Review by Johnny Storm
Kings Disease is the 13th album from Nas. Hit-Boy developed a smooth uplifting vibe for Nas to express his thoughts with this project. Most of the album is based on positivity and black love. Of course Nas spits his usual boastful bars with intellect only a true Hip Hop fan can appreciate. All of the features make perfect sense when you listen to the album. The only one that I felt was useless was Don Toliver on the song “Replace Me”. Also I felt let down by Foxy Brown’s verse on Full Circle, which is a dope fuckin song! Other than that every track is Dope. Nas is one of the very few Emcee’s that have been able to maintain the same level of integrity in his flow throughout his entire career. This is a main factor in why he’s considered a legend.
Nas is notorious for his beats being unpopular and I get it but if you look at his entire catalog you can’t dismiss the Timbaland joints, DJ Premiere joints.. Shit he did with Dr. Dre. It’s not like he doesn’t have bangers but this album isn’t something I would consider dope as fuck with crazy hits. It’s more of a laid back, listen to some gems type of project. Hit-Boy did make a couple hard hittin’ joints on there but the general feel of King’s Disease is laid back.
As I’m writing this a couple things popped up in my news feed about the King’s Disease album. One, Joe Budden is highlighted for being so called disrespectful about the track listing. After watching his podcast… I have to mention what he was saying was not disrespectful in anyway. If you take everything into account, the state of hip hop, the failed attempts of many rappers trying to stay relevant, he makes perfect sense in thinking the way he did about the track listing. The great thing about it was he listened to the album and his assumptions were proved wrong. That’s a good thing! 2. The Doja Cat line on “Ultra Black” seems to be an issue with some… to keep it simple, it shouldn’t be an issue. He literally is saying Black and Doja Cat is the opposite of that. That’s not a positive or negative thing. It’s not a shot. It just is… No malice behind it in my opinion.
In conclusion, King’s Disease is dope. It’s not a disappointment at all. This is a w for Hip Hop. I would say my favorite joints on this project are Blue Benz, All Bad, 27 Summers and Spicy.
The song that kicks off the latest project from Nas comes in smooth with a heavy baseline. The classic boasting begins immediately with “I made the fade famous, the chain famous / QB on my chest match the stainless”. Sounds like a cut from a soundtrack for a Spike Lee joint. No hook, which works for this song. Basically he’s separating himself and other kings from the weirdoes as stated “You should want every brother to make it out / But brothers want trophies, they troll for clout / Rap is weird, weird flex, but okay / You ain’t as ill as you think, you just okay”. Nas flexes his multisyllabic rhyming skills sporadically throughout his verse. Rhyming with no compromise to the message, a true Hip Hop artist.
Replay Value 9
Definitely reminds me of NY State of Mind. Same vibe for the most part but then it switches up a little about 16 bars in I think to talk about a chick with a blue Benz. “I knew this chick, she had a blue Benz A Jersey penthouse / she used to pimp girls that would turn rich men out /Her coke habits was so savage / She hear voices and see ghosts on the average / Of her stepdad, he raised her from a carriage”. Another nontraditional song with no hook just straight bars with a break in between verses with a snippet of Louie Rankin.
Replay value 9
Car #85 ft. Charlie Wilson
Again Hit-boy with that hard smooth ass beat. These two are the perfect match. The background vocals from Charlie Wilson fill out the beat while Nas spits his shit. Basically reminiscing in relation to riding through the streets of NY. Of course whats a Nas joint without a lil boasting. He raps “I’m certified /That’s been verified / My mere presence got other guys terrified / Slap oxygen out your esophagus / I survived with stick up kids, was droppin’ shit“. Overall dope song.
Replay Value: 8
Ultra Black ft. Hit-Boy
I like how the beat starts off and Nas comes right in with the hook. Once He begins his verse that’s where the beat loses me. The beat would have been flawless if it didn’t have that extra instrument coming in at the 40 second mark. Luckily it’s only in a small portion of the song. I love the message. Nas is boasting about Black as a culture and being prideful in the positivity involved in being black. He mentioned Doja Cat in a manner which some found like a jab but I took it more as he was simply drawing a comparison between what’s literally black and something that isn’t. Same as he did with naming Michael Blackson. Check out the lyrics. “Sometimes I’m over-black / even my clothes are black / Cash Money with the white tee and the soldier rag / We goin’ ultra black / unapologetically black The opposite of Doja Cat/ Michael Blackson black”. What you think? Seems harmless to me. Not only is this a dope track but it definitely needed in these times.
Replay Value 7
Beat is hard. Right off the rip joint knocks. The flow is crazy. “27 Summers, that wasn’t even the goal”. Basically talking about the run Nas has been on since his first release, Illmatic. My only issue with this song is the simple fact it’s only a hundred ninety two seconds. “Black-grown, black-owned / Black women is the backbone /Latin food in the back room / Big business, I’ma drop a new ‘gnac soon/ Followin’ the cash rules”. He’s letting you know his current state of living and thinking.
Replay Value 9
Replace Me ft. Big Sean & Don Toliver
I can listen to this album front to back without skipping 1 song EXCEPT this one. I don’t care for the beat and the hook is ear piercingly bad. The content is good. But I can’t listen to this song outside of review purposes. Big Sean fit right in the song. His flow definitely merged with the beat creating the perfect vibe during his verse . The hook is like nails on a chalk board for me. Difficult for me to rock with this.
