July 2, 2013

My Gut Reaction: Nas - Untitled (July 11, 2008)

Since we're fairly close to the five-year anniversary of this particular project, I figured it was about time to give Nasir Jones's controversial Untitled a spin.  Okay, so it's not because of the release date: that's just a huge fucking coincidence.  But with only two real projects left in Nasir's catalog to write about (as of this writing), now's as good a time as any to start finishing shit up.



So what more can I add to the Untitled saga that wasn't already mentioned in the Reader Review I ran apparently four years ago?  (Shit, seriously?)  The story of this project is one that is well-known to hip hop heads who frequent blogs and such, so I'll only hit the major point here: Nasir Jones originally wanted to call this project Nigger.  Not the "-a" version that rappers gravitate toward, but the real, ugly version of the word, a loaded choice made with the conscious need to force the listener to confront the term, ugly truth and all, within the context of what is generally known as a "rap album".  

Now, obviously, this was never going to fly, as Nas is a mainstream artist signed to Def Jam Records, so it was eventually released as the otherwise-inoffensive Untitled, although the marks on the man's back on the album cover most certainly convey the imagery that he was attempting to conjure up.  So essentially, Nas pretended that he wanted to make everyone feel uncomfortable as fuck while listening to his work, when in reality he knew that giving his album a title that most publications would never print guaranteed him instant controversy, free publicity and high first-week record sales.

Title aside, though, what really matters is whether or not Nasir Jones had what it took to live up to the hype, relatively speaking.  With this post, I plan to prove that he ultimately did not.  (Fuck, I gave the ending away again!)

1.  QUEENS GET THE MONEY
Puzzling.  I quite liked Jay Electronica's piano-based instrumental, as it sounded a bit more experimental than what rappers would normally purchase for use.  But therein lies the problem: Nasir sounds entirely off-beat on "Queens Get The Money", his bars failing to connect with the audience because he constantly sounds like the beat is outpacing him at each checkpoint.  I found the reference to his now-ex Kelis to be both sweet and sad, and the rest of the short track follows suit: it isn't awful, but it never actually works, and Nas, unfortunately, has to actually try in order to be as effective as he believes himself to be.  Not the best start.

2.  YOU CAN'T STOP US NOW (FEAT. EBAN THOMAS (OF THE STYLISTICS) & THE LAST POETS)
The lone Salaam Remi production on Untitled isn't a boom-bap flashback or a hard-hitting street composition, but rather a competently-handled riff on The Whatnauts' "Message From A Blackman", a song which had already been sampled by The RZA (on Bobby Digital's "You Can't Stop Us Now", released in the same year) and MF Doom (for his alter ego King Geedorah's "Anti-Matter" in 2003), among many others, which isn't a bad thing, but also doesn't make this song very fucking memorable.  Nasir's lyrics immediately get lost in the shuffle no matter how hard he tries to force them doen the listener's gullet, as the familiarity of the sample on the instrumental trumps everything else in the goddamn universe, or at least on the track.  Sigh.

3.  BREATHE
Readers hoping that Nas finally got around to covering the Fabolous standard will have to keep holding their breath (no pun intended, but I'll take it anyway), as his "Breathe" is, instead, a two-verse trifle that plays a deep thought at parties, or at least it would like to.  Nasir's lyrics are so fucking generic that every single bar could have been plucked from another song in his vast catalog, and the beat prevents the full-on penetration into your subconscious because it sounds so fucking awful.  Did I just compare the instrumental to the preventative qualities of a condom?  You're goddamn right I did.  Let's move on quickly, folks, before it notices.

4.  MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND (FEAT. THE GAME & CHRIS BROWN)
Complete and utter bullshit.  Untitled was allegedly supposed to be an exploration of the n-word and its historical significance, which carries over, albeit in a modified fashion, to the present day, but "Make The World Go Round" is just another materialistic rap song with no redeeming value.  Cool and Dre's beat is so radio-friendly that Nas invite the radio over for dinner and drinks, and the abhorrent Chris Brown, whose continued popularity astounds me and whose bitch ass needs to just disappear already, lends a chorus that literally could have been performed by anybody with access to Auto-Tune.  I fucking hate that asshole.  Call me a hater if you want: hell, I just did all the work for you.  Fuck that guy.  Also, The Game, who also apparently co-produced this garbage, performs the second verse, but I had to listen to this crap twice to catch him, as he sounds exactly like Nas on here.  Uncanny, really.  This shit was awful.

