Something within me just refuses to give Nas his props. I guess because I thought Illmatic was a bit overrated. I don’t know, but I keep trying to hate on the brother, and I feel guilty about it.
After all, when it comes to pop-hop, he’s one of the few rappers out there who definitely deserves recognition. It took me all this time to realize that. In a land littered with the detritus of Jermaine Dupri, Ludracis, Jay-Z and Nelly, I would much rather listen to Nas. Sure, his thug thing (as it is, in general) is really tired (his “duet” with Tupac, “Thugz Mansion,” is just abysmal). His beef with Jay-Z is just silly. I mean, he’s much more talented than his rival. Why not just crack on Hammer? And his Tupacitis is ludicrous: this odd desire to be all things to all people; spouting brain-dead nigga/ho shit and then wanting to be lauded for “Keep Your Head Up,” “positive” bullshit; either meaning he contains multitudes or is insincere in one or both of his postures. Nas will definitely never be praised for pushing hip-hop forward. In fact, he’s at his best when he’s goin’ way back with ’88 odes like “Made You Look” and “Get Down.” “Warrior Song” with Alicia Keys ain’t too bad either — for what it is. And that’s the qualifying praise I find myself giving this man. I don’t know how far he’d get if he weren’t part of the Columbia machine (or where he’d be compared to, say, Cannibal Ox, if the latter were), but considering many of the other nuts that keep that automation cranking, God’s Son is a pretty good album.