Nas - Nas' Tenth Album 'Illmatic' Shows A Pleasing, Mature Edge
The anticipation has been high for the return of Nas, the 38 year-old breaking out as one of the finest MCs in the game during hip-hops golden age of the early 90s with his 1994 album 'Illmatic'. He's maybe not hit those 90s heights since, but a career featuring some nine studio albums has led to the rapper maintaining a huge following throughout.
'Life Is Good' is Nas' first album in four years since 2008's 'Untitled' and the consensus with critics seem to be that the one-time prodigy is returning to a form some thought he may have long lost. Many are attributing that to the fact that the artist has completely stripped back to basics and isn't trying to go with what's currently on trend in the hip hop game. "There's no ill-advised bandwagon-jumping here. Just Nas doing exactly what he does best" writes the Nme in their 8/10 review, whilst The Huffington Post comments "Nas manages to make a clean break with the past by submersing himself and us in it." That same review also makes note of late singer Amy Winehouse's contribution on the track 'Cherry Wine', arguing that her presence "paints him in a surprising light where he is unshackled by the stereotypical rap views of women."
The Guardian meanwhile comments "Maturity suits the ever-articulate rapper, and his recollections of his early years as a Queensbridge hustler - just the kind of unsuitable young man he's warning his daughter about these days - have added resonance here".