An Underappreciated Album
Stillmatic got 5 mics, and tends to get more critical acclaim than this album, but these beats are more my thing, and give or take a track, I enjoy all of this a lot, and feel this album is often overlooked from Nas' discography.
It kicks off as good as any Nas album does with a run of four brilliant songs. The production with the James Brown sample on the opener is brilliant. 'The Cross', 'Made You Look', 'Last Real Nigga Alive' are a nice mixture of brag rap and storytelling with Nas telling us about his time in and around hip hop, his relationship and beef with Biggie-"Y'all know about my Biggie wars/Who you thought Kick In The Door was for?"-, among other things. I've always also enjoyed 'Mastermind' with its nice rhymes and beat, and 'Dance' also which is a great dedication track to his mother. And then finally, 'Heaven', which has always to me felt like a bit of an imitation of 'If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)', but nevertheless works well.
To most of the rest: Hey Nas', 'I Can' and 'Revolutionary Warfare' are solid tunes but to me have the kind of beats which makes Stillmatic also not get higher marks. That softer kind of poppy sound, something about it I can't love. Finally, to the average tunes, and like most Nas/Braveheart tracks, 'Zone Out' doesn't work, and while it gets praise from others, I've never enjoyed 'Thugz Mansion' much at all, and easily prefer 9th Wonder's version on ‘God's Stepson’. Nevertheless, half this album features near, if not, 5/5 songs with most not being too far behind.
Best Tracks: Get Down, The Cross, Made You Look, Last Real Nigga Alive, Mastermind, Dance, Heaven