Nastradamus - Nas

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Nastradamus - Nas

1 CD(s) - Rap - Label: Columbia - Distributor: F-Minor; Sony Music/Arvato Services, F-Minor - Released: 10/12/2001 - 5099749531222

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75% positive

4 reviews from the community

Review of "Nastradamus - Nas"

published 08/07/2001 | stoolie74
Member since : 07/06/2001
Reviews : 44
Members who trust : 37
About me :
Excellent
Pro Truly represents the best of the hip hop genre
Cons Not for those who like Eminem or Will Smith
very helpful
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Lyrics
How does it compare to the artist's other releases

"Ignoring the gangster-rap image"

Firstly let's dispense with the formalities. I have listened to rap music from the tender age of thirteen, but I am not a street kid or from a ghetto. I love the culture that is represented by this kind of music, but I don't wander around all day in baggy jeans, covered in gold, shouting 'wassup' at random passers-by. I have never tried to rebel against my parents or become involved in street crimes, I don't buy or sell drugs, don't spend all my time swearing and grabbing my crotch (unless it's really hot) and have a great deal of respect for women, except for maybe Anthea Turner.

In short, I am not Ali G.

Despite rap music being directly associated with violence, drugs and abuse of women, this does not imply that those people who listen to it are up-and-coming homies (short for homeboy- a close friend, associate). This is in no way an attempt to condone or endorse the behaviours and attitudes conveyed by the hip-hop genre, but merely to explain that despite the publicity, there is a great deal more to rap music than Eminem.

Nas is one of those contributors. ‘Nastradamus’ is his fourth album and demonstrates clarity of understanding and insight into present day culture. This is a rapper that is not a slave to the self-fulfilling prophecy that affects so many of the artists in this culture. He has not succumbed to the big guns, big women, cars, money and drugs ideology that the majority of his contemporaries have. So many times we see in the paper how rap artists have been arrested for one crime or another, despite having a clean record before they became famous. It is sad to see so many fall prey to the strength of their own publicity.

Nas probably sits back and laughs to himself. His music neither condones nor encourages violence in any way, it merely reflects it. Tracks like 'shoot 'em up' show the blasé attitude that is often associated with street violence and mixes it with an eerily Christmassy backing track. It is in avoiding the portrayal of the gangster stereotype that causes Nas to truly shine.

His insight into the future is presented perfectly in 'New World’; an incredibly intelligent track with the sounds of Toto's 80's hit 'Africa' infused with the gospel singing throughout. There is a lesson in this particular song for all of us, especially for those, like me that spend too much time on these infernal machines,

'Alexander Graham-Bell made telephones, yes,
But now we request for your e-mail address.
I may be old-fashioned, stuck in my ways,
But nothing would make me more happy than to SEE you today.'

Nas's music is filled with lyrics of this precision and his words carry with them the burden of a greatly troubled mind. Now, don't get me wrong, this is not Will Smith, the language for some would be enough to concrete their already poor opinion of this entire form of expression. It is however, like it or not, the fastest growing musical influence and easily outsold Rock music last year in the States.

His story telling ability is evident in most of the tracks, but above all this, his words are truly thought provoking. This is evident in the song ’God love us’ where he describes how Jesus (Nas has a very strong faith) loves the criminals as much as the righteous, for when he was crucified, these were the people that were with him to the end. Now, this is not a popular opinion, I’m sure, but it does set the old brain working. He continues to change the convention of rap music as a violent and aggressive medium with lyrics that challenge rather than disgust;

‘Those who know don’t talk and those who talk don’t know a thing.’

The music itself is difficult to listen to, it is raw and heartfelt and that is reflected in his use of strong beats, continuously looped orchestral music and contrasted with graphic images and even more graphic guest rappers. This is not music for the faint-hearted, it is explicit and publicised as such, but for those who are taking their first tentative steps into the genre, this is an education and an essential buy.

There is something still a little unacceptable about this kind of music, it pushes boundaries and offends a great many people, but the same could be said of other popular mediums. If offence is caused, it is understandable, but to merely dismiss this entire culture is to ignore some truly remarkable and different sounds.

Nas is one of the most intelligent and forthright young artists to avoid the great ‘pop-rap’ commercial machine but it isn’t to everyone’s taste. I appreciate every argument that comes forth about hip-hop, but it is a genre that is original, frank and innovative and Nas demonstrates the epitome of all these qualities.

I love this album for it’s quality of musical expression and it’s innovative style, even my fiancée enjoys it (to a degree). I still won’t tell my Mum and Dad that I listen to it. They think I like Steps. There is a musical genre that should carry a parental advisory sticker.

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Comments on this review

  • jefferson published 18/07/2001
    Superb review of the album!
  • timmyotoole published 09/07/2001
    Arghh rap music... I don't like the artists or the music so I guess this ain't for me. The usual high standard op though, well done, Timmy.
  • crustypaul published 09/07/2001
    One day these people are gonna run out of musicals to sample and then it's all gonna be over for hip-hop. If you are into hiphop without all this gangster crap and with positive messages then find a copy of 'Hipocrisy is the greatest luxury' by The Disposable Heros of Hiphoprisy. Or go and read my op on it. Cheers, good op mate.
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Product Information : Nastradamus - Nas

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Rap - Label: Columbia - Distributor: F-Minor; Sony Music/Arvato Services, F-Minor - Released: 10/12/2001 - 5099749531222

Product Details

EAN: 5099749531222

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