Life Is Good
Jul 31, 2012 Web Exclusive
Over the course of his career, Nas has declined from World's Best MC (back in the Illmatic days) to "oh yeah, that guy" territory (pretty much everything after It Was Written). With the release of Life Is Good, he's hoping to head back to the former.
Life Is Good features old-school Nas in the very best way—it's wall-to-wall dense storytelling, with gritty tales of drugs, gun violence, and police brutality. It's a compliment to say if this album had come out in 1996, Nas would have easily been New York's hip-hop savior. Life Is Good also has plenty of thoughtful reflection on the effects of gang violence ("Accident Murder"), fatherhood ("Daughters"), and growing up in the projects ("A Queens Story"). The production, helmed mostly by Salaam Remi and No I.D., tends to lean toward opulent and epic—which turn out to be perfect backdrops for Nas' still-killer flow. Despite a couple of missteps (particularly "Summer on Smash" and "You Wouldn't Understand"), Life Is Good stands as Nas' best album in years, and one of the best hip-hop releases of 2012. (www.islanddefjam.com/nas/)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10