Im back…Life is Good (Finally) The Review

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the most official album review for this album…any review I do will be the most official review for that album. Anyway, here we do not judge names, bank statements, or tmz appearances. We judge music. Dig that.

Songs are judged on a 0-5 basis (0 being cheeks, 5 being classic), and the judgement is based on the following: lyrics, production, and the cohesiveness of the two. Whether or not the song is good for what it was intended to do, and its according entertainment value.  Now, I am going to be very specific with what these numeric values mean in terms of what I am giving them. Here is the scale:

0-1.5 – Amongst the most terrible songs i’ve ever heard

2 – Bad song

2.5 – average song- not good/not awful

3 – pretty good, not mind blowing but good

3.5 – I could ride out to this

4 – Has great replay value

4.5 – Song/Album of the year candidate

5 – Classic hip-hop record

 

Albums in totality are judged by the same, but including flow of the album and consistency of attributes throughout the album. With that being said…

 

Nas is the greatest emcee/rapper/whatever distinction you want to make… of all time.

Fuck your corny debate, Nas the best.  The only other cases i’m entertaining are 1996-2003 Jay-Z (once you add Kingdom Come, American Gangster, Blueprint 3 into the mix it gets a little fuzzy) and Rakim. Everything else…save it for complex, or spin, or pitchfork, or whatever other media outlet that corny people follow. By the way, I felt like this before I heard Life is Good. Now… Niggas can’t tell me NOTHING (c) Ye

1. No Introduction – “P.S. 111 at free lunch embarrassed but managed to get a plate…” That type of thematic tone and internal imagery is what makes this album what it is, and also what makes Nas the goat. I like the level of epic on this track- it fits the content as Nas basically documents his winning on this track, which is perfect for the opening of an album called ‘Life is Good’ …”The craziest things already happened to me, so either you’ll be laughing at me or you’re laughing with me…” c’mon.   4/5

2. Locomotive – “It’s ghetto beef, sinister niggas snicker through yellow teeth, alcohol aging my niggas faster than felonies, how dare I? Must be, something in the air that corrupts me, look at my upkeep, owned and sublease, I’m here y’all…” It speaks for itself. 4/5

3. A Queens Story – For anyone who is up on their hip-hop knowledge, this track should have had you seeing the light (if you ain’t already know) about why Pac seemingly hated Nas so much. This song was getting trapped in that slightly above average category, until the switch up in the beat to the piano in the last verse which is a transition into the next song. Then of course there’s this: “Now I’m the only black in the club with rich yuppie kids, sad thing this is the top but where the hustlers went?, No familiar faces around ain’t gotta grab the musket, It’s all safe and sound champagne by the bucket, where them niggas I shouted out on my first shit?, Bo cooking blow fucking slay that where Turkey went?, Old videos show niggas that was murdered since, Another reason to get further bent…” C’mon. 4/5

4. Accident Murderers feat. Dade County Deputy Sheriff William Roberts – I love the concept. The beat it dope. This joint is just missing something. Rick Ross spits his typical off topic ramble that apparently makes him a top dog in the rap world today. I like the song but its a drop off from the first 3.   3.5/5

5. Daughters – Most rappers don’t have the balls to vulnerable. I wouldn’t call this joint groundbreaking nor would I call it typical. It just is what it is. Shit for niggas with daughters. 3.5/5

6. Reach Out feat. Mary J. Blige, allegedly the queen of hip-hop/soul – I love that they flip one of my favorite produced r&b joints ever.  Nas spits on here as usual, but something about this joint seems somewhat generic. Maybe it’s Mary. Probably it’s Mary. She just hasn’t been the same since Tyler Perry started taking her songs and making movies out of them. Ah well… 3/5

7. World’s an Addiction feat. Anthony Hamilton, king of black bohemia – Another kind of weird and generic track that Nas lyrically lights up. Nas lyrically lights up this entire album. Most of the time the rest of the joint meets him, sometimes it doesn’t. This is one of the sometimes, but its still a pretty good track. 3/5

8. Summer on Smash feat Miguel – Swizz Beats…so you already know what it is. 2/5

9. You Wouldn’t Understand feat. Victoria Monet – Now we are getting back to Nas being Nas. This joint has that unorthodox God’s Son/Street’s Disciple era Nas feel to it, and he works it well. “Fuck it i’m a die one day, they probably will make that day a holiday, until then let’s go on a shopping spree…” I love that right there. 3.5/5

10. Back When – To call them fake today is hate, real niggas extinct, Pac left me inside a rap world with niggas that wink, at other rappers undercover niggas spit every way, won’t be surprised if all their rides have federal plates, Let alone their wardrobes and Studio 4 flow, It was real when I appeared it would’ve been some jaws broke, Nas, my real name stage name  same thing, How could you let these lames claim king? I’m so ashamed, man…and this beat…c’mon. 4.5/5

11. The Don – This joint was already good, but when they did that beat change at the beginning of the third verse, I lost control of the muscles in my face. Holy shit. 4/5

12. Stay – I’ve never done this before, both of the two ‘this’ that i’m about to do…here it goes. 1. I’m not even going to talk about this song, and 2.  5/5.   I want this shit played at my funeral.

13. Cherry Wine feat. Amy Winehouse aka the only white woman or drug addict or ugly woman I would have ever considered wifing – I got hype when I saw that he had a joint with Amy on here because 1. I knew it wasn’t just going to be Nas rapping with some old ass vocals from Amy that don’t even fit the song because she’s dead and they didn’t go there anyway. 2. I love Amy like my first son. This is some smooth ass having fun on the town with your better half music. Dig. 3.5/5

14. Bye Baby – The sample of ‘Goodbye Love’ by Guy is ill. The song is ill. He letting it out. He rapping good over a good beat. What more could you ask for? Well, it could be ‘Stay’ .  4/5

15. Nasty – This song is about two years old now it seems, so it has lost some of its initial luster. Nonetheless, the title says it all. 3.5/5

16. The Black Bond – Yo…OMG @ this shit. This beat, these rhymes. Every time I play this joint, I have to play it twice. The imagery of him with the chick in the first verse is amazing. This song in its entirety is amazing. 4.5/5

17. Roses feat. Nikki Flores – The hook on this song is very eerie yet intoxicating. I think he is getting out some more of that Kelis, and he does it well. 4/5

18. Where’s the Love feat Cocaine 80s – I was going to put a quote on here…but as I thought about what exactly to quote, I ended up typing the entire second verse. That’s how crazy that shit is. The music is dead on with the concept and content as well. This is how you make a cohesive record. 4/5

 

Conclusion: Is there is any rapper in the history of hip-hop who has ever 1. Been this good lyrically this late in their career (Nas is about to be 40, and his first album dropped 18 years ago) and 2. Made an album this good this late in their career? If you can think of one,  please leave a comment and let me know who. Longevity like this is the stuff that GOATs are made of. While other cats who came up in his era are dead, fighting their twilight, or living off legacy, Nas is still dropping original and quality product. If we were to replace that ‘Reach Out, World’s an Addiction, Summer on Smash’ sequence with a couple of heat rocks…this album would easily get the 5/5…but we can’t so there’s that. I thought Nas was the greatest rapper of all time before this album dropped. Unless, Jay-Z is going to get back into Reasonable Doubt mode for a few more albums, or Ghostface has a few more Supreme Clienteles in him… the gap between Nas and everybody else just grows larger and larger…

4.5/5

-Sonny Rockwell