The problem for living legends is that they have to live with their legends. This is especially so when their legend was a product of their youth and its mindset, which they outgrow, becoming legendary, but which you still see in them, knowing their legend much more than you know them. Imagine Achilles enfeebled. Imagine his pain and confusion if, having grown out of his strength, he looked still like a breaker of men.
Like this is Nas, who became famous with his second album, in 1996, but who made his name with his first album, "Illmatic," twenty years ago, and likes to rap about how he still [...]
Nice! This new Nas song (co-produced by the late Heavy D!) would indicate that the excellence of last year's "Nasty" was no fluke, and raises the hope that the new album, Life Is Good, is going to be good indeed, when it ever comes out. (He should change the album title before it does, though. Because, come on, hasn't he read that article in Wired, or the new report from the OECD? Life sucks.)
The British bass guitarist Terence "Jet" Harris died of cancer on Friday at the age of 71. I had never heard his name before, I don't think (and what an awesome name it is!) Though I'd heard and enjoyed some of his music—and, even more so, a lot of music that was made out of other recordings and samplings of music that he recorded first. And his life, I've learned over the past couple days, was a story of both great victory and sadness.
In the wake of the Summer of Death and the colossally major news that Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion (a number that means "death" in Cantonese and is therefore avoided at all costs-not in enumerations of 4, obvs-in addresses, car license plates, cell phone numbers, etc., and, cue ominous, chongy music) and because Mr. Nasir "Nas" Jones says that sleep is the cousin of death, we must report the (in some circles, equally) important news that the soporific in Nyquil (doxylamine succinate) is found in much higher doses elsewhere. Namely Unisom (25 mg per pill vs. 6.25 mg in a 15 ml dose).
Since his all-time classic debut album Illmatic came out in 1994, Nas has all-too rarely sounded as hungry and as honest and as at ease with his prodigious rhyme skills as he did when he said, "When it's real, you're doing this even without a record contract." Unfortunately, since he got a big record contract and accepted the pressure to make big radio hits and sell millions of albums, he's not well-suited for the sort of high-end production with melodic choruses that tends to enable that. He's better over simple, less-adorned breakbeats. (The kind rappers tend to rap to even without a record contract.) Fortunately, for his oldest [...]
The things you learn from Twitter. I signed on to Twitter two weeks ago. (Because you're supposed to now?) And so far it seems mostly like a way for me to write stuff in public which I will feel stupid about ten minutes after writing. I don't really know whether to go the "Hey, read this important news article" route, or the "I like green Tabasco sauce better than red Tabasco sauce" route. (Judging from the importance of the information in this post so far, I should probably stick with Tabasco.) But you do learn interesting stuff from Twitter. It is, if nothing else, a very fast-flowing stream of [...]
"With all do respect to you all, Nas is NOBODY's slave. This is not the 1800â€²s, respect me and I will respect you. I won't even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. People connect to the Artist @ the end of the day, they don't connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it. Yet time and time again its the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist's dream and aspirations. You don't help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don't even [...]
How about the Danish newspaper Politiken? Besides having such a great name-so verby and hip-hop-here's a publication that knows how to write a headline, even in the English translation version. "Drug Addict Orgy Of Violence" ?! A word-by-word analysis proves that headline has an 80% titillation factor. Then what follows: "A couple kidnapped on the island of Mors were confronted with an overdose, a chain saw and forced to dig their own graves. Six arrested."??!!! What choice do we have but to read this!
In the new Nicki Minaj video, Nicki is apparently involved in a love triangle with Nas, who buys her a car, and Chris Brown, who wears a jacket that looks like it's made out of boxer shorts. She's kissing Nas at the end, and it's like, "Phew, good choice!" But then there's a full moon and Nicki looks over Nas's shoulder and makes a crazy face into the camera like she's going to turn into a werewolf or a vampire or something like Michael Jackson in "Thriller" and then you wish she had chosen Chris Brown.
Here is a new video for a new Sade song. Well, pretty new. The song came out last month, one of four previously unreleased tracks on The Ultimate Collection. One of the others was a remix of "Moon and the Sky," featuring a verse rapped by Jay-Z. That one was kind of underwhelming to me. I think I'd be more interested in hearing Raekwon rap on a Sade song. There's a new video from him today, too. With Nas, for a song they did for Rae's recent Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang album.
Credit Jay Leno for making the effort (and you can tell it was some effort) to pronounce Nas' name correctly (so that it would rhyme with the British way of saying "vase" as opposed to the American pronunciation of "has," which is the common mistake.) Also, the Queens rapper and his collaborator, Bob Marley's son, Damian (whose hair must be incredibly heavy when it's wet), sounded good performing their bouncy reggae rap single "As We Enter" with a seven-piece band on The Tonight Show last night.