Replay Value: 0
Til The War Is Won
Nas kicks off the song with no drum or baseline just a light piano melody which he raps over with positive advice for black women “You know I love you different/my queen, my mother, sister / Protect you with my life, let’s deconstruct the myth uh/ You just depressed or bitter / only good for sexin’ wichya / Let’s dismantle that, it’s a man you lack / You don’t need us, you could handle that / Let’s see where the black family at”. The song in it’s entirety Nas is just saying Black people as whole need to do better but the women should be treated with more care and respect for the pain, sacrifices and suffering they endure. Lil Durk comes in on the chorus to add a typical auto tuned mumble rap flow to the song. It works though because he’s not just mumbling. There is a message. It creates a good mix between a lyrical meaningful song and something the younger generation would listen to. A beautiful song.
All Bad ft Anderson . Paak
I might be bias to this song because I’m currently going through what Nas is rapping about in this song… Damn near word for word. I probably played this song 150 times over the last 2 days. One minute she got you feeling like a king next minute she goes bad on you. Being a trophy or eye candy isn’t going to cut it when you need a queen to stand by a king’s side. When you truly fall for a woman the breakup will have you sick. Nas touches on these ideas and more with bars like “Wasn’t meant for me, fuck it, we ain’t agree on no subject / We look good together when we was out in the public” and “You used to brighten my day, had me hype as a kid / First, good morning, good night, now she leave me on read / I’m disappointed, it’s different chicks who want it / Can’t lie, for a minute, I was sick to my stomach”.
Anderson .Paak Voice blends perfectly with the beat. I never heard of him but I will check him out because of the talent he presented on this song.
Hit-Boy went smooth and mellow for this one. Traditional Nas cadence. This song has no flaws.
Replay Value 9
Upbeat, victorious feeling brought in by Brucie B. This song fits right in with pro black positivity while pointing out some ill of our society. “Tape telephone conversations, what kind of nation / Got three hundred million people they investigating? / I know they’re tryna watch me, a Russian oligarchy / Politically, it’s principle they try to stop me / Powerful people will silence you, they try to mute you / Unethical ways put you in prison, try to roof you”. Another dope song cut. I think at least one more verse would have been good for the song but still dope.
Obviously any fan of Nas was feeling anxious to hear this song. Im going to start with what I did not like about this cut. Foxy, I felt her verse was off topic and subpar. I haven’t liked the last few things I’ve heard from her though. Saying shit like “No cap though, facts though, nigga, that’s really rap, though Like really though, my nigga, she really back though Like really though, my nigga, she really rap though” just wasn’t sitting right with me. I did not see the track listing before I listened to the album. I say that because for the first bar or two on the last verse I thought it was Nature. The voice sounded very similar but I when the rhymes weren’t hittin I realized it was Dre. I’m not happy Nature was missing from this joint. Also on his Breakfast club interview Nas, when asked, didn’t actually answer why Nature wasn’t involved but eluded to Nature not ever really being considered part of the actual Firm group rather a feature on the album which I don’t buy especially when Nature was on damn near half of The Firm album. Now What I did like… Nas killed it. AZ Killed it. Cormega Killed it. Emcee’s of this caliber have the cards stacked against them. To be able to consistently crush songs and verses this deep into their careers is unrealistic. Yet they do it. It’s what separates the legends from the rest. Obviously Nas held it down as always but my Favorite verse is between AZ and Cormega. They both just are ridiculous with the flow. The beat definitely sounds like a “Firm” beat. The song itself sounds like its right off The Firm album. Hit-Boy did that right.
“King, Michael Jordan gives back and you didn’t know it / Like LeBron does, but it’s just seldom they show it” Nice! Nas just spittin facts as usual. This song continues the theme of self empowerment for people of similar lifestyles. Droppin jewels and advice for his fellow men and women. “They hardly happy for you, keep doing what you do / You can’t please everybody, and not everybody is you / Don’t try to force a square peg in a round circle / that shit’ll hurt you”. Beat knocks. The hook is uplifting and simple.
Minus the bonus track this is the closing track of the project. Definitely has an outro / closing feel to it when the beat comes in. Once again Nas gets right into before the drums hit the beat. “Too many changes / you changed from your greatness / Become a byproduct of yourself all for the paper regardless / The markets see you as a old-ass artist / The McCartneys live past the Lennons, but Lennon’s the hardest”. I assume the name of this track is to say he’s cured of the disease. Or maybe the album in its entirety is a cure for anyone dealing with the disease? Dope closing track.
Spicy (Bonus Song)
Now this is the type of shit I like to hear Nas on. The beat is hard as fk. Nas kicks off the track talkin dat shit “Boss shit / your Lordship / Niggas talkin’ yachts since I’m on shit I used to run the block, now I’m corporate / Hoppin’ out, you know it’s Son when the doors lift”. Of course all this is before the kicks and snares hit as usual. Just an act dumb, talk shit track. Nas killed his verse. Im not familiar with the rapper Fivo Foreign but I didn’t really care for his verse. It was extremely average. He raps “I could bag any bitch in these all-white Nikes /That ain’t right/ if she tell me, “No”, I’m gettin’ tight”. Nothing spectacular here. A$AP Ferg went in on his verse. What’s funny is he damn near saying the same thin Fivo said but he did it with a lil effort, cleverness and wit as a true Emcee would. “Keep the vision through the lights / never blinded by the hype / Keep the Tommy near the belly, sincere ’cause I’m hype / Got a ghetto Naomi Campbell, designer with the Nikes/. Dope track. One of my favorites off this project.