||From the Vault...
© Columbia Records
Year of Release: 1999
N.Y. State Of Mind Pt. II
Hate Me Now
Favor For A Favor
See Me Tonight
I Want To Talk To You
Life Is What You Make It
Nas Is Like
Money Is My Bitch
Nas related sites:
Nas (Nasir Jones); [pronounced Naaz] -- is a Rap artist. His 1996 release, (which reached #1 on the Billboard
Album charts) -- It Was Written was, surpringsly, an album I was quite
impressed with. Nas is one of those rappers with a message; as most rappers relate their real-life experiences, and in
most cases, contained such stories of being poor, exposed to violence, and sexual harsh overtones.
As impressed as I was with It Was Written, I cannot say the same for I Am. Sure, the messages are
there, but for the most part, it was not just the stories told on It Was Written, it was the music that also
made the impressions. Some were catchy, some used references to other well-known songs.
True, the music and sampling are here on I Am, but what gets to me (as well as other music listeners who are
not necessarily fans of Rap), is the use of vulgar language. (How many times do we have to hear the term "mutha f**ka"
on "I Want To Talk To You" ?) The storyline is of violence, even bringing this up to the White House, as the
lyrics read. (Nice to see the lyrics are listed in the CD booklet.)
Another question is how can songs such as these (with the vulgar lyrics) get airplay on radio? Obviously they can't,
due to the nature of the words ("mutha f**ka" probably wouldn't go so well with commonday listeners). As most rappers
want to make their points in how they relate, their lyrics will most likely never be appreciated on regular radio.
Of course, there's Internet Radio -- where there are actual stations that allow such vulgarity in song lyrics that are played.
But for most audiences, they can and will refuse to listen to such shows that feature this kind of music. And in such,
if any show that plays a mix -- where they play songs that are enjoyed, yet a few vulgar rap tunes get played in the mix,
the audience just may walk away from that kind of shows too.
A more important question: Why is it, that Rap albums are released at the record stores as "Parental Advisory" versions?
Sure, there are "clean" versions of these Rap albums, but why aren't BOTH the parental advisory and clean versions available?
It seems the vulgar releases are the only albums available at the store, and maybe (just maybe), the clean version are
available. The parental advisory versoins will sell more, is my guess. Radio stations will get the clean versions, and
with the clean versions, maybe Rap music just wouldn't be as annoying and bad as everyone claims it to be. (Akon's song
"I Wanna Love You" is a perfect example. Way back when, another group, Bone Thugs-N-Harony released an "adult"
version of "Tha Crossroads." The "clean" version was the most popular, and a "clean" version of the album E. 1999
Eternal was released.)
But as for Nas, his messages are quite clear -- His graphically detailed life "in the hood" on "New York State Of Mind
Part 2"(Part 1 was from his debut release, Illmatic. "We Will Survive" is a dedication to fallen rap
stars Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G.). This tune also samples the song "This Is It" by Kenny
Loggins, especially their line "We'd always survive."
There aren't many major highlights, compared to It Was Written -- from that particular album, tracks such
as "Street Dreams" (similar to Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams"), and my personal favorite "If I Ruled The
World (Imagine That)" are easily enjoyable. But on "I Am" the highlights are slim -- the music on "Nas
Is Like" has somewhat potential. "Favor For A Favor" sounds more of an Eminem production.
Nas' It Was Written is far better than I Am. For true rap fans, I'm sure they enjoy I Am far
better than myself. Nas did have help from other fellow rappers on I Am -- Puff Daddy, Scarface, Aaliyah, and DMX.
Nas has had 4 of his albums reach #1: It was Written was his first, I Am his second. Hip Hop Is Dead
became his third, his fourth was Untitled. As of the year 2011, he has released ten albums.
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