5.  HERO (FEAT. KERI HILSON)
Polow da Don's beat on this, Untitled's first single, is radio friendly as well, but catchier, so I can't fault it for sounding appealing. Keri Hilson is underrated and deserves better than singing cheesy hooks on Nas songs, though, especially Nas songs that prove him to be a far-more-than-simply-proficient rapper who still hasn't quite figured out how to say something that an audience will actually respond to. He stull takes this rap shit far too seriously: I know I make a point of saying on virtually every Nas write-up that he needs to find the enjoyment in what he's doing, since he could be working a real fucking job, but it's still a valid point, as Nas seems to treat the microphone as a burden. Oh, the song? Not entirely terrible, I guess. But Nasir needs to fucking appreciate the gift he's been given as soon as possible, because he can be replaced by many many many other hungry artists who would kill for a chance to be where he's at in our chosen genre. True fact.

6. AMERICA
Nas recasts himself as the scourge of Republicans everywhere by dedicating an entire track to the fallacy that is the United States of America. Which wouldn't have been a bad idea for a song all by itself, but our host took it upon himself to include a “hook” performed by a “singer” named Flo Simpson who “sings” the titular word and nearly nothing else. Which wouldn't have been a bad idea for a song all by itself, but Nasir can't be bothered to stick to his guns, so “America” soon twists itself into yet another bullshit track in his catalog that falsely makes Nas appear to be one of the game's most philosophical artists, when he reality he's just suffering from attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Groan.

7. SLY FOX
In keeping with that “scourge of Republicans everywhere” theme, Nas takes aim at Fox News, which is such a bullshit channel that is in no way “fair” nor “balanced” that this comes across almost like Eminem attacking Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears at the beginning of his career for being the type of successful pop star that he himself would soon become. (For the record, I also feel that CNN is fucking terrible and MSNBC is pretty much a Democratic version of Fox News now, just in case my personal political beliefs, as derived from the first sentence in this paragraph, have entirely alienated you from reading the rest of my work.) dead prez's stic.man gives our host a surprisingly rocking instrumental, and to his credit, Nasir stays on topic, taking Fox News to task on a myriad of topics that they tend to speculate upon, as opposed to, say, actually conducting some goddamn fucking research. Nas even touches on the not-so-subtle racism that is evident on the channel, for which I applaud him. Dude was pretty fucking upset when he wrote this one.

8. TESTIFY
A brief skit at the end of “Sly Fox” sets up “Testify”, which features a rambling Nas trying his best to be controversial (especially during the first of the two verses presented), but not even committing to the bit: the man sounds far too cynical and out-of-touch to be taken seriously. Then he starts bitching about hip hop heads who don't roll with his music, as though all of our host's work post-Illmatic is supposed to be part of required reading this semester. I mean, he's important to the cause and all, but if he flat-out refuses to even try to create good music, that well of goodwill extended to him because of his classic debut will dry up, if it hasn't already. Mark Batson's beat also sounds like a alternate-universe take on Mariah Carey's “We Belong Together”, which was a weird comparison to make, but it is what it is.

9. N.I.G.G.E.R. (THE SLAVE AND THE MASTER)
That's quite the loaded title, Nasir. Guaranteed to make most people feel uncomfortable, too. And yet, this song isn't quite as incendiary as one would think: Nas's verses are long on description and surprisingly short on any actual anger. Our host uses DJ Toomp's okay-but-not-great instrumental as a platform to comment on the obvious subject matter, given the title, but to also criticize the actions of his own race, which was unexpected. That's the kind of think Nas excels at, though, so this actually ended up being an alright song, albeit one with a title chosen merely for shock value's sake.

