Published by Fran Cava
After a 2 year album hiatus Nasty Nas has returned in 2020 with his 13th LP titled King’s Disease. I think we’d all like to forget the project he released last year, and since it was just a compilation of throwaways its not even worth talking about. His 2018 project Nasir however, wasn’t exactly the most adored by critics and fans. The beats by Kanye were labeled as too overpowering, and Nas seemed as if he couldn’t keep up to the fast looping beats on songs like “Cops Shot the Kid”. This time around Yeezy stepped aside and stayed in Wyoming, while the album was executively produced by the Californian producer Hit-Boy. You can tell Nas took notes and listened to the criticisms of his last few efforts, as the beats used were less grand. Now his rapping would once again take precedent over the beats that outshined him on his former project. On Nasir Kanye got carried away at times, whereas Hit-Boy was more subtle. He really showed a keen ability to produce old-school type soulful cuts, like on the track “Full Circle”, that is reminiscent of Madlib on Pinata. While some cuts were softer like “All Bad”, Hit-Boy was also able to channel his inner RZA on the head banging beat of “Blue Benz”. The song sounds like it was cut out of the 90s, and could fit on Liquid Swords seamlessly.
The potential message the album is trying to portray lies in the name. King’s Disease, now know as Gout, is a form of arthritis caused by the over indulgence of rich foods and alcohol. In his pen game Nas does his fair share of boasting, pointing out things like his long tenure in the game, and the luxurious lifestyle that he has enjoyed. Like every Nas project ever, he also dabbled in parables surrounding his street life, some showing a darker side to him like how he portrayed himself on Illmatic. Obviously he has grown a lot since then, and in time has built a resume in the game that most cant touch hence why he himself may fall victim to the royal sickness. The King can only hold the throne for so long, and while Nas is not the king of rap currently, he’s been a main stay in the game for over two decades. This could be an indication that his place in the game is starting to fizzle out, but that he is content at where he lies. He did his thing on this project, flowing nicely over beats that fit his persona, and his wordplay is still top notch. He even went a bit out of his comfort zone adding a bunch of features, which is not typical for his studio albums particularly. Even stranger were the people he decided to work with like Lil Durk, Don Tolliver, and Fivio. Not that they were harmful to the project, just couldn’t envision them meshing well with him. Tolliver delivered a tolerable hook feature though on “Replace Me”, and the Durk/Fivio features were fun. The project was a pretty adequate length at just under 40 minutes, and in the 13 song track-list there really wasn’t a bad song. The weakest point of the album would be the underwhelming hooks, but for the most part his verses are good enough to carry a lot of the tracks. This is some of Nas’s best rapping since his Stillmatic days, and you can tell he was much more comfortable with the 90’s vibe Hit-Boy was giving.
Chemistry when making music is everything, and thats why under the reigns of Hit-Boy, Nas was able to elevate his game back to the elite level he was once was capable of. The project lacks a mainstream hit like “Adam and Eve”, but nonetheless is a complete cohesive record. While its not going to be an album of the year contender, its a more than solid project thats definitely going to be getting some spins. Covers dope too.
Album Score – 7/10 Red babies on the cover