Nas could have easily looked at his enduring legacy in hip hop, sat back, relaxed and gave himself a congratulatory pat on the back. He could have easily gone the way of several legendary MCs whose flow got lethargic and stale and decided instead of deciding to push forward took a long deep look into the past. No one would have blamed him either. He would easily go down as one of the most poetic influential important street poets to ever lay his voice on wax not just in Hip Hop but in music in general. But as Nas stated on the intro to his Stillmatic album “They thought I’ll make another Illmatic/but it’s always forward I’m moving stupid never backwards here’s another classic.” This is the feeling that has summed up the later part of Nas’ career.
Just about every album he has dropped in the new millennium has either been thoughtfully penned beautifully tragic pieces like the slightly somber “God’s Son” penned in the wake of his mother’s death, or an affirmation of his hardcore gritty NY rap roots with the double album “Streets Disciple”, or the intentionally controversial titled semi concept album “Hip Hop is Dead”. Just the titles alone shows an artist hell bent on leaving a huge dent in hip hop before he bows out. His new album was to be titled the most offensive racial epithet ever uttered (yes that one). Although Nas changed the album title to simply “Nas” he assured the fans that the content will be just as politically charged and incendiary as the former album title conveys. One look at the cover of the new album the viewer gets an incredibly powerful statement that an entire music career or volumes of books for that matter couldn’t convey. If the new album dropping July 1st is half as powerful as the album cover, we’re in for another classic.