Nas

Nas

4.2 4
by Nas
     
 

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Never averse to getting the pants of others in a twist, Nas said in 2006 that what developed into this self-titled album was, at the time, titled the six-letter version of the "N" word. The following year, the NAACP buried the five-letter version (along with each variant, as the obituary states) at a Detroit ceremony, replete with a horse-drawn

Overview

Never averse to getting the pants of others in a twist, Nas said in 2006 that what developed into this self-titled album was, at the time, titled the six-letter version of the "N" word. The following year, the NAACP buried the five-letter version (along with each variant, as the obituary states) at a Detroit ceremony, replete with a horse-drawn carriage, a casket, and the presence of "hip-hop legend Curtis Blow" [sic], according to the NAACP press release. Whether it is believed that the word was truly placed six feet deep or merely swept beneath the proverbial rug, the word, regardless of its last syllable or the context in which it is placed, still carries a lot of power. Millions of Def Jam marketing dollars could not have ensured as bright a spotlight on their artist. All he had to do was mention the one word as an album title. And from that moment until the album's release, through each leaked track, mixtape, and article tracking the status of the album, more attention was paid to the MC's moves than in the recent past. An album with a proposed title of, say, East Coasta Nastra, would not have been anticipated with nearly as much scrutiny or speculation. Nas uses the "N" word as a mere jumping-off point for his self-titled album, its initial title and final content even more closely related than the title and content of Hip Hop Is Dead. It's his most purposeful album; nearly every verse goes beyond talking trash and recalling exploits to address the change of title, the "N" word, race relations, stereotypes, the long arms and legs of Fox, love for his people and country, and the United States from slave ships through the possibility of a black president. It carries a stern lyrical focus all the way through, including the radio-aimed/Polow-produced anthem "Hero" ("If Nas can't say it, think about these talented kids with new ideas being told what they can and can't spit"), the gleaming "Make the World Go Round" (where a proud Nas, clearly reaching out to a younger crowd, refers to the featured Chris Brown as "the young Mike Jackson"), and the appropriately greasy "Fried Chicken" (a cunning track in which Nas and Busta Rhymes seem to embrace and parody dietary and sexual stereotypes at once). There is as much content here to absorb, to think about, discuss, and debate, as there is within Ice Cube's Death Certificate or anything by Public Enemy or BDP. While it is not a feast from a production standpoint -- the album is not bound to silence those who contend that Nas is not the best selector of beats -- it doesn't have the hastily slapped-together flow of Street's Disciple or Hip Hop Is Dead. A couple tracks might sonically resemble inferior versions of years-old tracks that helped make Nas a hip-hop deity and, nearly ten years after Nas was first accused of selling out, he might still sound a little awkward over radio-friendly productions. But the MC has never made an album as engrossing or as necessary as this one.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Jon Caramanica
Finally, Nas has a cause to match his temperament: his own suffering. And he hasn’t sounded as vibrant as he does on this, his ninth album, in years. On “Sly Fox,” he takes aim at a frequent antagonist, Fox News, and “You Can’t Stop Us Now” is a swaggering, proud stroll.
Rolling Stone - Jody Rosen
This is a sprawling, furious, deeply ambivalent theme album about institutional racism, the failures of black leadership and the pathologies and promise of early-21st-century African-American life.
Entertainment Weekly - Andy Greenwald
Neither preachy nor overly polemical, Nas uses his lyrical gifts to keep us guessing: One moment he's addressing rap fans who ''live way out in safe suburbia,'' the next he and guest Busta Rhymes gleefully play with stereotypes on the funky ''Fried Chicken.'' [B+]

Product Details

Release Date:
07/15/2008
Label:
Def Jam
UPC:
0602517752764
catalogNumber:
001150502
Rank:
54050

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nas   Primary Artist
Vincent Henry   Horn
Bruce Purse   Horn,Background Vocals
Eddie Montilla   Strings
Victor Axelrod   Piano
Neal Sugarman   Tenor Saxophone
J. Myers   Guitar,Background Vocals
Jason Perry   Keyboards
Thomas "T" Hatcher   Bass
0-1   Bass
Nick Movshon   Bass
Kevin Mayer   Guitar
Stic.man   Vocals
Binky Griptite   Guitar
Homer Steinweiss   Drums
Ian Hendrickson   Baritone Saxophone
Brian Kennedy   Keyboards
Thomas Brenneck   Guitar
Mikuak Rai   Keyboards
Johnny Polygon   Vocals
Idalia String Ensemble   Strings

Technical Credits

Eric Hudson   Producer,Instrumentation
L.A. Reid   Executive Producer,Audio Production
Mike "Hitman" Wilson   Engineer
Mark Batson   Producer
Kevin Crouse   Engineer
Eric Altenburger   Cover Illustration
Deborah Mannis-Gardner   Sample Clearance
J. Myers   Producer,Instrumentation
DJ Green Lantern   Producer
Frank Socorro   Engineer
Tor Erik Hermanson   Instrumentation
Mark Ronson   Producer
Gabriel Roth   Engineer
Brian Sumner   Engineer
Nasir "Nas" Jones   Executive Producer,Audio Production
Stic.man   Arranger,Producer
Kevin Lacey   Concept
Carol Corless   Package Production
Derrick Selby   Engineer
Mikkel Storleer Eriksen   Composer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Gina Victoria   Engineer
TaVon Sampson   Art Direction,Cover Illustration
Jay Electronica   Producer
Rich Leissler   Engineer
Meeno Peluce   Cover Photo
Saleh   Audio Production
Polow da Don   Producer
Nasir Jones   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Nas 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's hard to image that hip-hop fans still think that Jay-Z is the king. J has and never will come close to the lyrical genius that Nas has. Nas has never been afraid to say whats on his mind even if it will piss some people off. This new cd is just a continuation of how great of a mc Nas is. The messages in &quot Nas&quot will have you really examining this world...but most importantly yourself. True hip-hop is back...THANKS NAS!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Didnt really find the right song on this album. Unlike Hip Hop Is Dead which had about 7 or 8 tracks that were hot once you heard them, there is probably on 2 or 3 on this CD. I think that I will have to hear the songs five or six times before getting into it. But id rather here this album at its worst then listen to any of the horrible music that has been coming out &quot Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T-Pain, just to name a few&quot
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a classic album at just the right time.. brings u back to P.E. and early Ice Cube. The lyrics are of course what u wld expect, but what surpirsed me was how close the album stayed to the subject matter.. its not a concept album in the sense of the words, but he defintly expounds on the things that are actually affecting this country.. racism, poverty, munipulation by the media, etc.. i dare you buy and Stand with him!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is not for everyone. If you are affraid to hear the truth on what is really going on in this country then I will advise you not to purchase this album. This has to be one of the best albums of this year.