By now, we hope that you’ve had a chance to sit and listen to the new Nas album, Life Is Good—the tenth studio album for Nasty and his first solo project since 2008’s Untitled. It is, as the title suggests, really, really good. From the lead single, “Daughters,” to the emotional “Bye Baby,” which details the Queens MC’s breakup and divorce from ex-wife Kelis, Nas has a real gem on his hands. This album has to be one of his best, right?
We’ll leave the debate over where Life Is Good fits into Nas’ catalog to you guys. But, to help him celebrate the release of his new project and to prove to you just how highly we think of it, we do want to let you know a few of the things that we love about the album. So, we put together a list of the 5 Reasons “Life Is Good” For Nas On His New Album. Whether you’re pressing play on the album for the first time—or the 50th time—these are just a few of the reasons Nas is winning with Life Is Good.
Reason #1: No I.D. (pictured above) and Salaam Remi handle the majority of the album’s production.
The last Nas album, Untitled, had a few solid beats on it. But, for whatever reason, Nas decided to work with a different producer on almost every single song. From Jay Electronica and Mark Ronson to Polow da Don and stic.man of Dead Prez, Nas featured a different producer on every track. That led to an album that, at times, felt really disconnected. That’s not the case on Life Is Good. It features a handful of No I.D. beats and a handful of Salaam Remi beats that pull everything together and make the album sound cohesive. Kudos to Nas for going that route instead of simply pulling beats from all of the of-the-moment producers out there.
Reason #2: The changes in Nas’ life give him plenty to vent about.
From the troubles he’s had raising his teenage daughter to his very public divorce from Kelis, Nas has gone through a lot since the last time we heard from him. It probably was pretty painful for him when he was going through it. But, now that he’s come out on the other side and had time to reflect on it, he’s put a lot of it into his music to show that he’s not all that different from everyone else. He has problems. He struggles with things. But, he works through them and eventually learns from them. As a result, life is good for him now. That’s a message that everyone can relate to.
Reason #3: Nas recognizes what rap fans want—and he’s still able to give it to them.
“This is for my trapped-in-the-’90s n—–!” Nas says at the end of “Loco-Motive,” which sees him reunite with Large Professor. And, he’s right—the song does sound like something that Nasty Nas would have created back in 1994. But, it also sounds right at home on Life Is Good and doesn’t sound forced at all. It’s certainly not the first time Nas has pulled that off. But, it is nice to know that, even 18 years after his debut, Illmatic, Nas can still create the kind of stuff that leaves fans reaching for their rewind button every 30 seconds.
Reason #4: Nas outshines Rick Ross on the album’s lone guest appearance by a rapper.
Was this really smart on Nas’ part—or just a coincidence? Either way, Ross, arguably the hottest rapper in the country right now, makes an appearance on the standout track, “Accident Murderers,” and gets outshined by Nas. That’s not to say that Ross doesn’t hold his own with a rap legend. But, that is to say that Nas proves that he can still hang with (and, at times, outshine) the new guys when he raps alongside of them. Not all rap vets can say that today. But, for Nas, it’s a challenge that he still welcomes.
Reason #5: The good easily outweighs the bad on Life Is Good.
Is Life Is Good perfect? No. There are some missteps on the album. For instance, we’re still not sure whether or not we can rock with the Swizz Beatz track, “Summer On Smash” and there are several R&B-tinged songs that don’t sit well with us. But, every time we run into a problem, we just play “Cherry Wine,” featuring Amy Winehouse, or “A Queens Story” or “The Black Bond” or “Roses” or…well, you get the point. Those songs let us know that Nas put work in to make sure that Life Is Good would be good. And, he definitely succeeded.