"They askin' how he disappear and reappear back on top? Sayin' "Nas must have naked pictures of God or somethin'."

Nasty Nas. A living legend. When he attacks, there ain't an army that can strike back. As his current release pumps out the whips of just about every Jeep in my distance this summer, Nas's Life Is Good is what every true Nas fan hoped it would be. A hip hop prodigy at 17, with his ecstatically feverish debut, Illmatic, Nas became the physical embodiment of hip hop with his unmatched lyrics, overtly advanced rhyme schemes, untouchable musical contributions from heavy hitters such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip, and nearly 20 years later, you can't name another album that could possibly match the intensity that Illmatic has been fortunate enough to display. The 1994 Columbia Records release is Nas's gift and curse. Two years later It Was Written, another undeniable classic would be released. But even as a self proclaimed Nas stan, I can admit although he maintained to stay "somewhat" consistent, later attempts that followed didn't exactly fall in line with his standard. But in his defense, having a project like the aforementioned Illmatic as your first full-length impression, it would be a challenge for most artists to switch into a new lane. Thankfully, on Nas's 10th LP, Life Is Good, it seems that everything has come full circle for him. Even with his recent divorce from his ex wife, Kelis, "money problems", etc, Nas doesn't take the time to let any of those issues slow him down.

First off, Nas gets excruciatingly blunt in this album, but with that lies his charm. His ex-wife's wedding dress lay across his lap on the album art. Life is Good focused on a certain direction sonically and contextually not to mention there was a concept behind the way it's exhibited. Every time a song starts, it acts as a prelude to a major event; Nas is prepared to lead his listeners into a path where he wants you to witness this progress with your own ears. He has mastered his delivery throughout his career. Life Is Good, as insightful and introspective, as it is flashy, rugged and grimy. It's all of the familiar voices of Mr. Jones past works (save Nastradamas...) all rolled into one album. Saying hello to the characters Nasty Nas, Escobar, God Son and Nasir throughout the recording. It's his most rounded album to date. 

The greater portion of Life is Good's production does not feed off of the pretentiousness of 2012, but in the same vein it doesn't submit to the more mainstream audiences of today. Composers Salaam Remi and No I.D. handle the weight behind the boards, sculpting the primary soundwaves Nas sways comfort on. Other producers who assist with the sounds consist of big names such as Swizz Beatz, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, 40 and Heavy D. Nas absolutely proves his worth across every beat on this album, but then again, it IS Nas. 

He comes face to face with the reality of his daughter growing up, due to an inappropriate (and more than likely embarrassing) incident where she posted a picture of a drawer full of condoms on her Twitter page in his song "Daughters". When he allows us to better understand the current status of his relationship with R&B singer Kelis, in a few of the songs, he sounds comfortable and forgiving with the past events and "Bye Baby" best sums up the end of that part of his life. Quite possibly the most anticipated song found on Life Is Good was his feature with the late Amy Winehouse titled "Cherry Wine" (my favorite track on the album). The duet is about finding that perfect match with similar interests. The collaboration also adds a dimension of intrigue to their close relationship before the singer passed.

Despite being 38, a not-so-common age in rap, this album shows you can still mature gracefully at any point in your life and strive your best to make it through unfortunate situations, then ending up positive in the end while holding strong to where you came from. In Life Is Good, he boldly recites: "Fuck it I'ma die anyway and they're going to make that day a holiday." Truer words have never been spoken. The finest in Queensbridge lineage, Nas represents the select few who were to born wreck mics. It looks as if the young street disciple who snatched his plate at the BBQ years ago can finally say grace: Life is Good: Blessed.

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  • (l,k)

    miss peas is a helluvalot better writer than Justice Supreme lmao

  • ji_gantus

    nas > jay-z

  • Anom

    Great Write Up Miss Peas

  • Mike Tomin

    1. Pac 2. Nas 3. BIG 4.Jay

  • Jbob

    Jay-Z is a better artist overall but Nas does have certain advantages over him that's it

  • david

    Nice review of an amazing album, wish there were more albums these days of a similar quality

  • http://www.2dopeboyz.com Excalibur

    jbob: Better artist how. Album quality? Lyrics? Subject matter? Realness? Ok Jay-Z gives a better live show than Nas, but that's it really. In the last ten years he has blown right past dude.

