Tuesday 14 June 2011

Is Nas the Terrence Malick of rap???

"A gifted individual who completely lost touch with the abilty to put together a coherent project after his second feature..."

A quote from a review of Malick's The Tree Of Life, but it could just as well be about Nas. I shan't be listening to his new song, but I feel like eating off some Nas-related traffic today all the same so let's see how this analogy pans out : Lanton Mills as the demo joints like Life Is Like A Dice Game and The Understanding, Badlands as Illmatic, Days Of Heaven as It Was Written, the original script for Great Balls Of Fire as The Firm (a compliment as I like both, although their success depends on the other performers involved), the mythical uncut version of The Thin Red Line as the original I Am double album, The New World as Street's Disciple, and The Tree Of Life as some sort of neverending mash-up of Hip Hop Is Dead, Untitled and whatever the album with the spawn of Bob Marley was called.

A not entirely successful cinema-to-rap parallel since there's no room for Nastradamus, Stillmatic and God's Son, but, Thief's Theme aside, would be the world really be that worse a place if those three albums were suddenly eradicated from history by a specialist time-cop team consisting of Biff Tannen and Aaron & Abe from Primer at the expense of a tuesday afternoon post on The Martorialist?

A friend happened to be playing Stillmatic when I was in the car with him recently (no Ma$on Betha/Mister Cee) and even songs I dug back in 2001 like the intro, You're Da Man, 2nd Childhood and Rule just sound so completely humdrum a decade later. The Flyest with AZ is still pretty great, although it's only when Nas trades lines with AZ during the last verse that he isn't persona non grata on his own shit because that sounding-like-a-first-draft-of-I Can-which-was-subsequently-binned solo verse of his employs a barely interested delivery which is pure "l-l-leave..him..a-lone, Ram"-rap and, lyrically, it's a clumsy shambles which doesn't relate to anything else laid down in the preceding 1:48 and proceeding 1:55 of the song whatsoever; As for One Mic, yes, he pulled off the first successful example of Slint-rap, but, I'm far more likely to jam What's Going On, Black by Azie or Lil B rapping from the perspective of the curbs he talks to in Good Morning over the One Mic instrumental on I Am The Hood any time I need a quick dose of In The Air Tonight-derived rap nowadays because, y'know, at least neither song are going to remind me of drug-addled faux-rastamon twins from Toronto wittering on about someone as cretinous as Nas being a "revolutionary thug-poet" or garden variety Nas fanboy dullards arguing about whether he beat Jay-Z as they netcee to instrumentals of Nas Is Like in Youtube comment sections :

Lil B - I Am The Hood (2009)

In conclusion, Nas and Malick are both equally overrated, Lil' Kim's The Naked Truth album which The Source awarded 5 Mics to in 2005 was probably way more deserving of the rating than Stillmatic, and Luv Me, Luv Me by Shaggy totally obliterates Welcome To Jamrock and the entire discography of the Marley family.


done said...


Boothe said...

The internet is so predictable, it's almost parody* at this point.

Insert favorite "back in my day" rapper: Nas

Add, sort of old school sounding beat (not premo this time, but the response is still pretty much the same)


Track is bland.

FF material now. Would have been FF material back then.

*my responses are starting to become parody.

step one said...

theres certain tracks I like on all the Nas albums, although I definitely dont like all the Nas albums. Up until about 03 he was probably my favourite rapper but now even when he drops something decent/listenable I cant be bothered with it.
Did you ever here the Tony Yayo version of 'Jamrock' ?

Anonymous said...

How can you not like "You're Da Man"? That's classic Nas and Extra P.

qbd1 said...

Hello. Yeah I said the same thing over at Unkut. They be tripping just cuz the beat is hype and he got that rapid flow. But really, it's a Salaam Remi beat, of course it's hype!!! It's vintage Salaam Remi. But the lyrics are garbage. If you pay attention he's not saying anything coherent. Filler rhymes. And I liked Distant Relatives! At least it had a center and focus and delineated limitations. Although I admit I didn't listen to the album but just the 6 singles.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

Guys - let's not lose sight of what's important here : Luv Me, Luv Me by Shaggy.

Step, certainly do remember Yayo's jack of that because his voice on that is fucking hilarious. "We the ones that took Murder out the Inc!"

Anonymous said...

Shaggy 'Luv me Luv me' ft samantha Cole


Kelvin Mack10zie said...

My man.

clocktower said...

haven't seen tree of life. but terrence malick's best film is the new world.

yes it is.

Boothe said...

Days of Heaven is my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of The Firm, how was this song not on the album? shouts out to Noz for putting me on this one.