So I finally sat down and gave Nas’s new album Life is Good a full listen and have to admit that I really wish I hadn’t. When I gave the album a first skim through I found two gems on it that really made me expect the best, but turns out that as whole this release is a big ol’ let down. I would even go as far as saying that some of the tracks are downright bad. After that frustration I almost decided not to write this piece but I figured it really isn’t fair to those two masterpieces that I steal them of their shine just cause their team is weak.
The first piece that caught my ear, Daughters, has been released for a while now so many of you had probably heard it way before the album ever came out. I guess its almost cliché now for our elder rappers to rap about the struggle of becoming a parent after living the life of player (probably still living it too) but so far this is one of my favs. These kinds of tracks usually come off as some weird confessional letter that has little to actually do with their kids but here Nas really address stuff that we see in our kids everyday. ‘She planted a box of condoms on her dresser then she instagrammed it’. I love that he brings that kind of stuff up cause parents need to wake up and stop playing clueless to what’s going on their kid’s computer. Musical I have to say No I.D really made this track. His production is crazy captivating and perfectly support Nas’s flow by giving it tone and texture that it would’ve probably lacked without a great producer.
Now, Cherry Wine, this is the shining star of this album!
First off I have to say that these kind of tracks really put Nas in his best light. We saw it on ‘One Love’, ‘The World is Yours’, ‘Road to Zion’ and even on the recent ‘Daughters’, Nas really excels as a Rapper on slower beat tracks with a bit of a jazzy tip especially when he has a strong featuring to back him up. In that case who could possibly be a better featuring than the late Amy Winehouse. This release once again showcases her phenomenal vocal skill but even more than that her tasteful restraint. Strong singers often forget to use that quality, which can really put me off a piece even if I love their voice. On this perfect summer evening track everything fits perfectly together from Salaam Remi’s exquisite jazzy production, to Nas’s flirtatious flow to Amy’s sensual and enticing melodies. I’m very glad to be able to add this one to my series of Amy favorites. RIP Queen.
Bonus note by Lexis:
“I also was disappointed (again) by Nas’ new record but I was absolutely floored by the Massive Attack remix of “The Don”, without a doubt their best work in a long long time. Now if only Nas had a little bit better judgement in who to team up with sometimes this is the kind of magic that could happen”