10. UNTITLED
The sound bite “Untitled” is built around is annoying and useless, especially when producer stic.man decides that it will also make do as a chorus (does a rap song that clocks in at less than three minutes even need a chorus? Discuss), but everything else about this track was fairly entertaining. Nasir is at his best when paired with high energy boom-bap approximations, and on this song he manages to sound more alert than he has on the entire fucking album thus far. His actual bars fail to really go anywhere, though, but at least he sounds okay.

11. FRIED CHICKEN (FEAT. BUSTA RHYMES)
Another loaded title, playing into stereotypes (even though, as Nick Kroll keeps saying during his act, everyone loves fried chicken, so what the shit, man?) in an effort to stir up some attention for an otherwise weird-ass song where Nas and guest star Busta Rhymes wax poetically about the seductive qualities of the titular food product. No, really, that's what this song is about. Kudos to Trevor for tying the song into the project's overall there at the end, and the Mark Ronson beat was actually pretty tasty, but Nasir's curious approach to the topic doesn't land as well as he thinks it does.

12. PROJECT ROACH (FEAT. THE LAST POETS)
The spoken-word portion of this piece, the second of Untitled as performed by The Last Poets, sets the mood, and Nasir runs with a quick one-verse wonder where he compares black people to cockroaches. I realize that he's merely trying to make a point, but this can be misconstrued as pretty goddamn offensive to a good portion of Nas's target audience. Since today is the first time I've ever given a shit about Untitled (save for that Reader Review I edited, which I can't remember anything about), I have no clue how “Project Roach” was received upon the project's release: as satire? As controversial for controversy's sake? Did people want to throw Nas down a flight of stairs? Let me know in the comments below.

13. Y'ALL MY NIGGAS
That store-brand song title masks the fact that this song serves as a commentary on the n-word, what it means these days to be black, and, as an aside, hip hop's role in popular culture. One of the few times on Untitled where Nas's attempt to force the listener into hearing some serious thoughts by enveloping them in the guise of a shitty rap song actually works: the J. Myers beat is decidedly not shitty, and our host connects with his audience for the first time on the project. Not bad, although the overly-wordy hook may lead you to believe otherwise.

14. WE'RE NOT ALONE (FEAT. MYKEL)
Nas switches gears on Untitled, eschewing social commentary for a song that is, partially, and I'm not joking, about aliens and shit. Has Nasir Jones completely lost it? Perhaps: how else can one explain his decision to turn stic.man's low-key instrumental into such a soft ballad, complete with a misplaced R&B hook (performed by guest star Mykel)? This one song epitomizes the problem I'm having with Untitled: Nas thought he had a good idea, but then, as he typically does, he loses the plot in favor of bullshit song structure and overall radio-friendliness, only to turn around and claim that this was his idea the whole time, as he basically does during the interlude at the very end. What the fuck am I even doing here, Esco? And can you imagine a Nas album where the man honestly didn't give a shit about record sales, radio airplay, and appeasing his corporate major label overlords? Now that I would like to hear.

15. BLACK PRESIDENT
Untitled ends with a love letter not to Barack Obama, but to the idea of Barack Obama: what he embodies and his hopes and dreams for the country. Nas is a realist: he naturally assumes that any President that isn't white has to cope with the concept that there are a lot of racist fucks out there who will oppose him at every turn. (I could launch into another anti-Republican tirade here, but it would be unfair and ridiculously stupid of me to label every single Republican with a blanket label such as “racist”, so I'll just let Nas's words speak for me.) Nasir rambles in his typical fashion, even managing to get one of his lines censored (bringing the count to two, as one of Game's bars was also deleted on “Makes The World Go Round”, but what do you expect, given that Nas himself censored his own fucking album title?). Green Lantern's beat is too peppy for a guy like Nas, who is so clearly upset that he can't even focus on a single topic. Overall, this track was meh.

