|Okay, so the debate has been smashed and hip hop is definitely not dead! But Nas is back and more controversial than ever on his second Def Jam release. And for his ninth studio album, Nas studies and
lyrically dissects some of the our most divisive issues: race, inequality, poverty, and power. And who better to stir up debate than the man most consider one of the top five emcees in the history of the game? From his brilliant 1994 debut Illmatic, to his mainstream success with It Was Written, to anthems like ''Hate Me Now'' and ''One Mic'' and his venomous lyricism on ''Ether,'' the outspoken Queensbridge rapper's ability to tell stories and educate you at the same time is the stuff of legend.
|1.||Queens Get The Money|
|2.||You Can't Stop Us Now|
|4.||Make the World Go Round|
|9.||N.I.*.*.E.R. (The Slave and the Master)|
|13.||Y'all My Ni**as|
|14.||We're Not Alone|
"Lately, I burn so much trees, I keep environmentalists angry" (4 stars)
, January 2, 2009
- See all my reviews
Nas' classic debut utterly defines Nas in the hip-hop community. A definition that not always works in his favor, as each and every subsequent release has been tirelessly compared to his magnum opus, which is "Illmatic". As much as some would like to see him return to the days of old, I personally prefer the worldly prolific Nas that he has evolved into. Lyrically, Nas speaks on issues far more important & gripping than he ever has before, which brings his content to another level. In 2008, we find Nas reveling on the revolutionary tip, speaking out on politics, social struggles, and global issues.
The production on "Untitled" seems to be readily picked upon; but I honestly think it's very soulful, gripping, and ultimately works well with Nas' heart-felt lyrics. Flow-wise, Nas is rapping with more intensity than he was on "Hip Hop Is Head", which in itself, is a reason I like "Untitled" more. Lyrically, he is flexing his muscles more. Overall, I don't skip a single track along the way. But I will say Busta Rhymes' verse was pretty weak on "Fried Chicken" - it just feels off-kilter, and his metaphors from women to food border on crassness. Other than that, a couple tracks aren't immediately memorable, but all-in-all it's solid. My favorites would have to be the J. Myers & Dustin Moore produced "Breathe", the Polow da Don produced "Hero", the Stic.Man produced "Sly Fox", & the J. Myers produced "Y'all My Niggas". My favorite track, which seems to be up for constant debate, is "Make The World Go Round" featuring Chris Brown. Many cats aren't feeling Chris Brown's pop-friendly chorus, but I think it plays excellently off of Cool and Dre & The Game's production (which may be the tightest on the entire disc). Nas' lyrics & flow are equally sprawling in quality & hunger.
Overall, not being the biggest Nas fan, I found "Untitled" to be an extremely good record, which speaks lengths of how far Nas has come in his career. At a time when hip-hop's mainstream is constantly suffering, "Untitled" pushes hip-hop back in the positive direction it needs to be going. The newbies should surely be taking notes.