After being underwhelmed by Hova & Yeezy’s Watch the Throne album, I was grateful when my friend, Anjali, told me that Nas has some new stuff out (why didn’t I know about this?!). After listening to a few unofficial releases on youtube, I’m happy to hear that despite Nas’ previous assumptions, Hip Hop is NOT dead.
In Hip Hop terms, Nas is considered one of the fathers of Hip Hop, yet after being in the game for almost 20 years, he maintains his straightforward, street-intelligent flow, while mixing in old and new sounds. In “Nasty,” which was released on itunes yesterday, Nas comes strong with his delivery, matching his don’t-skip-a beat flow with hard drums playing in the backdrop.
In an unofficially released single, “Who Are You,” Nas slows it down and gets serious. He addresses Black intellectuals who have turned their backs on poor Black communities, and who have ridiculed these communities. Each verse sets up different scenarios where he names examples of Black-on-Black, classist prejudice. In the chorus he asks, “Who are you trying to tell me who I am/ Tryin’ to box me in /Tryin’ to find who I am.” After one chorus, he responds to those who try to compartmentalize him and his community, and proclaims, “I’m Idi Amin/ I’m Marcus Garvey/ 8 Track Brown/ I’m Muhammad Ali/ I’m Reginald Lewis/ George Washington Carver/ I’m Nas with incredible music.”
If these two songs are any indication of what’s to come up in his next album, then I think Jay-Z and Kanye West may need to step to the side of their throne.
Nas’ 10th album is reported for release before the end of the year.