THE LAST WORD:   This is going to be long, so stay with me here.  Here's the thing about Nas: he's lucky that he received the opportunity to come up in the current era of hip hop.  The man isn't without talent: he has an absolute unchallenged classic under his belt (Illmatic, obviously), which is more than most rappers can say about their own careers.  However, said classic was the man's first album; he's spent the rest of his career thus far chasing that dragon, with diminishing returns.  Had he come up in hip hop's golden age, he would be suffering through the same kind of career as the likes of Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap: hardly working today, save for occasional guest spots, living off of the goodwill generated by his earlier work while not managing to stir up enough interest in any of his newer material, none of which ever finds an audience anyway.  Nas would be performing at smaller club-type venues, guest-judging ridiculous rapper competitions on VH-1, and making brief but unnecessary cameos on Jedi Mind Tricks projects.  But no, Nas came up in the modern era, where he is blessed with the fact that hip hop heads will never let him go, even though he has failed to live up to his own lofty expectations time and time again.  And he keeps receiving several chances because, well, he's Nas.  Jay-Z didn't sign MC Shan to Def Jam: he signed Nas.  His very name carries a weight that hasn't been a true measurement since Illmatic, and yet that very project continues to open doors for him to this day.  Nas has received more chances in our chosen genre than most artists have baby's mothers.  And he hasn't done much with those chances: yes, he's managed to release some good music, but nothing has been absolutely inessential, save for maybe "Made You Look".  Untitled could have been an interesting attempt at starting a dialogue, and Nas has some good ideas on here, but ultimately it falters because Nas didn't have much in the way of substance to stand behind an instantly-newsworthy album title.  Discuss below.

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Catch up with Nasir Jones by clicking here.

44 comments:

  1. oh Nas...Nasir Jones. Great technical rapper, smart guy, has a boatload of great guest appearances...average artist at best. He can't pick beats, he can't stay on topic, he cares too much about being listenable to all hip hop fans when he should just stick to a certain group. It seems the only way he can make a good album is if he does NOTHING but write verses. He needs some executive producers who know what they're soing...which is why i think Distant Relatives is superior to this. Damian Marley didn't let Nas mess anything up. This is why everyone wanted that DJ Premier album so bad...or he could just work with EL-P. No seriously Nas, work with El-P, like now

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  2. AnonymousJuly 02, 2013

    I have to disagree about him not having anything other than illmatic to fall back on. Personally, as a huge nas fan (i bought almost all his albums with one paycheck 5 or 6 years ago) I love several of his albums: (in no order), illmatic, stillmatic, the lost tapes, god's son, hip hop is dead and most of life is good (some of it was just a little too boring to keep my attention. He needs to hire someone to pick his beats).

    His guest spots have always been pretty kick ass too.

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    1. I agree completely on the beat thing, although I feel that Life Is Good has the best beats of any Nas project since Illmatic. Two entirely different eras of music, though, so it's difficult to really compare them.

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  3. AnonymousJuly 02, 2013

    So that last post was to see what we would like you to review and you go and do another Nas album? Seriously I don't enev give this guys music a chance anymore. The name he built with illmatic is slowly but surely been deteriorating over the last 15 years. FUCK!

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    1. I already had this locked and loaded when I wrote that last post. However, one dude DID suggest that I try to finish the Nas catalog, so it's not like I'm ignoring the cause or anything.

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    2. colombus manJuly 03, 2013

      Kindly keep the hate to yourself as this site has enough of it already and try, just try, to be a tiny bit more considerate next time when you decide to bless us with your benevolent omni-righteous presence.

      Delete
  4. Damn. That is an accurate-ass Last Word. I would even go further and say that Illmatic is one of the most overrated albums in music history. Okay, maybe behind Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. I just do not care for any of the Large Professor tracks from that album. Despite all its problems, One Love is--to me--one of the best songs ever recorded.

    Anyway, criticizing Fox seems so trite. Not only is it waaaaay too easy, but in doing so, one ignores the government dick-sucking of every single mainstream media outlet in the country. If you're gonna attack Fox, attack them ALL.

    PS - FUCK CHRIS BROWN11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!1!!!!!!!!!11!!

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    1. colombus manJuly 03, 2013

      Indeed fuck Chris Brown

      since we're not going back to discussing this album anytime soon.

