Album Review - Nas - Life is Good

One of the most anticipated albums of 2012 is without a doubt the return of Nasty Nas. For whatever reason, there is more want for this album than a long time for Nas. Maybe it's my generation holding on and hoping one of our legends can drop a classic that will 'save hip hop'. Maybe it was the return of good Nas on the street singles "Nasty" and "The Don" which whet our appetites for one of the biggest artists of the late 90's to return to form. The official date is July 17th but right now is my album review of Nas - Life is Good.

The album starts off with "No Introduction" which takes us back to Nas' early days and growing up in the hood before talking about and describing where he is today. The tone of the track and Nas' vivid descriptions and flow fit perfectly and harken back to his heyday and equal a great start. "Loco-Motive" is a throwback for his 'niggas stuck in the 90's" as Nas says. The song which features Large Professor speaking between verses as Nas takes us straight into the heart of the East Coast circa 1998. The piano riff in the song is sick. Another song with a break beat and older-school feel is "A Queen's Tale" where Nas gives a song to the old dudes from around the way but the song really gets going at the end when the beat switches up.

Mary J. Blige handles the hook and bridge on throwback cook-out style track on "Reach Out" and Nas still manages to show you can impart some decent bars into a song you can two-step to. "Accident Murderers" featuring Rick Ross is a jab at all of those guys bent on a vendetta who kill the wrong people or someone by accident and then pretend as if it was there intention from the start. Ross has a mean flow on the track but he doesn't talk about fake killers, his verse is about sticking up dope dealers but it isn't bad. "The black Bond" is some general Nas rapping about nothing but being ill with his descriptions.

By now everyone should know I think "Daughters" is the most important and smartest hip-hop track, especially by a mainstream artist, of the year, though it won't get nearly enough burn on the radio. "The Don" dropped a few months back and was Nas at his best talking about how he is the 'godfather' pretty much. "Nasty" also is still on the album though it is plenty old. "World's an Addiction" features Anthony Hamilton's vocals and Nas rapping about different ways people need to escape and get through their daily grind. Victoria Monet sings the hook on "You Wouldn't Understand" which is a message to those aren't from the hood and can't get with how a guy like Nas might act the way he does.

"Back When" is another track with Nas reminiscing about life back in the day. "Summer on Smash" is the single attempt for the current generation and it features Miguel and unfortunately too much of Swizz Beatz. t's like half hook compared to everything else. "Stay" is about conflicted feelings in a relationship. The long awaited "Cherry Wine" which features Amy Winehouse vocals for the chorus is alright as Nas talks about meeting the right woman- ironic right. "Rose" is another nice song that is fairly descriptive but doesn't have the biggest spark behind it. "Where's the Love" features an artist named Cocaine 80's and ends out the deluxe edition (lets be honest who isn't going to buy the one with four more songs on it?). The last songf on the non deluxe version is "Bye Baby" which is about his relationship with former wife Kelis and a shot at those who think he was a fool to get married to start with.

Life is Good is a good album, but not a great one. It's not a classic but the flaws that are evident are pretty much there in every Nas album. While he tries to juxtapose his past with his current life on most of the tracks, the beginning of several get redundant and "Back in the Day" wasn't even needed. The expecatation i had was going to be more evolving hip hop like "Daughters" and I was slightly let down, though "Accidental Murderers" and "Bye Baby" come close to living up to the maturity shown on "Daughters". With that said Nas still shows the youngsters how to actually rap and get deeper than basic description as he goes to lengths to give the physical description and lead some into the more mental aspects of his subject matter by the end of the songs like the final verse on "A Queen's Story".

Rating: 4/5


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