When I first heard that Nas was releasing a new CD a few months ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. He’s always been one of my favorite rappers, but not necessarily someone I would listen to every day (weird how that works, huh?). Then I heard the single “Daughters” and really liked the great message against the gritty production. But I was still a little skeptical. This past Tuesday, July 17, 2012, I decided to go out on a whim and purchase the CD. I will start by saying Life Is Good is well worth the buy.
The CD opens with the track “No Introduction”. The production here is dramatic and even sounds eerily similar to the production on the Kirk Franklin song, “Don’t Cry” from his Rebirth….CD. His lyrics here are sharp as ever and he proves why he still has so many loyal fans after all these years. The steam continues to drive throughout “Queens Story”, a street opus where Nas raps “I never claimed to be the toughest/The I’m to blame for a few faces reconstructed” and sets the tone for the ironically addictive “Accident Murderers, featuring Rick Ross.
Producers Salaam Remi and No I.D. crafted most of the tracks on Life Is Good. I think this was a great match and Nas’s lyrics are complemented well here. In my opinion, No I.D. and Salaam Remi are 2 very underrated producers. Six songs in, Nas still goes strong and teams up with Mary J. Blige on the feel good, throwback “Reach Out”. I could easily hear this on the radio as a single from the CD. Speaking of collaborations, perhaps the most surprising collaboration on Life Is Good comes from Amy Winehouse. Their song, “Cherry Wine” will surely gain even more crossover appeal for Nas. It has a mellow groove that speaks about finding the type of woman who Nas really wants. “Bye Baby” is a shoe in for a single, and in a sense is the B side to “Cherry Wine”. The song samples the R & B classic, “Goodbye Love” by Guy. In just 3 minutes and 59 seconds, Nas gives a full and detailed account of his love for ex-wife, Kelis, their wedding day, wild nights on the town, infidelity, the birth of their son, and their bitter divorce.
If real hip hop is what you’ve been missing, you should definitely check out Life Is Good. Even though we’re only half way through 2012, I’m sure this will be in my top 5 Hip Hop CDs of the year. There are some great songs on the deluxe edition too, so make sure you go and pick it up!