XXL Mag gives Nas' "Life Is Good" a XXL rating

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 5 years ago '08        #1
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bkid 125 heat pts125
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XXL Mag gives Nas' "Life Is Good" a XXL rating
 

 
The last line of Nas’ Illmatic still rings true 18 years later. The Queensbridge lyricist never fell. He never ceased to be celebrated as one of the most revered wordsmiths in the game, but—though he’s continued to cement his legendary status with solid efforts album after album—he hasn’t come close to matching his best works in quite some time. The tide, though, has changed with Nas’ 10th LP, Life Is Good.

As has historically been the case, Nas is at his best when facing adversity. His last two superior releases—2001’s Stillmatic and 2002’s God’s Son—were inspired by his heated rivalry with Jay-Z and the death of his mother, respectively.

This time around, a divorce with R&B singer Kelis and reports of outstanding tax liens are at the center of his topical palette, which still ranges from fly sh-t to revolutionary ideals, as evidenced on the opening number, “No Introduction.” “Hood forever, I just act like I’m civilized/Really what’s in my mind is organizing a billion Black muthafu-kas/To take over JP and Morgan Goldman and Sachs/And teach the world facts and give Saudi they oil back,” he rhymes. He comes closest to addressing his alleged financial troubles on the No I.D.-produced, “Loco-Motive.” “I started out broke, got rich, lost paper then made it back/Like Trump bein’ up down up, play with cash,” he offers.

Creatively, Nas continues to reinvent the wheel. He takes reckless shooters to task on “Accident murderers” featuring Rick Ross—the LP’s only rap guest appearance—and retraces his fatherly missteps on “Daughters.” On the Amy Winehouse-assisted, “Cherry Wine”—a song that sounds like a lost cut from the British singer’s Frank sessions—Nas fantasizes about his dream girl, before coming to terms with his failed marriage on “Bye Baby.” Over Salaam Remi’s sampling of Guy’s “Goodbye Love,” Nas finds closure with a heartfelt letter to Kelis. “Wanted you as my shorty since before I saw you screamin’, ‘Hate you so much right now’/Should’ve saw the man in angry Black women/Actions of a demon—I’m leaving,” he spits.

Nas’s beat selection has long been called into question, but not this time. Salaam Remi and No I.D. split the bulk of the production for a cohesive sound bed filled with soul and jazz overtones. Though the Swizz Beatz-produced, “Summer on Smash” has potential to garner radio play, it feels out of place and is the disc’s only substandard moment.

Still, Life Is Good is arguably Nas’s best album since Stillmatic. In a climate where substance is scarce, Life Is Good is necessary. It’s potent from the excellent cover art to Nas’s sharp bars. It’s balanced. The Queens MC is open, but not emo. Hard, but thought-provoking.

On “Reach Out,” Nas rhymes, “And you become better than legends you thought were the greatest.” Again, the nasty MC’s words ring true. At this juncture—21 years and 10 solo albums in—no other MC has ever rhymed at such a high level this deep into their career. Not Rakim. Not Kool G Rap. Not Slick Rick. Not Big Daddy Kane. No One. —Carl Chery (@cchery)


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 Nas, Life Is Good | XXL

77 comments for "XXL Mag gives Nas' "Life Is Good" a XXL rating"

 5 years ago '09        #2
klm1015 10 heat pts10
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Thats whats up. It deserves it. Also Im happy you posted this before that queer SM
 5 years ago '11        #3
GrindPOWER$ 389 heat pts389
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 klm1015 said:
Thats whats up. It deserves it. Also Im happy you posted this before that queer SM
YEAH OVERALL I LIKE BLACK BOND AND ALL THE SINGLES...AND THE FACT SOMEBODY CALL SM A QUEER
 5 years ago '11        #4
Retro 83 heat pts83
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Deservedly so...
 5 years ago '07        #5
Dat_BK_Nicca 49 heat pts49
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nas won
 5 years ago '08        #6
bkid 125 heat pts125 OP
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now Nas tied with Kanye the rapper with most XXL rated albums with 3
 5 years ago '07        #7
RubbahBandMayn 6 heat pts
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I knew it
 5 years ago '11        #8
Kingpin 313 104 heat pts104
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Now everybody wants to take XXL seriously
 5 years ago '11        #9
Norcal 78 heat pts78
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Only site i actually read reviews from is HipHopDX, i'm interested in seeing what they give Life is Good
 5 years ago '09        #10
Ash10 21 heat pts21
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 Retro said:
Deservedly so...
forreal
 5 years ago '05        #11
dizzle trizzle 7 heat pts
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now watch everyone wanna do a song with nas lol
 5 years ago '04        #12
jae premier 
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rapreviews.com is usually a pretty good site for reviews as well. Hiphopdx can be pretty hit or miss because they have so many different people people submitting reviews its hard for me to get a feel of consistency
 07-17-2012, 03:26 PM         #13
Prophecy_projet 
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Seems like true heads like it and hipsters dont.

What else is new?
 5 years ago '10        #14
PrinceDeville25 24 heat pts24
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 Prophecy_projet said:
Seems like true heads like it and hipsters dont.

What else is new?
EXACTLY!

That's so funny to me. Basically

Meanwhile hip hop mags & sites like The Source, XXL, hiphopdx and others are going to praise it highly like I expected.
 07-17-2012, 03:37 PM         #15
Illstreet 
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 Kingpin 313 said:
Now everybody wants to take XXL seriously
Right...

Let's keep it consistent.

If you sh*t on XXL and say they are Biased in their Reviews any other time... Don't switch up now.

Still, that's a good look for the boy Nasir. Can't wait to listen tonight.
 5 years ago '05        #16
Tjerson 3 heat pts
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It's been a while since I enjoyed an album this much. Deserves the rating!

Can play this album front to back and when it's done...start the sh*t all over!
 07-17-2012, 03:41 PM         #17
TheMob 
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 5 years ago '08        #18
Eagles All Day 87 heat pts87
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although summer on smash is unlistenable....trust though
 5 years ago '05        #19
Nickel 118 heat pts118
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 Kingpin 313 said:
Now everybody wants to take XXL seriously
this....I can't wait to see how people react if Pitchfork gives him like a 9 or a 10....let's be consistent....

now as far as the rating i don't have a real problem with it...
 5 years ago '04        #20
justinjones 307 heat pts307
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 Kingpin 313 said:
Now everybody wants to take XXL seriously
i have to agree with him for once
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