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Music Review: Nas – Untitled

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Whether you call it Untitled or Nas or Nigger, one thing’s for sure: this is probably the best hip-hop album of the year.

Nas is often so good, so exact, and so on-point that it’s chilling to listen to him. He is one of the best in hip-hop today and is quickly becoming one of the most contentious and insightful. After tangling with Bill O’Reilly over the Virginia Tech shootings and his lyrical content, Nas dropped a greatest hits record with two new tracks to close the deal.

In October of 2007, Nas announced that he had a new album in the hopper and that he was going to call it Nigger. After receiving support for the title from L.A. Reid at Def Jam, Alicia Keys, Ice Cube, Common, LL Cool J, and a host of other performers and producers, Nas ultimately changed the name of the album to Untitled under pressure from management. Apparently an album called Nigger wouldn’t get sold in Wal-Mart. “The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it," Nas told AllHipHop.com.

Regardless of what the record is called or how he adjusted his title, this is some seriously vibrant hip-hop. It’s Nas back doing what he does best: not giving a fuck, closing his eyes, spitting fire.

Many of his past albums have often existed in the shadows of Illmatic, as Nas has tried to recall the past grandeur and live-up to the hype. Some albums, like Nastradamus, simply lacked the fire that he was always capable of.

But he’s back again and isn’t worried with what other people think. Nas is making music from the depths, mining the bottom to pull up the filth and shed the light of day on it. He talks politics and gets unflinchingly controversial, keeping a theme that would make KRS-One and Public Enemy envious.

The guest list is thin and fairly free of A-listers, save for Chris Brown and The Game on “Make the World Go Round” and Busta Rhymes on “Fried Chicken.” For the most part, it’s just Nas being Nas. It’s almost Illmatic all over again, only this time he dares to go deeper.

Unreservedly intellectual and frighteningly eloquent, Nas is filled with blistering fury. This is a sly master hard at work doing what he does best. He cuts to the bone and resolutely leaves no stone unturned in his mission to bare his soul and deliver an uninhibited polemic pointed at the State of the Nation.

Nas tackles the prospect of President Obama (“Black President”) and guts Rupert Murdoch’s wretched kingdom (“Sly Fox”) with no leniency. He indefatigably nails down the African American struggle on “N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and the Master),” a poignant track with Nas at his lyrical best.

Nas has crafted a masterpiece of hip-hop with Untitled. This is an album that shames all lesser works plainly because it’s so damn excellent. An intuitive and concentrated attack on just about everything, Untitled is going to be tough to beat this year from the hip-hop community. Nas is back and more dangerous than ever.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • sully412

    NaS Top Ten

    1. Illmatic
    2. Nigger
    3. Stillmatic
    4. God’s Son
    5. It Was Written
    6. Lost Tapes
    7. I Am
    8. Streets Disciple
    9. Nastradamus
    10. Hip-Hop Is Dead

  • TRUTHBTOLD

    This is a fair review of the N****R album. I can not agree with you more – this album is classic and takes some time to digest like a pianted work of art. A Picaso – A Michael Angelo – A DiVinci of Hip Hop. An awareness lesson – This is a grown man/women listen to Nas’ view and the views of many. He has done it masterfully and with eloquence. True – it’s not for everyone, but for those that respect a message in a song this is definately a good look. Will be up there for Best Album of the year.

  • Knowledge God

    This is one of the top ten albums in hip hop history. Top 5 Lyrically. Nas’s third best album after the untouchable Illmatic, and the most lyrical/best story telling/most creative “It Was Written”. To say this album is album of the year is not saying enough. This album is the best since 1996!

  • BoChosen

    Brilliant album. Nas is a visionary, always has been and always will be. He’s a man for the people and a menace to those who attempt to divide one from the soul. He’s about erasing barriers with the concepts of inclusion, creativity, wisdom, evidence, life experience, and spirituality. His mission has NOTHING to do with race, but everything to do with surviving and living. With the New World Order and various agendas in place, unity is the solution. He’s one of many who can overstand the climate of oppression and express the ideas & concepts to expose it. He challenges the people to think, which is the starting blocks for man to prosper. Regain your awarness and take back the power. His genious cannot be rivaled, only added to… A prophet of our times.

  • sebastain

    i bought two albums because this is a masterpiece. NAS is the best, period!!! might go buy another one to give it to someone that cant afford it.