      Pray tell

      can you name some of your favorite hip-hop produucers? Since Large Professor is such a meh by your standards? I call bullshit by the way.

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    2. Rza (and all the Wu-Element dudes), DJ Premier, J Dilla, Q-Tip, and Dan the Automator.

      I don't think Large Professor is "meh," I just find him a bit overrated. His beats on Illmatic in particular sound extremely dated. I'm actually excited for Mega Philosophy, the joint album he's making with Cormega.

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  5. AnonymousJuly 02, 2013

    Number 14 when you say ' And can you imagine a Nas album where the man honestly didn't give a shit about record sales, radio airplay, and appeasing his corporate major label overlords? Now that I would like to hear.' You are talking about Illmatic

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    1. Should have clarified by adding a single word: "today".

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  6. AnonymousJuly 02, 2013

    I actually enjoyed a lot of the production on here, and nas's raps are proficient as always, but there isn't anything awesome on here. I actually think the first track is excellent though.

    I get almost all of nas's music since I think technically he is still one of the best rappers out there. This album is ok, but in the lower tier of his records.

    I disagree almost entirely on your conclusion, but I am a nas fan and you just don't like him. I think it was written and lost tapes are classics, and stillmatic, gods son, and life is good are all pretty good albums that should be bought. But hey.

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  7. AnonymousJuly 02, 2013

    Agree that Nas can't select beats to save his life (it's half the reason why Illmatic was ILLMATIC because he had Large Prof. and Pete Rock behind the boards). But you can't fault the guy for having lasting power. You don't think 2Pac or Biggie would be looked at in a different light today if they hadn't had their lives cut short? Imagine if Nas had died shortly after recording It Was Written..people would look at him in the Rap Pantheon. And I'll take Nasir any day in a freestyle against anyone (except possibly Vast Aire).

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    1. djbosscrewwreckaJuly 03, 2013

      Nas IS looked at as one of the greatest, or the greatest. That's part of his staying power, and that's why people get more pissed off at his weak releases than when other artists put out weak releases.

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  8. OK dude, you might hate me for this one.

    I agree that Nas is inconsistent as fuck. But when he puts out a good song(I said SONG people), DAMN does he ever.

    It Was Written is still seriously underrated, even with its SLIGHT inferiority to Illmatic.

    I CHALLENGE ANYONE TO FIND A PERFECT HIP HOP ALBUM!!!!

    One more thing, Why? Why oh why oh why?

    Why did you have to mention Jay-Z in THIS Nas review?

    I don't see him in any of the songs and I don't give a fuck if he was Def Jam's president at the time.

    He contributes NOTHING to this album.

    The mere mentioning of his name in a Nas article that has NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM (I'm trying to make a point) will spark the endless stream of comparisons that are sure to follow this post sooner or later.

    To make sure of that, I'll start.

    Jay-Z shares Nas's penchant for writing classic SONGS, but irritatingly inconsistent albums. And Jay-Z only has ONE good album in his catalog. Nas has two. My IWW endorsement is up there, not here. Nothing else under their belts comes even remotely close.

    Go ahead.

    Mention The Blueprint.

    I dare you.

    You could have avoided this by not mentioning (are you fucking shitting me?)Hovito, Max. But you just had to, didn't you?

    Funny as always, Max. Enjoyed your write-up immensely. Keep up the entertainment.

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  9. djbosscrewwreckaJuly 03, 2013

    Damn you nailed this. I feel pretty much exactly the same way as what you wrote here, especially your very last sentence. Nas just doesn't have enough to say to make this project, and he should have known that telling everyone what he wanted to call it then backing out would make him lose credibility.

    His "pure rhyming", "observation" and "story telling" have always been better than his half-thought out political/philosophical stuff.

    He's me favourite emcee, and I respect the fact that he's trying to say something, but this album is weak.

    Also:
    "Does a rap song that clocks in at less than three minutes even need a chorus? (Discuss)"
    No.

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  10. This beat thing is really starting to get on my nerves. Not just with Nas. But most of the mainstream and veteran artists today.

