Uglyboy Album Review Nas – “Life is Good”


Nas Album review

Life is definitely still good for ‘God Son’, aka Nasir Jones or as he is better known as just ‘Nas’. The rap veteran  returns with his highly anticipated 10th solo album Life is Good and of course this is the Uglyboy album review (when will this great public service stop?) I hear u say…. Well there is no sign of it just now, so enjoy.

Now to me as hip-hop fan I still feel, (as many I’m sure) that Nas for some reason is still one the most underrated rappers there’s ever been.  I mean anyone who’s ever listened to any of his albums, could argue that his wordplay and poet like stories, (sited from his troubled upbringing on the mean streets of Queens New York mainly), are the stuff movies are made of. Many could argue that had it not been for Nas’s critically acclaimed classic LP (1994’s) IImatic, many of the rappers we see around today would not even exist.  Fast forward nearly 20 years and 9 albums later, and whilst Nas is still at dinning at Hip-hops top table, you still get the impression that ‘God Son’s’ still being slept on by many.  As a Nas fan myself it’s to my annoyance slightly when I hear rappers like Jay-z (in his case deservedly) Lil Wayne, Kanye West, plus others being bandied around as pioneers of game, as well as potential candidates as “bet rapper dead or alive”  (a prise still to be taken from Biggie in my opinion).  In addition, whilst Nas occasionally gets a mention, you get the impression it’s mainly just a token gesture, for services once rendered i.e. Illmatic.  It was written….

Now as nice as Nas’s flow and wordplay may sound, (and he’s clearly a well-educated man) regular listeners to his music would argue, that it’s been the production on many of Nas’s albums that have mainly let him down over the years. As his somewhat reluctance to work with more, tried and tested heavy-hitting beat-makers have had a detriment effect on his albums success.  Instead, Nas has tended to work with long time collaborators and less ‘Glamorous’ producers (let’s say) like, Large Professor, Pete Rock and Salaam Remi on most parts of previous albums .  In addition, whilst this is still the case on Life is Good with Salaam Remi’s influence throughout, there seems to be more of a share of beat-making duty, with No I.D. especially coming on board.  As well as Swiss Beats on Summer on Smash feat Miguel (a sure fire smash by the way), and the J.U.S.T.I.C.E League on No introduction. So like the artist collaborations which are reserved to a minimum , give or take appearances by Rick Ross, Mary J Bilge, Miguel, Anthony Hamilton and the late great Amy Winehouse on Cherry Wine respectively.

There’s the sense of another tight-knit Nas offering, and whilst in most parts that’s a fair assessment , the lack of features has again given Nas the platform to show off his ability to keep listeners intrigued by his every sentence. As Nas seems to have opened up more on this record, no longer is he aloof when it comes to his private life, which is displayed when, detailing everything about his divorce from pop singer Kelis on Bye Baby. Nas also highlights his shortcomings as a father on the powerful Daughters, as well giving us a typical ‘Nas like’ story about his chequered upbringing on A Queens Story. As with previous Nas records, you can see the story unfold as his raspy articulate rhymes, play-out the images through your speakers. But unlike his recent records, the music finally matches his narrative urgency, with much of the credit seemingly being placed down to No I.D. ‘s influence. As Life is Good is littered with hard-hitting beats and filtered drums, a sound that can almost be attributed  to early Kanye West material (Which No I.D played his part in creating). As a result, we hear ‘God Son’ ‘flex his rhyming skills’ throughout this record, showing the world once, “life still is good” for Nas and so is this album. Go out and get this one!

“Life is Good” it sure sounds good anyway!!


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