Nas - Nasir (Vinyl LP)

Nas

Nas - Nasir (Vinyl LP)

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Instead of being received as Nas' 11th album, Nasir arrived in a blur of Kanye West's design. The instant the EP-length set was issued, it slotted into place as the fourth volume of "the Wyoming sessions," a series of like-sized releases with West involved on every song, recorded primarily at a ranch rented by the producer. Preceded in consecutive May-June 2018 weeks by Daytona, Ye, and Kids See Ghosts, Nasir falls into Nas' chronology six years after Life Is Good. During the dry spell, Nas tended to his legacy with a documentary, expanded reissue, and PBS-aired orchestral performance of Illmatic, and made guest appearances on at least three dozen numbers, including DJ Khaled's "Nas Album Done." On that track, Nas evidently wasn't referring to Nasir, a set that could not have been complete, not with its references to later events, from Colin Kaepernick's protest of police brutality to the unlawful arrest of two black men at a Starbucks. Even with West's emetic mention of "fake news," "Cops Shot the Kid" is the highlight. As a Slick Rick sample loops continuously to reflect recurrent tragedies, Nas paints vivid street scenes of joy, fear, and ultimately terror: "White kids are brought in alive/Black kids get hit with like five." ~ Andy Kellman