allthingsonelove 5-star Album Review: King’s Disease (Nas, 2020)

Yoooo. I grew UP on Nas. Like, I remember sitting in my Grandmother’s bedroom, watching Yo! MTV Raps, and my cousin pulled out the tape. “Y’all on this in Texas yet?” For the entire summer, we stalked the neighborhoods, slumming, jamming Illmatic and washing the car every, other day. *sigh* Waaaay back then, I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. I KNEW Nas was spiting real verses. I could feel it but I ain’t gon start lying to y’all. *crosses heart* Maaaaaan, I had no idea what Nas was spitting about. The whole album went over my head. It took another few years to OVERstand the stories, metaphors, similes and knowledge that Nas gave the listeners. I just jammed, bobbed my head and repeated stuff that sounded cool.

That has pretty much been my M.O. with all Nas albums. I BUY them. *straight face* I research what he is referring to, write stuff down and actually learn with each album. (The only other rapper to do that for me is Lupe Fiasco but I don’t buy his music.)

King’s Disease? *shakes head* I’m grown now. I know things. I’m raising kids. I’ve been talking that King/Queen to my people. I was more ready than any moment in my life for a Nas album. I caught the wordplay, knew what he was talking about, put pieces together and STILL bobbed my head. This album is so good that I must go back and regrade OTHER albums. Look, there is nothing to apologize for. I adjust and adapt my perspectives according to the information and experience I earn. If you can’t understand that, *shrugs* you don’t OVERstand and it’s cool beans. (For real tho Dawg. What I look like saying other albums are on the same level as this? Where you learn? Hear motivation? Gain perspective? Promote TF out of black unity and the black experience? *crosses arms* Like I said, I’m going back to regrade other albums.)

Track #1 – King’s Disease is the title track and introduction to the piece of auditory art. It bangs well (Nas used to struggle with technics/beats/thump/etc) and he lays out his agenda. The album is about Black men being Kings, acting like Kings, moving like Kings, investing like Kings, learning like Kings, I’m sure you get it by now huh? I stopped blogging and starting taking notes when he said, “If you were a King, you would be standing next to me, doing King shit.

Track #2 – Blue Benz comes with the first of head nodding, turn it up, that’s how we bang down south beats. I’m not used to Nas banging in my trunk and I was impressed.

Track #3 – Car #85 (featuring Charlie Wilson) drops the story of every Black kid’s childhood. You riding deep in the ride with potnas and gotta make crucial decisions. That Charlie Wilson on the hook tho? *whistles*

Track #4 – Ultra Black (feat. Hit-Boy) is the first track that felt like old school Nas. The beats and banging chill out a little and the focus is more on his wordplay and insightful verses.

Track #5 – 27 Summers goes back to banging and blending his message of Black everything, our experiences, our Melanin, our pride. I love it.

Track #6 – Replace Me (feat. Big Sean & Don Tolliver) I was wondering why Nas chose Big Sean for this album and boy did he prove himself. The song highlights relationships (Big Sean’s favorite subject anyway) and Don Tolliver is new to me but kept that hook smooth. Sometimes a singer can take over a track, overshadow the artist but not here.

Track #7 – Til The War Is Won (feat. Lil Durk) Okay. This mug is NOT my jam. Lil Durk is a classic example of a mumble rapper and his “skill” killed the vibe. The rest of the song was outstanding and dedicated to single mothers buuuuuut…. Lil Durk is not cup of tea.

Track #8 – All Bad (feat. Anderson.Paak) had me staring at the ground. My concentration was on catching the slick references and supercharged comparisons. I know this. I was impressed with Anderson.Paak that I looked him up and added him to the playlist. “I love it when you talk to me crazy but who TF you think you talking to?” That line is my SHIT!

Track #9 – The Definition (feat. Brucie B.) goes back to classic Nas mode. The beats are calmer and Nas does his thing. *mind blown* Gayle King? You have been warned.

Track #10 -Full Circle (feat. The Firm, AZ, Foxy Brown & Cormega) This was one of my favorite tracks of the entire album. The four artists were once a common theme of NY music but something happened and well, I don’t know so I shouldn’t speculate. When they rip the track APART, it brought back memories. *sniff*

Track #11 -10 Points is another one of the King themed songs. That chorus? “Jordan gives back but don’t show it so you don’t know it.” The story about naming investment groups after the projects he grew up in? Niiiiiice.

Track #12 – The Cure gave me something to run with. “We envy the UNhappiness of the greats” had me thinking all day. Was I guilty? Yuuuuup, I am.

Track #13 -Spicy (feat. Fivio Foreign & A$AP Ferg) ends the album with heavy hitting beats and another joint that you can jam in car, with the fellas, at the Barbershop or heading to the club.

Y’all think I’m playing but I’m not. I gotta regrade albums because NO rap can compare to this. This is the best rap album since Big K.R.I.T.’s debut album, K.R.I.T. was here.

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