Nas - Bye Baby [Video]

For those that haven’t realised yet, Nas dropped the best album of the year in Life is Good. For those that did check that out, here is the video for one of my favourite tracks on that album. Following on from the excellent Daughters video, Nas delivers again.

Nas went through a pretty messy divorce with fellow celebrity Kelis, and in this song he documents the end of their marriage. What I love about this song is that on the face of it it seems quite sad, as Nas reminisces, but by the end of it you realise this is more of a celebratory track, as you can hear his relief that it’s over. Also, it’s quite interesting to go through his back catalogue from around 5 years ago and pick out this track where he documents his excitement of potentially marrying Kelis…as Nas once said: “A thug changes, and love changes and best friends become strangers…”

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Nas-Loco-Motive ft. Large Professor

There are only 15 days left until Life Is Good is released, and this song has tipped my excitement over the edge. Everything we’ve heard from the album so far has been excellent, but this? This is, by Nas’ own admission, ‘for my trapped in the 90′s n****s‘. That makes it extra awesome.

No ID serves up a production that’s up there with the grittier beats of the year, pushing punchy percussion together with ominous keys for a beat that transports you back to the 90′s within seconds. Nas’ raps are a great blend of clever, sharp and skilful, bringing snippets of the hunger of a young Nas together with the confidence and self-assuredness of the modern-day version, whilst the lyricism reflects on his aggressive street days, his come-up, and his current status in a nice blend of content. The Large Pro sample on the hook only serves to amp up the intensity of the track, and this is one of my favourite hip-hop tracks of the year. No question.

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Nas-Daughters Video

Pretty much every track Nas has let loose from Life Is Good has been met with a good reception, but arguably none more so than this one. It gained pretty much universal acclaim on its release a couple of weeks back, and Nas rightfully comes through with a clip for the single.

It’s a simple and effective video, interspersing close-ups of Nas with close-ups of his family life. There’s no facade here as its a part-celebratory part-biographical account of Nas’ relationship with his daughter, oftentimes being a very touching and heartwarming affair that I’m sure many parents will relate to. The progression of the video matches the honesty of the lyricism, following the difficulties surrounding the growth and maturity of his daughter, and painting a great picture of the hardships of being a celebrity parent, as Nas owns up to not bringing his daughter up in the best of circumstances whilst documenting her own misdemeanours.

It’s a great clip that makes for open, honest viewing and a refreshing, personal listen. Life Is Good due July 17th, and you can grab this single on iTunes right now.

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Cocaine 80s-Chain Glow ft. Nas

Given the vast amount of material that Common, James Fauntleroy, No I.D. and friends have released as Cocaine 80s, it’s a surprise I’ve not posted any of it on here. Nonetheless, they’ve started releasing more music recently after a few months off, and this is certainly the standout of the bunch courtesy of a great Nas verse.

Fauntleroy does a superb job with his harmonies throughout this one, taking on the soft yet atmospheric No I.D. production with a delicate delivery on the vocals, both in rapped and singing sections, working to really accetuate the high points of the beat and showcase his own abilities. The slick Nas verse contrasts excellently with the smooth vocal work that comes before and after it, with a razor-sharp delivery that definitely leaves you wanting more; clever move with his next album on the horizon. A really likeable effort that straddles the lines of soul, R&B and hip-hop very expertly.

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Nas-The Don Video

I’ve had this song on repeat since its release, as have many other hip-hop heads, and Nas now comes through with the visuals for the lead single from Life Is Good.

Stepping away from the grittier videos that feature heavily in his back catalogue, this one is full of luxuries, lavish living and a general air of celebration that adds a little more affability and positivity to Nas’ generally-serious image. Themetically though, it’s nothing groundbreaking as once you look beyond the change in style, it’s essentially a standard hip-hop video, though credit for the stunning aerial shots of NYC that are interspersed throughout the clip.

A decent video though and it supplements the audio well enough. Be sure to grab the single on iTunes now.

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Nas ft. AZ – Life’s A Bitch [Live]

So I’ve been meaning to post this up for a while now, but every time I go to do it I get distracted watching the entire Illmatic performance from Nas’ SXSW set. I’ve gone with his AZ joint venture here, but you’ll have to head over to YouTube and battle with that VEVO thing to watch the rest.

Things to note from this:

1. PREMO is on the decks!

2. AZ spits like it’s 1995 all over and I’m salivating for a potential new collab on either his or Nas’ upcoming LP.

3. The crowd is horrible. Like horrible. I feel bad for Nas. I mean, there he is performing the best hip hop album of all time. Live. With AZ. With Premo. And nothing.