    There is quite an easy solution. Go back what DJ Muggs is offering.

    Go back to the tried and true formula of picking only one trusted producer to work on the entire album with you.It's what made 12 Reasons to Die work so well. It's what made Gang Starr so great. I miss Guru.

    Then, you can have the freedom of exploring the themes without having to worry if the beats are gonna be wack.

    Imagine this. Inspectah Deck or AZ paired up with Primo or Pete Rock for an ENTIRE ALBUM.

    Better yet, can you imagine how that Group Home album could've sounded like if the beats were given to a guy like Big Shug back in 95?

    The possibilities are endless, I tell you.

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    1. djbosscrewwreckaJuly 03, 2013

      Yeah, this really pisses me off too because it's so obvious.
      Apollo Brown and OC. Czarface. Ka. New Ghostface. Roc Marciano. Apollo Brown and Guilty Simpson. Madlib and Storng Arm Steady. Just some recent examples off the top of my head of great 1 producer/artist (or same producer/artist) albums. All of these would've been shitter if there were more producers.

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    2. You goddamn right!!

      Inspectah Deck is the real prime example here. Look at all his material before Czarface. no consistency whatsoever. It almost makes me wanna cry that he wasn't part of the RZA's 5 year plan. Almost. Because I'm not that anal.

      Seriously, can you imagine the epicness of THAT. Deck & RZA. A full album.

      A man can dream.

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    3. Oh, man, you must have missed whatever review it was where one of the commenters started discussing the allegedly planned RZA-produced Inspectah Deck album that was lost in the flood. Made me cry just a little bit. Unfortunately, I can't remember which post it was, but I'm sure someone will fill that in for me.

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    4. AnonymousJuly 11, 2013

      You can't remember? Really? Too much marijuana. I'll give you a hint: INSPECTAH DECK

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    5. Now that I think about it. Inspectah & DJ Premier would be a dream come true. I mean think about it, he sounded good on Above the Clouds and his vocal samples in "Livin' Proof" proved him to be a natural piece to Gang Starr; if anything he'd kill a preemo album while feeling natural at the same time.

      I'd pay money to make that happen.

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  11. I'm telling you it's what made this year's Czarface so good.

    And thank you for that, Max!!!

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  12. AnonymousJuly 03, 2013

    You shitted on every single nas album post it was written and excluding the lost tapes, you need to keep your fucking ass hole CLOSED.

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    1. I found this comment funny. Sue me.

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  13. Derek ClaptonJuly 03, 2013

    Thanks fer tha Nas. I basically agree with you on this one. First time I listened to this I really liked it, but it got old fast. Few good tracks, few tracks that are outright crap, and a lot of tracks that could of been good, but just weren't for one reason or another. An album with that title (but not really) probably isn't gonna benefit from singles aimed at the charts.

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  14. Damn that's crazy, I was working on a review for this album..anyway besides the most of the production its nothing really wrong with the album. The joint with Chris Brown and Game is out of place.This is one of those albums people aren't gonna like because how controversial it was. I seen the same thing happen with Ice Cube, Public Enemy and Dead Prez.If you get offended easily then this album isn't for you. Even if the production was up to par, the album still would of get hate because off the lyrics. We all know that..

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    1. Offensive? No. Entertaining? Definitely not. And in the world of music, Nas needs to entertain. He can offend whoever he wants, but if his message isn't conveyed in an entertaining fashion, nobody will ever give a shit. And I wouldn't ever go so far as to compare Nas and his lyrics with the likes of PE, dead prez, or even O'Shea at his angriest. Nas is more philosophical than that, which is why his aggressive tact attempted on this album was as ill-fitting as it was.

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    2. I can safely say i wasn't offended at all with this album...the music not being good kinda did it for me

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  15. And now the inevitable must be asked... Magna Carta Holy Grail review?

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    1. See, I'm not the only person bringing up Jay-Z during a Nas review.

