Mass Appeal Records LLC, / Def Jam Recordings
Release date: June 15th
It’s been 6 years since the release of Nas’ last album ‘Life Is Good’, so the announcement that his 11th studio project was imminent left all eagerly anticipating it.
Only 7 tracks??? Well, that’s down to executive producer Kanye West. He’s currently overseeing a set of projects for other artists with a similar track quantity. ‘Ye is also responsible for all of the beats, with additional aid from numerous other producers.
The sound is sparse & almost demo sounding. A combination of sung hooks, chopped up melodic piano samples & simple drum patterns set the backdrop. It’s clearly an attempt to attract a younger & wider audience, while at the same time keep his loyal fans pleased. Does it work? Opinion is ‘very’ divided. Lyrically it’s trademark Nas. In typical fashion he covers all angles of his life affecting him, personal & the current social/political climate.
There was a slight delay in the release of the album for streaming to the public. Distributors Def Jam Recordings jokingly posted up a picture of Nas via Instagram, seemingly struggling to upload the album to the internet. Surely that’s the job of the record company staff right? Streaming at the time was limited to live recorded footage via Mass Appeal’s YouTube channel. This was recorded at the album’s open air listening party in Queensbridge the night before. The issue has since been rectified & the album is now available on iTunes/Apple Music & Tidal.
The album cover, which contains no text or a definitive reason as to why it was used, has an interesting story behind it. The picture was taken by photographer & journalist Mary Ellen Mark. It’s part of an article from 1988 called ‘The War Zone’ by reporter Jim Atkinson. The story explored the disadvantaged neighborhood of South Dallas, where poverty, drugs & violence were a part of day to day life.
Atkinson wrote: “Ten years ago this was a working-class neighborhood’ now criminals dominate the area,”. “Kids learn to play by watching the police, prostitutes work to support their habit, and families try desperately to stay together.”
This album, which is really an EP, will not please all. At the same time it has the potential to gain Nas a wider listening audience. Either way the lyrical content & flow is evidently still strong.
Whatever your view of ‘NASIR’, Escobar season has returned because “Nas Album Done”.
1. Not For Radio (feat. Puff Daddy & 070 Shake)
2. Cops Shot The Kid
3. White Label
4. Bonjour (feat. Tony Williams)
5. Everything (feat. The-Dream)
6. Adam And Eve (feat. The-Dream)
7. Simple Things
Preview, buy & download @ iTunes here
Purchase the ‘NASIR’ album on vinyl or CD @ the official ‘Nas’ store here. ‘Nasir’ hoodies, short & long sleeved t-shirts also available. All purchases come with a complimentary digital version of the album.