Music News

You Want Nasty?! Nas Answers Prayers on New Single

Instead of the seasoned, wiser poet, these fans yearned for the vibrant teen who packed an uzi in his army jacket lining. After some teaser freestyles of the last few months, the wait is now over. Nas has answered these fans with a lyrical monster of a first single in "Nasty."

“I come from the wheel of Ezekiel….”

“I guess entertainment means blatantly lying…”

Make no mistake, Nas has not lost his lyrical chops over the last few years. The problem (for some) was dealing with the heavy, controversial themes (Hip-Hop Is Dead, Untitled) and left-field, genre-meshing collaborations (Distant Relatives). Instead of the seasoned, wiser poet, these fans yearned for the vibrant teen who packed an uzi in his army jacket lining. After some teaser freestyles of the last few months, the wait is now over. Nas has answered these fans with a lyrical monster of a first single in “Nasty.”

To quote producer 9th Wonder, Nas is one of, if not the last mainstream rapper who can still capture the spirit of classic 90s Hip-Hop with the structure of his poetry. Nasir’s long-time collaborator Salaam Remi realized this a long time ago, as evidenced by their work on songs like “Made You Look” and “Thief’s Theme.” This new single “Nasty” is in that tradition. Although the production is much more simple and stripped down than the aforementioned songs, it works by forcing you to pay attention to Nas’ flow.

And what a flow it is. Nasir attacks the track from the first bar and doesn’t let up. You can enjoy the track on that alone without even delving into the lyrics, which contain Nas’ usual strong imagery and even some humorous quips (“I am the dragon/ Maserati pumping Biggie the great legend/ Blasting/ I’m after the actress who played Faith Evans”). Nas also includes some flossing lyrics that recall his It Was Written/Firm days, but not in an overindulging or juvenile manner that would be off-base at his age.

On Untitled’s lead single, “Hero,” Nas kept strong lyrical content but compromised to major label wishes by enlisting Polow da Don for some synth-heavy, radio friendly production. There’s no such compromise evident here. And in a climate that sees lyricists compromising their albums at the orders of major labels, Nas’ lead single choice is to be commended.

NAS “NASTY”

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