Wednesday, January 10, 2007
went from Nasty Nas to esco's trash:
Nas can't help himself. Every time he makes a return to form -- God's Son, Stillmatic -- his out-of-control ego forces him back into his worst habits. Case in point: in his new video for something off the very-meh Hip Hop Is Dead, he intends to position himself as Nas King Cole. This couldn't be stupider if it came from one of Ego Trip's up-and-coming white rappers.

Adam Heimlich of New York Press, reflecting on the sorrow and the pity known as Nastradamus, once came up with the greatest of all Nas takedowns: Nasferatu, where the Queensbridge MC sucks the life out of his own career, and in his less-horrible form, remains a dessicated version of his former self. Come on, all together now! Nasty Nas to Esco, to Es-co-bar, now peep this Nas-tra-DA-mus...
--Spencer Ackerman
I know this might seem somewhat lacking in nuance and fairness, but I haven't been able to muster much enthusiasm for Nas post-Illmatic.

Now that is, in my mind, easily a top five hip hop record of all time. But it's been mostly downhill since then. Enough to keep me away at least.
Blogger Eric | 2:53 PM

I had a conversation about this with, um, PaleoProg today. He made quite the apt comparison: Nas is the Dwight Gooden of hip-hop. Irresponsible with his undeniable talent, he commits any number of unforced errors that jeopardize his career -- when, suddenly, he pulls back from the brink and displays his old brilliance (God's Son for Nas; the '96 season with the Yanks for Doc), only to fall off yet again.
Blogger spencerackerman | 3:03 PM

I'm not sure if any rapper will ever jeopardize his career by having too big an ego, it's kind of an implicit part of the rap game.
Hip-Hop Is Dead may be a mediocre album but Nas certainly has delivered enough classics to boast, or to force us forgive his inevitable flops. I think Eric is right about Illmatic being easily one of the top five hip-hop albums of all time, which has to be both a blessing and curse for the guy; of course it's going to be downhill from there--to have an album equal or better would mean he needs to record one of the very best rap records of all time.

Sure he's given us some garbage and it's justifiable to be disappointed. But he's one of the most skilled emcees around and we're lucky he's still in the game.
Blogger Eric the Political Hack | 10:53 PM

Well, I blame the collab with Jay-Z for this one. Take for example, the track "Black Republican." Million dollar beat. Even decent rhymes would make a hype joint. What do we get instead? A bunch of studio-outtake gibberish and lyrics that fall somewhere between "confused" and "filler."

Anyone who's listened to Jay-Z's lackluster last effort—or watched the slow, downward arc of his rhyming career—can see the origins.

Nas is best when he's hungry and giving us that raw shit. Otherwise he just gets lazy and careless, like the athlete who stops training at the first sign of victory.

Someone needs to take a mixtape swing at him; I'd love to see him answer back with something like "H to the omo" or whatever.
Blogger Bill Smith | 7:23 AM

Wow. See, even paleoprog is capable of insight every once in a while.

I kid, I kid.
Blogger Eric | 8:43 AM