Nas - Nassir
"Escobar Season begins". That is the line that opens Nas' first album in six years and the supposed revival of the hip hop royalty. This is the fourth in Kanye West's series of releases this summer and far and away the most confused. Nas never finds his footing, sounding bored from the first moment missing his talent for story telling and mystery. Nas has always shrouded himself in a mystique that was hard to penetrate, you learned what He was about, his political views and the things He has seen in his life, but He never really let you in to the person that was Nas. Kanye is the opposite, an open book who's emotional state is almost as compelling as the music He creates. The clash of these two opposites never quite works. The beats are too... Kanye-ish for Nas to find his groove. The beats don't feel classic like Nas is, they feel like they know what a classic is but prefer something more avante garde than that. "White Label" has a Kanye style soulful sound to it, with a classic R&B sample, but it is always just off, slightly weird and descends into some electronic etherealness at the end, something that is far from what Nas is used to. Nas never finds his place to shine and feels over this record from the very start. He never fully buys in and the listener can't either. This is definitely one of Kanye's weakest production outings as well almost hollow missing the richness and immediate exuberance of his previous releases.
"everything" featuring The-Dream and Kanye's vocals is this meandering over seven minute mess. Nas occasionally pops in on the sparse beat often sounding more like Tupac a la "Brenda's Got a Baby" than Nas. Even the black empowerment notes from Nas feel like the shrink away on Nassir. "Adam and Eve" is the one time Nas feels comfortable, like He is letting his arms swing a bit in the booth and the beat happens to be this weird old timey player piano driven number that really cooks. Yet even this track barely moves the needle, nothing on this record feels exciting, new or fresh. It feels like the idea of this record was far better than it is in practice. Are Kanye beats great? Sure. Is Nas one of the greatest rappers of all time? Of Course. So together they should create something that is all time? Well it appears that just isn't the case. This record just never clicks in, never finds it's rhythm and ends up being an uninspired snooze.
6.0 out of 10