  • BC

    nas has maybe good lyrics but his music sucks i get bored if i hear his music.

    2pac is still the best never will someone surpress he has the best lyrics and voice he did it from his heart .

  • Kamar

    From here in nigeria i stil recognice dis MAN wit such verbal attitude.nas is no.1

  • nba

    its not everytime that nas comes out with bad beats,,,most of his tracks are desent and the lyrics are killing,,so he still get the number one spot…right now am feeling ice cube gangster rap ft nas and scarface….real people feel nas.. straight from 9ja

  • nealis101

    definatly not in the top 10 in hip hop history whoever wrote that doesnt know rap its better than his last black president is the best track on there in my opn but if you want to hear nas at his best you should be buyin illmatic, it was written, stillmatic or streets desciple its a solid album overall but hez done better

  • Joshua

    If want to go out thats how u go out..This is passion

  • sergio

    i’m a n*gga living in china and i think this album is his best. i think it’s better than illmatic because he’s discussing much deeper issues and he has matured so much more musically since. like all deep albums, the tracks only get better each time you listen to them versus bad albums that sounds good at first and then lose its novelty. the world is going through a rough time and its about to get worse, so its good to see that we have revolutionaries like nas showing everyone whats up. holla back

  • Isaac.

    Nas has always been the best rapper of all ages. He has done it again and has literally blown my brains out with this one. This is a masterpiece and if you don’t have it go get one and get me one as well!

  • zion

    nas hmm the best rapper alive what else nothing else lil wayne should take lessons he got potential too to be great.

  • Jameel

    i’ve grown up listening to nas and this is his worst album yet. props to brian tramel

  • greysie

    I cant believe nas still got it most nigs die out after the second album,keep doing it nas!!

  • Vianney

    Nasir is a word smith and legendary.crooks at his back.he understands dis rap shit better.his different from all niggers.he got into dj khalids’ ‘im on’ and turnd it into a classic shit.thats new york rapper,he floss with diamond and the rest fell off in rhymin

  • Meta4

    Untitled is the best Nas album ever.Its the kind of album that requires 10 listens to truly appreciate it.Classic.Better than illmatic, the most complex and insightful album,especially in an era of rappers like Weezy,TI,50.On par if not above par with Public Enemies_It takes a Nation of millions…Cant compare to Illmatic because of the different times they were released in.Illmatic set an unprecedented standard,Illmatic saw Nas taking Rakim’s style and lyricism further than anyone expected.As far as complexity and insight illmatic cant compare to untitled.Untitled is better but due to the legend that is Illmatic once again people will keep saying:”please God,let him spit that uzzi in the army linen”

  • jefff

    sully412 hip hop is dead deserves more credit than that. its definately not number 10.

    but yeah, Untitled is an amazing album. Album of the year for sure.

  • jai

    I would say best album of this year….Better than Illmatic???? NO way in HEll… Illmatic is classic in so many ways; and untouchable is where that stands! No further discussion on that. However, this album ranks maybe his 4th best alltime. I would rank 1st from Illmatic, Stillmatic, God’s Son & then this….

  • B.C 3000

    dope stuff from one of the greatest ever, wish pac was here to c that he created a monster. nas is the best, humble and talented, we should all be glad to have lived in his lifetym

  • Michael

    1.Illmatic 5/5
    2.It Was Written 5/5
    3.God’s Son 4.5/5
    4.The Lost Tapes 4.5/5
    5.Untitled 4/5
    6.Streets Disciple 4/5
    7.Stillmatic 3.5/5
    8.Hip Hop Is Dead 3.5/5
    9.I Am… 3/4
    10.Nastradamus 1.5/5

  • nolo

    Legen, wait for it dary, smacking album peeps in south africa are trading thier Jigga albums for a Nas collection

  • Mzwandile Mbatha (South Africa)

    When I first heard hip-hop is dead, i was blown away in a way that I’ve never been, the quality of both the production, the colabo’s and even nas himself! yes illmatic, stillmatic, god’s son and it was written were probably better, but not the rest.. My favourite nas right now is streets diciples disc 2, but thats only because I’m at that point in my life.. everyone has a different top 10.

  • jay

    Nas worst album by far. Garbage beats, garbage lyrics, one song he’s rapping about fried chicken, same boring delivery he’s always had. It gets a 0 from me.