Nas, Street's Disciple (Columbia, 2004)
Not to ruin anybody's Christmas or anything, but this new Nas album is not very good. Being a Nas album, of course it's got its moments. But so much of this is just kinda meh and some of it's just complete and utter bullshit.
This intro is pretty odd. It reminds me of those old Kool Keith skits where he'd be talking to his imaginary pet rat. And what's with this "They don't understand how people like us can love each other" shit? For a minute there, I thought he was talking to another guy.
A MESSAGE TO THE FEDS, SINCERELY, WE THE PEOPLE
The first track on the album really should be better than this. Remember the first track from Stillmatic? Or how about "Get Down" from God's Son? On the one hand, he usually doesn't sound as comfortable rhyming slowly as he does here, but the beat does nothing for me. The little switch-up in flows doesn't really come off as well, I think, because he's not rhyming with enough energy to really sell his point.
Now this is more like it. I don't know how great it is, but it would've made for a better first song than "Message to My Nuts," or whatever that last song was called. It's basically a more creepy "Made You Look," only without a hook but a pretty cool horn breakdown.
Fuck this song, seriously. I can appreciate the message that voting is for suckers, but I would never listen to a song that's just a loop of fucking "Atomic Dog." I wouldn't even want to listen to "Atomic Dog" itself.
COON PICNIC (THESE ARE OUR HEROES)
They should play this song over the intercoms at inner-city schools. Nas goes at a lot of these famous Uncle Tom jigs and even goes so far as to call Kobe Bryant "Toby." Hopefully that nickname catches on.
Speaking of "Toby," I'm pretty sure my roommate DCOY's shrieking, 4-foot-tall girlfriend (seriously) has a dog named Toby. A while ago, I prayed that it would die (the dog, I mean) and then, last week, it almost choked to death on a chicken bone. Also, my little brother's dog, Roxanne Shante (again, seriously) fucking attacked it when she was here this weekend. It was rather amusing.
This one's kinda cool, I guess. I have no idea what it's about though and the voice on the second half of it is kinda creepy. The beat on the first half of this should have been extended out into its own song.
Lame beat + Sentimental ass lyrics = SKIP!
REST OF MY LIFE
Tepid, R&B-sounding (complete with random bitch singing on the chorus), boring bullshit. That line in the second verse about supplying your own mom with crack so that she doesn't have to turn tricks (seriously, there's a line about that) should interest Jay-Z.
JUST A MOMENT
In fact, I'm pretty much convinced that it's going to take Jay-Z coming out of retirement for Nas to ever put out a really good album again. Was that why he retired in the first place; because he realized that him putting out garbage like The Blueprints and the The Black Album was only encouraging Nas to drop bombs like Stillmatic, God's Son and The Lost Tapes? Fucking brilliant.
This reminds me of that one Neptunes-produced love song from Paid tha Cost to be tha Bo$$ that's not "Beautiful." In other words, it sucks.
YOU KNOW MY STYLE
OK, I actually like this one. Everybody's heard it before, so there's no real reason for me to go into depth. I will say that the few times that I heard it in clubs, it sounded like it was a bit more sped-up and I think I preferred it that way.
Way to keep up the momentum. This bounce shit is not what I would normally listen to Nas for, but I can't fault the execution.
Does anybody else find it odd that there was already a song on disc 1 called "Disciple" (the chorus to which went "Disciple, STREETS! Disciple, STREETS!") and now there's this washed-up Primo sounding song "Streets Disciple" here on disc 2? Redundancy alert! Redundancy alert!
U.B.R. (UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF RAKIM)
Says Government Bitch:
"he's spitting that read-along flow, breaking it down like he did on last real nigga alive, switching it from just a do your history lecture to a really amazing track. taking that reactionary bullshit seriously but making it dope. beat heard through cold steel alley door of club, filtered out to just hard bass and handclaps on top."
As a song though, I don't find it to be all that interesting.
I don't like it. Not the phony beat box-sounding beat; not the corny "Dr. Knockboot Pt. 2"-sounding lyrics; not the completely superfluous Ludacris guest appearance. Nothing.
REMEMBER THE TIMES (INTRO)
Nas has got one last chance to get with his old trim before he marries Kelis. At least that's what she thinks.
REMEMBER THE TIMES
Admittedly, this is pretty awesome. From the beat (hear that trumpet in the background) to the rhymes (admitting to catching VD is still not very cool though) to even the chorus, something Nas isn't always that good at. I only wish I could say the same thing about the rest of these songs.
THE MAKINGS OF A PERFECT BITCH
Oh god. I'm tempted to stop this review right now and delete this crap from my hard drive. It's making all of my other illegal music and porn feel bad.
Picture Nas married, you and me: S-U-C-K-I-N-G.
NO ONE ELSE IN THE ROOM
Funny that the title to this song is also the only condition in which I would ever play it out loud. "Braveheart Party" wasn't this bad.
BRIDGING THE GAP
Again, we've already heard this, so I'll spare you. Actually, I probably should mention that I think this is a pretty good song. I remember chiseven and the dead lesbian saying a while ago that they didn't like it very much. They were wrong.
You would think that, with as much money that hip-hop generates every year, the record companies would finally employ somebody who's only job it was to erase superfluous singing from rap albums. You know, so as to increase the quality and therefore increase sales. Seriously, somebody from one of these record companies (I know you're reading this) should seriously consider employing me in that capacity. I'm unemployed right now.
ME & YOU (DEDICATED TO DESTINY)
OK, that last song actually was pretty good. This one, though, is dedicated to Nas daughter, Destiny, so I don't think I even need to mention whether or not it's any good.
Fuck yes. This is the song that originally got me to thinking that this album might actually be really good. Oh, how wrong I was.
COMMENTS: I know that there's this idea of me as this guy who just gets off on dissing rapper's albums, but I so wanted this to be a good album. It just isn't. Like I said in the intro, it's got its moments, namely the 3 singles so far, "Coon Picnic," "Suicide Bounce," "Remember the Times" and "War." Put those 7 along with 3 or 4 of the better of the lesser songs on here and you might have something, but I can't see ever listening to this in its entirety again. It's amazing to me how Nas had the right idea to begin with, but still insists on going and trying to do all kinds of other shit. Fuck a double album. When's the next Lost Tapes coming out?
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT AND DISCUSS: For the longest time I always figured this would be the best rap album to come out all year. Now that it's not, I need to think about this for a while, but 718 by Theodore Unit might actually be my pick for Album of the Year. MM Food is pretty good too, but I haven't listened to it as much.