Nasir Jones Essay

Submitted By Eddie0093
Words: 606
Pages: 3

Unlike other MCs who rose to prominence in the early 90s, Nasir Jones (aka Nas) had the artistic misfortune to survive that decade. It may be a grotesque thing to say, but if Nas had fallen after releasing a slew of classic singles and his startling debut Illmatic, he'd be every bit as revered as Biggie, 2Pac, Big Pun and Big L. Instead, Nas has broken our hearts with a series of decent-to-mediocre albums that belittle both his considerable talent and the sheer brilliance of Illmatic.

Between 1996 and late 2001, Nas morphed into a studio gangsta, and seemingly turned his back on the audience that initially supported him. He was struggling with his career due to his beef with other artists. But did not give up and did a comeback with this album "God's Son. Nas has been marginalized by the hip-hop community, but still had been greatly affected by the beef with Jay-Z. The shadows of these ghosts can be found throughout God's Son: he mentions the affair in no less than three songs, and on the "Last Real Nigger Alive", details his various beefs with Wu-Tang, Biggie, and Jay. If nothing else, the track is a revealing, semi-objective look at the long-rumored beef between various other artists.

The beauty of this album, of course, lies not in gossip, but in the emotional range and lyrical complexity Nas injects. While he does give nods to the street on the grimy "Get Down", reminiscent of Illmatic's "New York State of Mind", Nas also acknowledges that life isn't as straightforward as it once was; on the Eminem-produced "The Cross", Nas references his mother's death, then raps, "And I don't need much but a Dutch, a bitch to fuck/ A six, a truck, some guns to bust/ I wish it was that simple." The pain of loss saturates the album, manifesting in various spots as a source of strength, sorrow, and regret. It makes its presence known on the excellent "Warrior Song": "Earlier this year I buried my queen in a gold casket/ Your mother's the closest thing to God that you ever have, kid/ I'm askin', what would you do at your own mom's funeral?/ Wanna pick her up out of it, this can't be real/ Tellin' my daughter grandma's gone, but I can't keep still."

The self-examination that inevitably accompanies the death of a loved one has also provoked a renewed sense of socio-political