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K’NAAN ft. Nas – Nothing To Lose (Remix) [Prod. Will.I.Am]

Will.I.Am jumps behind the boards to give the original a revamp.

Accompanied with the black and white visuals, the remix gives us a totally different feel, somewhat more classical and throwback. I feel this version suits the verses better, Nas’ obviously a particular highlight. This is the kind of thing I’d like to hear on whatever his new album is called. But alas, I expect trademark Nas with his terrible beat selection whilst trying to ‘push the envelope’.

K’NAAN’s More Beautiful Than Silence EP can be picked up over at iTunes.

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DJ Premier and Bumpy Knuckles ft. Nas – Turn Up The Mic (Remix)

This has that distinct Premo/Nas flavour, but yet still leaves me with a disappointing taste in my mouth. I haven’t listened to the album yet (which is out tomorrow, you can pick that up over here.) but from the several leaks we’ve heard, I’m yet to hear anything groundbreaking from your favourite producer’s favourite producer.

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Nas - The Don

Nasty Nas returns with a heater! The Don has been causing waves amongst fans across Twitter, and it’s not hard to see why. Nas has been pretty quiet over the last few years, passion projects aside, so when a new track of his does emerge – people listen.

It’s great to hear Nas rap with such energy, there’s certainly been a void in hip hop without him; one hopes this is a sign of what is to come.

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Mick Boogie-illadelph/matic (Rarities and Remixes of Nas and The Roots)

Whenever Mick pops up in my inbox, it’s always a source of excitement at what the gifted DJ has in store for us. Today, it’s a very intriguing project, as he pulls together an enticing collection of tracks from the vault, in addition to some unique reworks of popular tracks from both acts.

A huge 36-track lineup awaits those who give this one a go, as Mick excavates some interesting material from both Nas and The Roots that features the likes of Q-Tip, Slick Rick and more, in addition to a few collaborative Nas/The Roots tracks. The mixtape is ‘for Madden Bowl 2012–part of this year’s Superbowl events–which takes place Thursday in Indianapolis.  Madden Bowl 2012 features live performances from Nas and The (Legendary) Roots Crew and Mick‘. Check it out below.

Mick Boogie-illadelph/matic

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DJ Premier, Nas, The Berklee Symphony Orchestra-Regeneration Video

I must admit I slept on this track a little bit when it dropped a few weeks ago. But oh how I was wrong.

The visuals immeasurably add to the epicness of this track and paint a vivid picture of Premo’s journey in creating this envelope-pushing piece of history. After brief shots of Premo learning how to compose, the visual cuts back between the symphony hall and Preem’s studio equipped with Nas spitting his infectious poetry. I know this wasn’t supposed to be about Nas, but I just wished there was another verse floating around out there somewhere. We can only wait and hope.

Read Ajay’s thoughts on the track itself. 

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R&B Fridays: Episode 127

Why yes, it is a Friday!

2 relative newcomers and 2 very established artists in this week’s episode, providing plenty of diversity for all to enjoy. Whilst we’re on that number, there are 2 related posts to catch up on from the week gone by, with a SBTRKT remix of Frank Ocean’s Thinking About You, and a track from Mike Posner’s upcoming The Layover mixtape, with the full project set to drop at some point this weekend.

Click below for this week’s tasty morsels of audio replenishment.
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DJ Premier, Nas and The Berklee Symphony Orchestra-Regeneration

Follow DJ Premier, Mark Ronson, Skrillex, Pretty Lights and The Crystal Method as they remix, recreate and re-imagine five traditional styles of music. Our five distinctive DJs collaborate with some of today’s biggest musicians to discover how our musical past is influencing the future.

An incredible blend of styles here, as Preemo and Nas reunite over an excellent classical production. Dramatic strings swing the track across a variety of moods to open with, before focusing into a driven, uplifting style to back Nas’ ever-replayable raps. The orchestral work once again excellently shifts moods, whilst Preemo laces the symphony with some trademark scratches, enhancing that excellent crossover feel. Interestingly, ‘of all the takes, the one you hear is the “wild” version (which means they recorded it without the metronome in their headphones) and DJ Premier conducted himself’. Genuinely excellent, and a superb slice of eclecticism.

DJ Premier & The Berklee Symphony Orchestra-Regeneration ft. Nas

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Nas and Rick Ross-It’s A Tower Heist

Taken from the upcoming Tower Heist film (starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller), Nas hooks up with Rick Ross and Salaam Remi for an good all-rounder.

