A year after dropping his compilation album “The Lost Tapes 2,” Nasir Jones returns with a nostalgia filled album that we love from the Queensbridge rapper. The project is filled with an All-Star cast including three-time Grammy award winner Anderson Paak, Big Sean, Charlie Wilson, and longtime rhyme partner AZ.
On the track “Car 85,” Nas takes us back to his time of being a young knucklehead, running the New York streets. “In my peripheral view, nothin trivial ‘bout me, just witness the truth I’m certified that’s verified… the rotten apples the tabernacle, that’s NY, White Castles at midnight, fish sandwiches, forty ounces and fistfights.”
With the song “Ultra Black” Nas dives heavily into the Fred Hampton, black power-style of lyricism for which he’s well known. Reminiscent of his ‘03 hit “I Can,” he reminds us that to be black is the powerful standard, and that beauty exists for our people in all our shades of brown. Nas also takes a direct shot at popstar Doja Cat, after controversial accusations of anti-Black comments from her threw the internet into a frenzy. “Grace Jones skin tone, but multi that..Multiple colors, we come in all shades, mocha black. We goin Ultra black, like Essence Fest. Talk with a mask on, with the freshest breath.” With the current social and political climate, this track is just a reminder that we’re still that rose coming up in the concrete.
Fan favorites like “27 Summers,” “The Circle,” and “All Bad” show a softer side of Nas. “All Bad” tells of Nas’ frustration with a once happy, fairytale-like romance that devolved with lack of mature communication and petty fights, ending in typical relationship woes. A feature by Anderson Paak gives the track a smooth hook and verse, making it a late night riding anthem. The song “Full Circle” sees Nas bring back his old crew “The Firm” as he, AZ, and Foxxy Brown express their realities about men and women’s intentions and the utter confusion of trying to understand the opposing genders.
In all, this project is most likely to be the legendary MC’s best work since his 2012 project “Life is Good.” The legendary storytelling provided a cultural relevance and lyrical proficiency that was certainly soul food for fans of Nasir Jones.