Not only is it his eleventh self titled album but we waited six long years…
It had little or no promotion but a tweet…
— Nasir Jones (@Nas) June 16, 2018The executive producer was announced to be Kanye West.
And we discovered it was produced by Kanye West…
But wait, hold up!
Didn’t Nas and Jay-Z just have a notorious rap beef? Didn’t he produce those very same diss tracks for Jay-Z?
However, Kanye West who is best known for using Soul & RnB samples surprised us with samples from different genres.
The first track on the album titled ‘Not For Radio‘ used the sample ‘Hymn to Red October‘ by Basil Poledouris an American composer. The second track ‘Cops shot the kid‘ followed up nicely and used the sample ‘Children’s story‘ by classic 80’s rapper Slick Rick with dialogue from ‘Wattstax‘ by American stand up comedian Richard Proyr (Interestingly, Wattstax was a benefit concert organised by a record label called Stax records in memory of the 1965 riots in Watts, Los Angeles). The fourth track ‘Bonjour‘ used the sample ‘Dance Music‘ by Indian film score composer and director R.D. Burman from Mukti (1977). And the sixth track ‘Adam and Eve‘ used the sample ‘Gole Yakh‘ by Iranian Rock musician Kourosh Yaghmaei.
Not only did the samples have relevance to the body of work Nas produced but so did the album cover.
It was an image taken by photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark from the 1988 feature called ‘the war zone‘ by reporter Jim Atkinson. The story was about a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Dallas, where drugs, violence and poverty were a part of everyday life.
It’s another album to add to his long list of classics. It deserves several spins as Nas is a true lyrical genius with deep meanings embedded. It was a long wait but worth it!