audio review : Nasir ( album ) … Nas

audio review : Nasir ( album ) ... Nas

The first song has Nas sounding like a young KRS-One. “Edgar Hoover was black; Willie Lynch is a myth,” he affirms, “Columbians created crack; the government made stacks.” It’s that first part about Edgar Hoover that represents the rapper’s state of mind. He, like too many Americans, is obsessively focused on race and racism; only the white on black type, of course; to the point of going on to claim, hopefully metaphorically, that his first mansion was haunted by white racist ghosts.

But as a rapper, Nas is better than most. Listen to the baby vaccine bit earlier in that same (Everything) song. He has a knack for conjuring thought-provoking imagery to make a social or political point. That he’s rapping to boom-bap beats, often laced with elegant chords, on songs with; and what a surprise this is; melodic hooks is what makes this not only one of his best albums but the best yet of Kanye West’s seven-song Good Music album series. Unlike the others, Nasir is actually good music.

my rating = 4 of 5

2018

audio review : Kids See Ghosts ( album ) … Kids See Ghosts

audio review : Kids See Ghosts ( album ) ... Kids See Ghosts

Kids See Ghosts is a fine album title, but I don’t see the point of using it as a group name. It seems unnecessary, silly even, to use one at all. Kanye West did an album with Jay-Z, and Jay-Z did two with R Kelly, without any pseudonyms. That this set, one of what will reportedly become several seven-song releases from West’s Good Music label, begins with a verse by Pusha T is even more confusing.

It’s the quality of the music that should matter most, of course, and there it’s mostly a middling affair. The beats, which sound like lo-fi hip-hop experiments, do sound good, but they’re too often met with vastly inferior, sometimes downright annoying, vocals. Freeee and Feel The Love both contain grating examples of the latter. It isn’t until the end, literally the final song, that a memorable chorus arises.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018