Sustaining a reputation for excellence is a feat in itself, but when that reputation bleeds over into expectation, what’s the result? In Nas’ case, it’s an iconic career full of highs and the occasional lowlight, both of which have been heavily predicated on his ability to live up to the lofty standards his greatness has bestowed on him.
Having shouldered that load, at times begrudgingly, for three decades and counting, he’s become more accustomed to the task than ever. His latest body of work, King’s Disease III, exemplifies his ever-growing comfort in answering the bell and rising to the occasion.
His fourth collaborative project wholly produced by Hit-Boy, whom he scored his first Grammy Award with, the album is Nas’ sixteenth of his career and arrives as his age treads closer to the half-century mark. Yet, on King’s Disease III, the 49-year-old sounds as fresh and spry as he’s been in ages, continuing the extended renaissance period he’s enjoyed for the better part of a decade. While ageism in rap has largely been removed as a barrier for artists looking to mature in their craft, Nas is among those pushing those limits far beyond what was previously conceived.
Presenting a longplayer packed with enough punch to contend with the work of young, blustering prospects who had yet to be born by the release date of his first LP, as well as his most esteemed contemporaries, Nas reigns yet again.
VIBE did a deep dive into King’s Disease III and highlighted the seven songs from the album that we feel are the defining moments and will be in your rotation of fan favorites for years to come.