  • marty mcfly

    The album is dope but A Queens Story is an incredible song though. As far as all the comparison shit goes lets just say they both dope. If you gotta pick between Nas and Jay for the hip hop crown, everybody got their own reasons for who they think is the greatest between them but outside of those two there aint really no comparison with anybody else on a lyrical level overall.

  • marty mcfly

    Then I see the comment like "In the last ten years he has blown right past dude", and im thinking to myself. What? but its all good.

  • ftoij

    nas is a fraud for stealing someone's else's name and identity.but i like some of his music.

  • Ori

    its funny how yall giving miss peas props just because she liked the album.

    where as if she gave it a less than steller review, yall would be dogging the fuck out of her.

    and nas was 21 when illmatic came out.... not 17.

  • http://dizzythumper.tumblr.com dizzythumper!

    @ Ori, damn I thought for the first time I wasn't gonna see a Miss_Peas hater and then here you are....

    and she was referring to Nas being a touted hip hop prodigy at 17 when he appeared on the Main Source album and he was 20 when Illmatic came out. Also @ ftoij, what are you talking about???

  • http://toasty-osi.tumblr.com Osi

    Oh shit...a good write up on 2dope!?!?!? Big ups to Miss_Peas

  • http://soundcloud.com/ThermosMC ThermosMC

    dope write up! I hope to see more of these out of you guys!

  • yes i’m vouching for the nigga, i have nothing better to do but troll you

    @dizzythumper! why do i feel like you were deliberately looking for a hater and just placed the label on that one guy? nowhere in dude's comment did it hate on miss peas.

  • fidel_cashflow

    Life is good is mad boring ! All the singles that he released are about his daughter or his wife. He is embarrassing them and the cover of the album is just a wack publicity stunt. The best song on the album is Nasty and that's just about it..He's wordplay is 0 on this album. I'm expecting more from Nas. I want him to evolve, take chances and bring something new but I guess not everybody can keep it fresh.

  • marty mcfly

    ^^^So what album did you hear this year that wasn't so boring, had better singles, a better cover, wasn't about publicity in any way, had better wordplay, had evolved passed Nas level, took more chances and was more fresh then Life Is Good so far this year? Dont worry Ill wait.... Exactly. Again, im not saying it's Nas best album but I highly doubt we'll hear a another album as complete as this until around Sept. Maybe

  • Fidel_Cashflow

    Killer Mike RAP Music was 10x better than Life is good, ab-soul's Creative Control, El-P's Cancer for cure, etc...

  • marty mcfly

    Hell No, Killer Mikes album is not better and I actually like that album but truth is it is not better the Life Is Good as a whole. Killer Mike might be able to write good lyrics but delivering them and then picking good beats for them is a different story. Creative Control is also not better then Life is Good LOL, and Cancer for Cure is probably the wackest album of EL-Ps career by far and anybody who has ever heard his other albums would know what I mean but you gave it a good try though. Now if you woulda said Gangrenes Vodka & Ayahuasca then maybe but Ab and El-P? Not even close

  • marty mcfly

    Matter fact EL-Ps album was just wack period. Just because something is underground doesn't automatically mean its better.

  • suck it

    ^^ *Control System.

  • zachariah

    Wordplay was lacking, which was a suprise, but the storytelling was impeccable. Brilliant and the whole thing flowed well minus that one piece of trash. I'd put it up against American Gangsta, it will be interesting to see if he can best it in the future, whereas Jay has failed there. Sample-driven hip-hop for the win.

  • marty mcfly

    It cant say something is a failure if your using it as a measuring stick to compare with something else your suggesting is better. Especially if you start your argument out with "wordplay was lacking"....

  • marty mcfly

    YOU cant...

  • marty mcfly

    @zachariah, Oh I get it, your saying that Jay hasn't made an album better the American Gangster in the last few years. Thats probably true on a cohesive level but hey BP3 and WTT were just put together differently. Just like the first 3 Outkast albums sound totally different from each other. I dont think it would be wise for anybody to try and outdo the overall concept of American Gangster cause that would be too difficult on many levels. Just like it would be hard to try to outdo It Was Written

  • alex

    Beyond exceptional write up. Well spoken Miss Peas

  • Kush

    This was terribly written, I don't even know what you guys are talking about saying "dope write-up!".

  • Sideshow Mel

    There always gotta be one. Kush, Shut the Fuck Up Stupid!