In terms of critiquing them, the issue with EPs, or these seven track albums that Kanye is involved with, is that almost all of the songs need to hit home to deserve a high rating. As I feel listeners should be lenient with double disc albums if a few songs don't work, the opposite applies with short projects.
While most of the beats aren't unlikable, they really don't move me. I don't always agree with him regarding hip hop, but Michael Rapport said it well - “It ain't smacking, it ain't funky, it ain't bangin’”. I'm a massive Nas fan, it shouldn't be hard to tell if you read my username and know a bit about the guy, but after a few spins, I'm not enthused by this.
1 Not for Radio - A decent opener. Nothing more. Diddy isn't needed here at all. His shouting on 'Hate Me Now' worked, it doesn't here.
2 Cops Shot the Kid - I don't think some of the beats suit Nas that well and this is one of them and looping a one second sample 200 times isn't genius. The subject matter has been done to death in hip hop, particularly of late. That damn Slick Rick sample will get stuck in your head though. I hope Slick Rick is eating well off all of these samples. He must be the most sampled rapper.
3 White Label - At first I was thinking that it's an ill-fitting beat, but now I just think that it isn't a good one. The vocals on the sample conflict and overpower Nas' vocals. I also expect more than brag rap from Nas that too many bars on this album are.
4 Bonjour - I don't think I've heard 'polenta' in a song before. Lyrically there is nothing thought-provoking, but Nas feels most at home on this beat, making it my favourite track from this album. It reminds me of the lush songs on ‘Life Is Good’.
5 everything - Nas raps well, but it feels like a Kanye song, which he does his best to ruin by trying to sing, which is embarrassing. Kanye, The-Dream is right there.
6 Adam and Eve / 7 Simple Things- The beats for the last couple of songs are good, with Adam and Eve being stronger, and Nas rapping supremely. I think it's really easy to say an older rapper has lost rapping talent because of the date on their birth certificate when they haven't lost much at all.
I can't give this anymore than a 3, making it my lowest rating for a Nas album. It's just decent and his weakest project. The best handful on ‘Nastradamus’ are better than these songs. The weakest may be weaker, much weaker to some, although in my opinion Kanye trying to sing on 'everything' is worse than the maligned 'Big Girl' hook. I'm hoping this isn't the 'Nas Album Done' album. Like I said, nothing moves me, no real catchy hook, no brilliant 16, no truly innovative and creative song that Nas has done many times before, nothing truly grabs me. There's definitely nothing here to add to a top 10 Nas playlist, and probably not even a top 30-40. Clowns will say and have been saying that you can't blame this on Kanye at all, and who knows what the process actually was, but if you can't blame a producer for not producing music that best suits the artist, then I'm all out of ideas. 3-2.5
Best Tracks: Bonjour, Adam and Eve