Nas is Gods son, the one who rained hell with Ether and it would be near impossible for one to forget the classic called Illmatic, but this is 2018 and Nas remains the boxer with sharp reflexes on Nasir.

After years of silence, 6 long ones actually, since his last album, Life Is Good in 2012, Nas has gifted his fans with a new body of work, his 11th studio album entitled, Nasir, which is solely produced by Kanye West.

This is not the first time that the duo have worked together, as Kanye featured Nas on We Major in 2005, while he also produced and got featured on the latter's eight studio album, Hip-Hop Is Dead a year later, but this is the very first time they will be combining forces on a full project.

The fourth in the series of Kanye's epic 5 album - 7 tracks experiment, that has seen the fierce Daytona by Pusha T, the divisive Ye by Kanye, the comforting Kids See Ghost by Kanye and Kid Cudi while Teyana Taylor's album stays due for next Friday, June 22.

Grown-up, confident and refreshing in tone, Nasir is about content, addressing issues and themed around politics, but more importantly, Nas just wants to remind y'all that he really can still hold his own down, even as a 44 year old emcee.

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Album opener, Not For Radio is the 'Round One' knockout that every boxer dreams of but almost never manages to pull off, and rightly so, Nas declares 'Escobar Season begins', delivering a blast of punches on his opponent, who comes in form of a Kanye West's monster beat.

With features from Puff Daddy and 070 Shake, (who is becoming one of the jewels from these album series), Nas rhymes, ''Fear will make you reveal who you really are... and who y'all comparing me to is nonsense, show gratitude in the presence of dominance.

This is not just a rap song, it is actually a rap tutorial that touches on the state of America, fear and historical references, did I mention that this beat bangs? and Puff Daddy's speaking brings back memories of when the duo combined on the monster single 'Hate Me Now'.

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Cops Shot The Kid is the Nas you expect, as touching on social issues is familiar territory for Nasir Jones! Wait. Pause. Stop Press, Call the police or something, I was not prepared for the intro to this beat as Nas addresses gun violence, while Kanye also delivers a solid verse.

With White Label, Kanye is the motivating force with his insane production, while Nas layers the artwork with polished strokes of gritty lyrics.

The next set of tracks parade guests as Nas leaves the hooks and melody which have never been his strengths to others who do justice to it with, Bonjour featuring Tony Williams, Everything and Adam and Eve with The Dream.

Simple Things gives the album the finest closing moments, stripped off the distractions of a featured artiste or wanting to artistically please an audience, Nas just goes in bar for bar, as he on one hands admits to his past mistakes of caring less about the production and focusing solely on the message but his ego surfaces, reminding critics that his fans agrees with his music.

''Never sold a record for the beat, its my verses they purchase, without production I'm worthless, but I'm more than the surface, Want me to sound like every song on the Top 40, I'm not for you, you not for me, you bore me''.

If the cover art wasn't a visual pre-warning of the album content, then I don't know what else, with black kids lined up like criminals waiting to be identified and holding guns under a 'No Trespassing' sign, betraying the emotionality and direction of Nas on this project.

Working alongside Kanye West on this is a niche move, as Nas benefits from quality instrumentals that breath life into his lyrics and delivery, while the production on this coupled with the samples makes this not just a typical Nas bar fest but a brilliant musical execution.

Being seven tracks doesn't leave room for much faltering or album fillers as every track hits a punch, this is 2018 and Nas is not just current with his message but he is also the O.G whose talent is impossible to ignore and bags lyrics, that stay sharp and weighty.

NASIR may not be another Illmatic but this is a masterpiece engineered by a strange collaboration that have found a common ground making dope music.

Rating: 4/5


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