Hip-Hop | Rap
Nas is certainly one of those rap artist that I initially thought to have been very constrained to the whole “luxury rap” style and formula that was so prevalent in the 90’s, the period in which the Queens rapper made a name for himself. And mainly due to this, it wasn’t until the 2018 album NASIR, that I truly took in all of what Nas had to offer.
That album, of course, had a part to play in Kanye West’s incredibly productive 2018, in which Kanye also helped to finalise Pusha T’s DAYTONA, collaborated with Kid Cudi on the amazing Kids See Ghosts album, and of course released his own studio album Ye.
But while Kanye made up the majority of the reasoning behind why I listened to NASIR, let’s draw the attention of the review back on Nas. The lyrical flows, sense of importance and impact, and the compactly packaged presentation of that album truly made it feel like a memorable highlight of 2018. Even today, tracks like “Not For Radio” and “Adam and Eve” are incredibly timeless tracks in my eyes.
But with the backstory out of the way, we now arrive at the newest project from Nas, this time solely under Mass Appeal Records, which is titled King’s Disease.
I will have to admit that my enthusiasm to listen to new music by Nas had gone stale ever-so-slightly. Therefore, I feel that there couldn’t have been a better time for an album like King’s Disease to arrive. And it definitely seemed to me like this album may have an even stronger sense of theme and aesthetic than the likes of NASIR.
And upon the first in-depth listen of this album, it is definitely fair to say that I was impressed. A lot of what the album had to offer, especially on the production front, felt soulful enough to really stick with me and really glue this album together nicely in a thematic sense.
However, what I would say now, is that the initial punch that pretty much all of the tracks had, upon first listen, had ultimately become just that little bit more lacklustre in the case of a big chunk of them. That’s definitely not to say that any of the tracks were unenjoyable, but they just lacked that respective element that would’ve turned them from good to marvellous.
But aside from that, this album is incredibly solid, and there are still enough tracks that had retained their edge, particularly the majority of those which feature other artists. King’s Disease features the likes of Anderson. Paak, A$AP Ferg, Big Sean, and many more.
The album also has that fittingly regal feel that you would come to expect from a traditional luxury Hip-Hop album like the typical Nas project, and also seems to feature a lot of reflective lyrics from Nas. The main message on this project seems to be “is a life of luxury truly worth it?”; so a message that ties in fairly well with the title, with a sprinkle of black and female empowerment thrown in for good measure.
In comparison to NASIR, a project which I still love to this day, I would say that the two projects are equally matched in quality, but are enjoyable for different reasons. I imagine that King’s Disease will also fare the same way, in which it should at least be remembered fondly.
Favourite Tracks: Replace Me | All Bad | 10 Points
Least Favourite Track: Spicy