5+ Spins and Nothing Has Stuck
Nas is one of the greatest. I have a number of his projects, even those most don't love like 'I Am...' and 'Street's Disciple', in my top 50 rap albums of all time, and I've been called a Stan because of it, but I can't say this reaches anywhere near those heights.
Nas raps as well as he ever has. He still knows how to flow from word to word and write to allow that to happen. There is some signature style Nas rhyming, particularly on songs like 'Blue Benz', that is a delight to listen to. The rapping performance has almost never been the issue with Nas though. Aside from Nas on the vocals, there are some questionable features though like Lil Durk, and from my perspective, Big Sean's lazy sounding delivery hurts 'Replace Me'. Anderson doesn't knock 'All Bad' out the paak either.
Topically it has issues. I don't find a lot of this interesting. It's a mixture of his come up, a bit of brag rap, racism, African-American empowerment/celebration among other topics. Some bars on 'Til The War Is Won' caught my attention, but after a number of spins, I don't find the content very engaging, which is particularly important if I don't love the beats which I'll talk about next.
Onto the production that is handled predominantly by Hit-Boy. There are some nice moments and touches such as the beat switch on 'Blue Benz', but the production doesn't wow me. It is different than what Nas has often rapped over but it sounds dirty in parts. At times the production doesn't vary much from the generic trap sound we have heard so frequently for about a decade now. I know it's a compilation, but 'The Lost Tapes 2' has a number of songs with more likeable beats than anything on this. I listened to the aforementioned album after this and I realised that I was bumping my head straightaway to most of the songs and that basically didn't happen at all with King's Disease. "We going ultra black, it supposed to slap" - It doesn't... The trend, maybe due to streaming, of short songs in general, doesn't do this album any favours either. '27 Summers' is one of my favourite moments but its short length hurts it. The 16 bars x 3 verses as a song structure works. It's a tried and true formula. I can find it hard to get into short tracks. There aren't many if any hooks to stay in your head here either.
There is quality control. Only 13 songs with a running time of 38 minutes make this an easy listen, and maybe it's a touch better than his last effort, Nasir, but as I said with Nasir, there is no amazing song here. I get busy with the playlists on Spotify and it never occurred to me to add anything from this to my 'Best of Nas' list. He hasn't made a song to add to his best of playlist since 2012. I said this after Nasir, but I hope that he still has his 'Nas Album Done' album ready to release. I'm glad this was fairly well-received but I'm disappointed with it. I can't give it more than a 6/10/