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  16. homosensationalJuly 05, 2013

    nas needs to pick better beats the dude is retarded when it comes to that

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  17. AnonymousJuly 05, 2013

    Oh Nas. I cannot even listen to Illmatic these days without becoming enraged due to the fact that this man has so much talent yet such shitty judgment in almost all areas of his career. For instance, he can pretty much work with anyone he wants in terms of producers and guest artists, however he continues to pay for weak beats time and again, bar a few exceptions, such as Made You Look, and Get Down, as well as half of It was Written. He could have worked with Preemo on a full length collaborative LP, he could get the Alchemist to lace him up nicely. Large P, Q Tip, Pete Rock all names that Nas seems to have ignored, in spite of the fact that those are the names that handed him a classic. That Life is Good shit was some fuck boy shit. Nas needs to rethink his shit and get back in the game, stop chasing that Billboard money and get his shit together. Even Prodigy who I thought had completely pissed away all of his talent in prison has come out swinging with a LP with Alchemist. Nas needs to take heed of this shit and take action, or else he will forever be known as that guy that did that one album that was really good but then he sort of got shit.

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    1. let's not forget Kanye wanted to do an album with him back in like 2006

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    2. AnonymousJuly 09, 2013

      Why Nas, Why. The Kanye West of 2006 would have laced Nas up with some of that hot shit. Damn Nas you are a stupid motherfucker.

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  18. AnonymousJuly 07, 2013

    This album is so bad I even forgot it exist. But Nas is back to form now, so stop crying. Nas is good.

    andrewfrumrusha

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  19. AnonymousJuly 07, 2013

    The beats on this album are terrible. It feels like an attempt to recreate a jazz spoken word album. There is also a stale R&B vibe to the album with weak choruses sung by who the fuck cares to hit home messages that are are a little less prevalent in this generation. This is elevator revolutionary music. If i heard Breathe in a Hilton elevator I wouldn't pause to consider it.

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    1. Derek ClaptonJuly 15, 2013

      This is hysterical and in truth, probably accurate for at least half the album (maybe they listen to Sly Fox in the MSNBC break room).

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  20. Ehh. Nas shot himself in the foot by making illmatic. Noggins* still wanna hear boom bap production and anything that even slightly deviates from that will be met with unfair criticism. Nocturnal* is actually my favorite Nas album under It Was Written. Nas doesn't want to make music strictly for "real hip hop heads", he's made that clear. He wants to try new sounds.

    I'm an advocate for artists that wanna switch their style up, tho. Don't mind me.

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    1. Nas has an album called Nocturnal? You sure you got the right artist, homie?

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    2. I thought that was Heltah Skeltah

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  21. Nas is the man he has 3 good albums,wat abt ada mcs?what do they hv to show.

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  22. I actually think the only albums Nas made whilst trying to make onto Illmatic's status were It Was Written and Stillmatic. For instance, Nas couldn't have been thinking Nastradamus was the next Illmatic when he made that shit. Really, if he wanted to 'chase the dragon' he could easily call up Premier, Abstract, Large Professor and Peter Rock (the RZA would be nice too) to write some rhymes, 2 months done. I do believe he has done quite a bit of experimenting during his journey, but his poor ear for beats and his 'experimental tendencies' has dragged him down after each release. Remember that 'Summer on Smash' cut? He's Charles-Dickens-Oliver-Twist asking for Hip Hop heads to trash that shit to pieces. Making songs like those indicate he's not trying to reach Illmatic again.


    This album can suck my genitals, though

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  23. With the exception of "Fried Chicken" (which I though Nas was brilliant on), I pretty much agree with your review, specifically your "Last Word". I think the "Green Latern: The N*gger Mix Tape" does a slightly better job executing Nas' original intent on Untitled. Maybe you can review that one;would love to hear your opinion of that one.

    "Nasir rambles in his typical fashion, even managing to get one of his lines censored (bringing the count to two, as one of Game's bars was also deleted on “Makes The World Go Round”. For the record, there is actually a 3rd sensor on "Hero" where the Sony Exec, Donald Morris's name is edited out (which curiously is left on the Green Latern Mix tape).

    Nas is still one of the most talented emcees to ever do it. Keep up the good work, Max.

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