Remi serves up a bouncy production that boasts horn-influenced melodies and a simple, easygoing percussion, providing a smooth yet lively backdrop for both rappers. Nas opens with a decent verse, dropping off some smart lines in a slower flow, and pulls double duty with a memorable hook. Ross follows up with a solid verse of his own, with his hoarse delivery contrasting nicely with Nas’ slicker raps. Nothing particularly groundbreaking or game-changing, but a decent track that may rack up a few plays in the hip-hop listener’s library.

Nas-It’s A Tower Heist ft. Rick Ross

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Nas-Nasty Video

Much delayed visuals for Nas’ excellent single from way back in June, and hopefully a sign that the album is on the way.

The track only dropped out of my rotation recently, and Nas does a fine job at ensuring it’ll be re-entering with a solid video. Opening with a dichotomy of images as his more lavish side is interspersed with scenes of more basic studio shots, as the video evolves a bridge is built between each side in an extremely simple, logical manner. The extravagance is slowly shifted aside, as Nas returns to the streets in a celebratory mood, with the middle section in particular going some distance to add some positivity to ‘hood’ scenes that are usually presented in a darker, more aggressive manner, whilst the video closes with the very studio footage shown throughout, finishing the piece off with a clever, holistic ending. Uncomplicated, simple and fantastically effective, it’s a feelgood video that does the audio justice.

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Common and Nas-Ghetto Dreams Video

From Common’s upcoming The Dreamer, The Believer album, I’m still giving this track some regular rotation, and I’m glad they’ve capitalised on this delicious slice of hip-hop with some solid visuals.

Kicking off with a heavily-bearded Common (yes, more than usual!) and Nas quite literally slipping away into a dream, the video then descends into a busy, monochromatic video with lots of focus on the two legends. Nothing overly complicated, and no unnecessary addtions: we’re treated a visualisation of the lyrics in the form of a leading lady and lots of rapping, and hence the video is rightfully efficient, keeping the focus on the raps and that ear-shattering percussion.

A cool, easygoing video from two of the most talented rappers to ever grace the game. For some very bizarre reason, the audio isn’t on UK iTunes or Amazon, but we’ll keep you posted on that.

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Raekwon ft. Nas-Rich and Black [Video]

Good to see these kind of tracks getting visuals although scanning YouTube reminds me that Rae isn’t scared of dropping videos for the more ‘street’ tracks too.

We know the drill with the audio thanks to Indi back in March and the visuals, which clearly didn’t break the bank, do enough to demonstrate the lyrics on hand here. Nas and Rae drop their respective verses amidst a sea of homies, chains and bitches.

This sets things up nicely for a Rae feature on Nas’ upcoming LP, although with Nas the logical never quite seems to register.

Raekwon’s Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang can be purchased in a variety of places of your choice but I’m going with this one for ease/routine/laziness.

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Common and Nas-Ghetto Dreams

Imagine my sheer joy at waking up this morning afternoon and finding not only the first single from Common’s upcoming The Dreamer, The Believer album had surfaced, but also the much-anticipated collaboration between two of the all-time greats (both are nestled comfortably in my top 5).

A rugged, throwback production is served up by the incomparable No I.D., boasting a hypnotic boom-bap percussion along with a lively yet smooth sample on the melody, combining for a real head-nodder of a beat that makes no secret of its 90s roots. The structure of the song is clearly anchored around the superb verses from both MCs, with Common bringing some well-delivered raps about his ‘Cinderella’, whilst Nas moves from a general ‘dimes’ subject to his own ‘African Queen’ in an energetic verse. Both certainly bring the goods, as does No I.D., and this is frankly unmissable for the hip-hop fans. UPDATE (6th July): Available to buy on iTunes right now for US fans!

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Nas keeps the momentum of his forthcoming tenth album, Life Is Good, rolling with a delightfully ‘Nasty’ track. The Salaam Remi produced single contains a gritty, funky jazz sample and Nas rapping with determination and fire that doesn’t ease up for a moment. The omission of a hook or chorus in the song adds to the overall grittiness and makes Nas’ verses feel even more unrelenting.

Nasty will stay in my Itunes “Recently Played” for a good while, and it’s been years since I could say that about a Nas song. Got me all giddy for the album!

Nas – Nasty

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Nas Speaks On Life Is Good

In a somewhat more jovial mood than we are used to with Nas, the man himself speaks on his new album Life Is Good and what to expect on that front. The first single will be a joint called Nasty which holds its roots in Nas’ former alias.

He sounds like he’s in a good place, the album is nearly done but let’s wait and see what he brings to the table this time around because Untitled was disappointing to say the least.

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Nas Speaks On Squashing Beef With Prodigy

MTV sit down with Nasir to talk about P’s new book, squashing the beef once P left prison and whether there are any more collaborations in the works.

