Nas
King’s Disease


4.0
excellent

Review

by Peter USER (101 Reviews)
August 21st, 2020 | 75 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A sign of the times.

When it comes to Queenbridge’s own Nas, his contributions to the evolution of hip-hop is one that is well-versed, more than words can describe. The legacy of his all-time classic ‘Illmatic’ cannot be gratified enough; the layered, visceral storytelling, among grimy, boom-bap beats is still some of the best hip-hop to this day. The ferocious feud between him and Brooklyn counterpart Jay-Z was one that wasn’t just entertaining, but vital to the growth of hip-hop. There’s so much to divulge and digest from one of New York’s finest, especially in a time when the city is no longer one of hip-hop's prime epicenters. At the age of 46, Nasir isn’t getting any younger, as priorities lay less with making music, and more towards family and his Mass Appeal label. His 2018 Kanye-produced ‘NASIR’ however, in his most unique outing, still showed he has a lot left to give to hip-hop. With his 13th studio album in ‘King’s Disease’, Nas returns back to his roots and offers his most mature offering to date.

As he was interviewed by culture publication ‘High Snobiety’, in contrasting the times of Illmatic and this project, he utters, “It’s different times, different names.” These discussions of racism and strife were mentioned in 2018’s ‘NASIR’, with pieces such as “Cop Shot The Kid” leading the way. With King’s Disease, in conjunction to his older state of mind, these talks touch base to black pride, love, reflection, and as Nas says in dialogue of these troubling times, “seeing what we’re made of”. In the pro-black anthem “Ultra Black”, he lays pride in being black in the Black Lives Matter era. Among slamming bass and melodic piano, an ode to offerings such as Illmatic’s “The World Is Yours”, this is classic Nas at his best. He even sneaks in a diss to artist Doja Cat, saying that, “We going ultra black, unapologetically black/the opposite of Doja Cat”, alluding to her self-hatred of being black. In the synth-fest “The Definition”, Nas summarizes the world’s state of filth and greed, divulged in woozy synths and bombastic bass; mentioning global warming, violence on African Americans, Trump, and dissing journalist Gayle King for her disrespect in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death.

What was such a driving point with NASIR, was how Kanye took Nas out of his element sonically, going with artificial production keen to West’s style. It simply lacked the traditional, organic punch Nas has done prior. In King’s Disease, a return to form couldn’t be more emphasized than by the piano-driven, melodic cuts tagged by producer Hit-Boy. It’s like the modern lovechild of 2002’s “God’s Son”, and the colorful feels from 2012’s “Life Is Good”. In the flirtatious “Replace Me”, featuring Big Sean and crooner Don Toliver, Nas and Sean look back at ex-lovers in Kelis and Jhene Aiko, led on by romantic piano and a killer hook by Tolliver. He also brought back the Firm, a defunct hip-hop supergroup of AZ, Cormega, and Foxy Brown, in the braggadocious “Full Circle”. It showcases an authentic mafioso vibe that wasn’t felt in the group’s only album in ‘97. Their return each bring their own unique part; with AZ’s grandeur, Cormega’s punchy lines, and Foxy Brown’s raspy grit that stands out as the highlight of the cut. It even ends with an unexpected surprise by legend Dr. Dre that truly brings things “full circle”, as he helped create the Firm itself.

In the finale of this project with a somber closer in “The Cure”, Nas proclaims that, “Life is school for the soul/and I’m in life seven already”. King’s Disease is the byproduct that merges with the state of mind that he is now in at age forty-six. He’s seen it all, as someone who grew up in the projects 30 years ago; having seen things rough then, Nas’ witness to the times of now, gives him a chance to look back on the past and future ahead. The times between Illmatic’s release in 1994, and King’s Disease in 2020 aren’t different at all. Like he said earlier before, “It’s different times, different names”. That reflection is shown by the diverse, passionate production led by Hit-Boy, and the subjective lyricism accompanied with it. Nas’ most mature, uprooted offering to date is one that speaks, in sheer form, as a sign of the times; past, present, and future.



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user ratings (130)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SPRFanOf5H
August 21st 2020


874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nas' return to a traditional, yet updated sound is one of the best listens of hip-hop this year. Personally, I thought NASIR just was something that didn't fit to Nas' style. This return to form was sorely needed, hopefully we'll get the Lost Tapes 3 in due time which he discussed as another step in his direction.



Praise, feedback, thoughts on Nas and the album itself, Dre's return, all of that much appreciated guys. Nearing 100 reviews on this account!

StarlessCore
August 21st 2020


7736 Comments


i only want another lost tapes if hes gonna drop stuff from the it was written sessions

other than that he should seriously stop making music its embarrassing quality-wise

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2020


1326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thought this was good but the production got a little monotonous for me. Nas isn’t really saying anything new here but eh, he sounds good aside from some cringe lines. not quite on Life is Good’s level for me but it might grow. solid review too.

Digging: rameses iii - I Could Not Love You More

Slex
August 21st 2020


12642 Comments


Excited and scared at the same time to listen to this

Digging: The World Is a Beautiful Place... - Harmlessness

Rowhaus
August 21st 2020


4388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Life is Good was awesome. Definitely gonna spin this today.

Digging: Hate - Rugia

Vulnicura
August 21st 2020


41 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

While Illmatic will always be the gold standard, Nas delivers time and time again with solid albums and this is no different

Get Low
August 21st 2020


11461 Comments


Better than anything else he's put out in the latter half of his career.

OpenUpandLetMeIn
August 21st 2020


76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Probably his most consistent album in a long time, certainly the most consistent production, although I feel like Life Is Good might have the higher highs. A Queens Story and Stay are two of the best songs he ever made. I also feel Lost Tapes II was a little unfairly slept on - a couple bad songs (Jarreau of Rap is garbage), but it also has some hidden gems.

Keyblade
August 21st 2020


30312 Comments


Ultra Black is fun, who knew some modern boom nap from an old timer is what I needed this summer

Scoot
August 21st 2020


20905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

best nas since stillmatic

Get Low
August 21st 2020


11461 Comments


Best Nas since God's Son*

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2020


1326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i'm liking this quite a bit with more listens.

Scoot
August 21st 2020


20905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol just realized he has a compliation called the n*gger tape that isn’t censored on his albums page

Get Low
August 21st 2020


11461 Comments


lmfao

HalfManHalfAmazing
August 22nd 2020


2782 Comments


lol

Keyblade
August 22nd 2020


30312 Comments


u just know someone was licking their lips when they added that one lol

BankZZ
August 22nd 2020


211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

might be his production he's been on since It Was Written. Best album since God's Son [2]

BankZZ
August 22nd 2020


211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Cure is such a good closer.

Get Low
August 22nd 2020


11461 Comments


I actually don't mind Spicy as the closer lol

Storm In A Teacup
August 22nd 2020


36602 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am shocked to see a new Nas album but he's a top 5 so I am fucking pumped.



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