The Rowdee Review: Nas, “Life Is Good

Two albums after delivering a eulogy for hip-hop, Nas resurfaces as a solo artist with his latest album, ‘Life Is Good’, a tight, taut, flow intensive set reflective of an older, wiser MC carving out a niche for himself among the numerous one trick ponies that currently populate hip hop. Over 19 nicely arranged and produced tracks, Nas uses this effort to document his life since we’ve seen and heard him last (his collabo with Damien Marley withstanding), & given the subject matter and intensity of these songs, Nas’ journey has been an eventful one, to say the least. Whether dealing with the trauma of divorce and relationship strife (‘Bye Bye Baby’, ‘Roses’, ‘Stay’), the perils of raising teenagers (‘Daughters’), what’s going on in the world around him (‘World’s An Addiction, ‘Accident Murderers’, ‘Where’s the Love) or even old fashioned nostalgia (‘Back When’, ‘A Queens Story’, ‘Reach Out’ featuring a “411”-era sounding Mary J. Blige), Nas tackles his subject matter with the tools that got him here, namely that trademark verbose flow that manages to be all knowing and truth seeking at the same time. He actually sounds a bit hungry here, and as such, his intensity and lyrical athleticism harken back to the era of his ‘Nasty’ persona, perhaps best reflected in the album’s first single, appropriately titled ‘Nasty’. This is a grown man, making songs about grown folk things, & doing it in a way that should make contemporary MCs reexamine exactly what it is they’re doing as artists (completely wishful thinking on my part). Nas is back & just maybe the trend of skillful artists putting out classics is back, too.

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~ by darrylthewriter on July 31, 2012.

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