Don’t want to divulge too much more information as it will ruin the interview for you, but if you haven’t done so already then get your hands on that Mobb Deep/Nas’ Dog Shit joint.

Nas says he’s back in the studio again too…

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Elzhi-Elmatic (Free Download)

Let’s make this snappy as I’m sure you heads will want to get your hands on this classic (or so I’ve been told) tribute to Nas’ debut.

“The 10-track offering was produced entirely by Will Sessions. Fellow D-Town MC Royce Da 5’9” and Illmatic beatmaker Pete Rock also make appearances.”

I will be listening to this after the football and no doubt tweeting on it later.

Cop the mixtape and form your own opinion here.

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Elzhi-Halftime Video

After the track hit the streets only a few days ago it didn’t take Elzhi long to release those visuals.

Those who follow my posts will realise I’m a big fan of black and white when it comes to hip-hop as it perfectly demonstrates those gritty undertones the genre found itself in during the mid 90′s.

With all that said, ELmatic is Elzhi’s tribute to Nas and his classic debut, but I wonder what Nas himself makes of it all?

Swag Elzhi’s audio here and why not take a watch of Nas’ original Halftime over here.

ELmatic becomes available to the masses on 10th May. Stay tuned.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 98

I’ve turned up late to the party once again, so I’m not going to mess you around with a long intro here. That’s helped by only having one relevant and noteworthy post from the week gone by, that being Erin Christine’s latest single.

Click below to fill your empty stomachs with R&B/pop/soul nourishment.

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Mobb Deep and Nas-Dog Sh*t

DAMN. Prodigy’s wasted no time in getting back on that ‘murda muzik’ tip with his Mobb Deep cohort Havoc, and here they’ve combined with The Alchemist and the almighty Nas for a throwback slice of hip-hop that will undoubtedly satisfy the real heads over here.

Al serves up a haunting production comprised of creeping keys, intense synths and a quiet yet threatening production, all combining to set up the dark, gritty sort of backdrop that suits Mobb so well. The raps are fitting from the duo, with sombre deliveries highlighted that soft, quiet threat of the production, and Nas comes through with a short but enjoyable verse of his own. The hip-hop heads know not to question a line-up of this calibre, and it certainly delivers the kind of hip-hop I’ve not heard in quite some time.

Mobb Deep-Dog Shit ft. Nas

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Raekwon-Rich And Black ft. Nas

The one track I was most looking forward to from Raekwon’s new album, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang (which is out next week!) has been liberated.

That’s right, Nasty Nas and Raekwon collaborate once more to great effect. Whilst the Damian Marley collaboration project that Nas involved himself with last year was excellent, I’ve certainly missed his old gritty sound. This is a track that’s a return to that particular sound, one that Raekwon is most definitely familiar with.

One for the hip hop heads, audio is available for your ears by clicking right here.

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Swizz Beatz-Top Down ft. Nas

A version of this without Nas featured on the computer game Grand Theft Auto IV, it had always been a track intended for Nas but Swizz had this to say at the time:

“The record was originally for Nas,” he explained. “I got Nas’ vocals already. But I can’t do Nas, and his energy is not right on there. It would be dead weight. No disrespect, but it can’t be dead weight if I can’t make it feel like reality. I need the sh*t crazy. I need to shoot a video! It’s gotta be another ‘It’s Me B*tches,’ but bigger. I could easily pull a Nas card and have people be like, ‘Nas is spazzing on the verse.’ But it has to be a movie. I got it. It just gotta make sense.”

This week’s #MonsterMondays sees Swizz unleash the Nas version in all its glory!

Swizz Beatz – Top Down ft. Nas

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Nas & Damian Marley-Patience [Video]

New video from one of the best releases of last year, probably one of my favourite tracks from Nas & Damian Marley’s collaboration album too. The visuals for this have been shot superbly and we’re given some great effects which really capture the mood and essence of this sombre and thought-provoking song.

Audio for this can be found here.

Side note: Yesterday happened to be the birth date of Damian Marley’s father too.


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Throwback Thursdays Vol 43

Nas fans pay attention because without Main Source and Large Professor, we wouldn’t have had Illmatic. You see Main Source were the first act to put Nas on. Remember the intro to Illmatic? Well those Nas vocals were from Main Source’s Live At The BBQ from their brilliant 1991 debut Breaking Atoms. Anyway, I digress.

Here’s (perhaps) my favourite joint from Main Source; a cut from the somewhat politically-incorrect titled motion-picture White Men Can’t Jump. (N.B. Some Heads get caught up between the original and this remix but the differences are minimal so we’re rolling with this as it happens to be the audio I have).

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