Legendary Queens rapper Nas finally releases his new album King's Disease. Reminding us what a real MC is like, this album is full of gems and knowledge that we can immerse ourselves in, while each track just keeps getting more impactful and insightful with every lyric.
In 1994, Nas dropped his first album Illmatic. Now in 2020, the iconic hip-hop artist hasn't slowed down and returns with his 13th album King's Disease. Even after being in the game for over 30 years, Nas still has something to teach us. I remember being a kid and singing along to "I Can" which at the time, inspired me to keep going and to achieve all of my goals. Nas made that song so that the kids from the hood can be inspired to achieve greatness, too, since the system isn't designed for them. Years later, Nas once again continues to inspire, dropping knowledge and schooling those who are willing to listen. The longevity of his career is etched in stone by his limitless creativity and unfaltering drive.
Opening up the album with the title track "King's Disease," we immediately get a dose of nostalgia with old school New York beats filling the room. The background vocals soothe the soul as they create a powerful ambiance to lay the foundation for the impactful lyrics coming from the poetic emcee. Nas forcefully takes off the gold-plated fake crowns from those who proclaim themselves to be kings yet hide in envy, jealousy, and fail to lead people to a better place. The intricate wordplay and metrical rhymes elegantly address heavy issues in society. Lyrics like, "Only lames front on Kings. They troll for clout. Weird flex, but okay," is a direct acknowledgment of the current empty internet importance that empowers false deities and plagues society.
In "Car #85," Nas takes listeners on a vivid train ride through the boroughs of New York and the journey of what it was like to grow up in the concrete jungle. Through deep and honest lyrics, Nas' storytelling skills masterfully capture the struggles that many went through during his era, laying the foundation for the greater rise of hip-hop. The calming beats in the production allow his messages to be heard loud and clear as we feel the authenticity in his voice taking center stage.
Always teaching, Nas has an exceptionally important message in "Ultra Black." Proud of being Black, he makes it clear that being Black is beautiful. Through heart-gripping words, his pride for the culture during an uncertain time, where we are fighting for equality, is evident. Black lives will forever matter, and as a prophet of the game, Nas makes this heard loud and clear.
"Replace Me" paints a beautifully poetic picture of real love through a playful and alluring chorus. Big Sean lends his vocals to add a greater layer of emotional and raw verses to capture any empath's heart. A flawless mixture of New York and Detroit sound, both artists add an addictive touch that reels us all in and has us all hooked.
Offering food for the heart, mind, and soul, "10 Points" is a reading of scripture than it is a fiery track. Through poetic composition, Nas passes on knowledge to the younger generations of tired and true street codes, while his confessional style lyricism shines a light on what's truly important in life. Covering themes of mental health, Nas pushes this generation to heal and move forward; "Stop holding on to childhood trauma, it defeats us."
King's Disease is a manifesto full of infinite knowledge acquired by one of the most iconic wordsmiths of our time. Press play and be a student of Nas' for the next 38 minutes.