the leader and, in addition to several songs destined for heavy rotation, I AM possesses a consistency and dynamic savvy that makes it an easy and enjoyable listen.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - M.F. DiBella
I Am... is the third album and fourth stage in the evolution of Queensbridge's living legend Nasir Jones, from Nasty Nas to Nas to Nas Escobar to Nastradamus, the soothsaying mega-thug poet. This third installment is an introspective work from one of hip-hop's made men. Always billed as a hip-hop messiah, Nas rose through the ranks of hip-hop on the strength of powerful poetry. Contrary to the album's title, the scope of the work extends beyond the autobiography as Nas takes on politics, the state of hip-hop, Y2K, race, and religion with his own unique perspective. While Illmatic was Nas at his rawest and It Was Written was Nas' attempt to reconcile his underground leanings with his newfound fame, acclaim, and wealth, the Nas of I Am... is honest about his elevated status yet still feels the tension of no longer being ravenous on the mic. Musically, I Am is somewhat unimaginative by Nas' stratospheric standards. Tried and true producers, the Trackmasters stamp the album with their signature catchy grooves and samples, but some of these tracks lack the sonic depth to do justice to the prophecies of the pharaoh, Nas. Superproducer Premier comes to save the day on two outstanding tracks: "NY State of Mind, Pt. II" and "Nas Is Like." These two cuts are nothing short of Illmatic perfection. "Nas Is Like"'s symphonic composition is the perfect complement for an MC of Nas' supreme vocal quality and precise lyrics. Despite some of the blandness on the production end, Nas still shines as the old soul storyteller and crime rhyme chronicler on cuts like "We Will Survive," a dirge for fallen rappers. Nas also experiments stylistically on "Big Things," sporting a Midwest cadence, and on "You Won't See Me Tonight," a Timbaland-produced duet with R&B songstress Aaliyah.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/06/1999
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886978785923
catalogNumber:
787859
Rank:
11409

Tracks

  1. Album Intro
  2. N.Y. State of Mind Pt. ll
  3. Hate Me Now
  4. Small World
  5. Favor For A Favor
  6. We Will Survive
  7. Ghetto Prisoners
  8. You Won't See Me Tonight
  9. I Want To Talk To You
  10. Dr. Knockboot
  11. Life Is What You Make It
  12. Big Things
  13. Nas Is Like
  14. K-I-SS-I-N-G
  15. Money Is My Bitch
  16. Undying Love

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nas   Primary Artist

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