2. A Message to the Feds, Sincerely, We The People
3. Nazareth Savage
4. American Way (Ft. Kelis)
5. These Are Our Heros
7. Sekou Story
8. Live Now
9. Rest of My Life (Ft. Amerie)
10. Just a Moment (Ft. Quan)
12. You Know My Style
1. Suicide Bounce
2. Street's Disciple
3. Unauthorized Biography of Rakim
4. Virgo (Ft. Ludacris & Doug E. Fresh)
5. Remember the Times (Intro)
6. Remember the Times
7. The Makings of a Perfect Bitch
8. Getting Married
9. No One Else In The Room (Ft. Maxwell)
10. Bridging the Gap (Ft. Olu Dara)
12. Me & You (Dedicated to Destiny)
13. Thief's Theme
Alright, this album is widely believed to be one of Nasir's worst efforts. If this is true then Nas might indisputably have the best catalogue in the game 10 albums deep. I've seen a lot of people shit on this album so here's your chance to explain in depth how this album isn't severely underrated.
I remember copping this shit when it came out.. I was in the 9th grade. Listened to this shit in my cd player every day on the bus. Anyway, this album was clearly the true turning point in his career where he became a man. His first album after turning 30, he delivered 2 discs and an hour and a half worth of dopeness. Very well-executed double album. We got everything from Nas on this one. The social commentary he had shown us glimpses of from the beginning of his career and a preview of what was to come on Untitled and Distant Relatives was put on full display in classic Nas fashion with the opening track "A Message To the Feds" and continued on joints like American Way, These Are Our Heros, Reason, etc..
"Rappers battlin' non-rappers, carryin' on backwards
Laughin' sayin' Nas thinks he's Farrakhan preachin' blackness
Hell yeah, awareness is my alias
Word to the 'Braveheart' written on my bare chest
The realest, HERE IT IS!"
To add to the social topics, Nas brought us back into his personal life as he had in the past like he did heavily on God's Son and The Lost Tapes. This time he gave us a melodic dedication to his daughter Destiny on "Me & You", "Bridging the Gap" which was a fushion rap/jazz/blues track with his father and jazz legend Olu Dara, as well as the sequence on the second disc dedicated to his new bride Kelis.
This shit is so soulful, dope, descriptive, but also humorous at the same time.
He also gave us the creative joints we have become accustomed to in the same lane as "Last Words", "Fried Chicken", "Fetus", the infamous "I Gave You Power", with the self-produced U.B.R. givin us the history of his idol... and of course the "Sekou's Story/Live Now" sequence, which I feel is better executed than "Who Killed It" but not on par with "Blaze a 50" and "Undying Love". I'ma be honest, I didn't find out the female was really Nas until a couple years later. Lol.. I was young but since he got me I would have to say the joint was definitely well executed and hot. Especially how the beat switches up and all that and it really feels like a movie.
Then you got the light hearted party records like the beat-boxed "Virgo" with Luda and Doug E. It could have been a hot single. Also "You Know My Style" (I could have done without that one). And of course we got the straight up street records where Nas lyrically spazzes and shows us he never lost it. "Nazerath Savage", "Disciple", "Suicide Bounce", "Street's Disciple" are some of the strongest lyrical displays of the decade that went under the radar.
"Moonstruck stuck, slow as molasses in my actions
That's compliments of a fast spliff in the night life
In my flight jacket, adrenaline heightened, mimickin Tyson
after watchin him cut up Razor Ruddock
In the gutter, which was once ghetto prophecy is now ghetto scripture
Lookin back at it, blowjobs from pretty crack addicts
Older Gods wantin no static, told some lil' niggaz they can have it
Coke baggin and toe-taggin
They took Will, let me describe him, a live one
I think that he was the true +God's Son+ - not Jesus, but fearless
His ear was up on them sounds too, he'd hear somethin
not to his likin, and say 'Son they bitin you"
He never got to see my debut, wild-mannered
But wild with them hammers, niggaz frontin couldn't stand it
Took him off the planet, left us in 9-2
With the philosophy of what arms do, a true street's disciple"
and of course the singles. This album had no radio friendly singles (Still sold over 200k first week) but I still remember females in my high school that loved the Quan assisted "Just A Moment" dedicated to our fallen comrades. And possibly one of the most gulliest and rawest singles of the 21st century that still gives me chills "Thief's Theme"
This album is definitely one of Nas more well-rounded efforts and still manages to be cohesive and effective due to good sequencing. If this album was cut down to it's 15-16 best tracks I bet we might even hear people calling it a classic.