Nas-Life is Good [album review]
This album review comes with a quick history lesson so my upcoming comparison will make sense. In the winter of 1978, Marvin Gaye released Here My Dear, possibly his most commercially disappointing album. Despite this fact, it may be one of his most brilliant albums in retrospect.
Nearly broke and on the brink of divorce, Marvin would have to use half of his earnings from his next album for alimony payments (hence the title).
Now think of what has happened in Nas’ life the last three years. Doesn’t that sound oddly familiar? Just like Marvin, Nas channeled his emotions to put together a solid album.
Nas’ lyricism is a given, but his faulty production choices have always taken away from his albums. He finds a solution this problem with the help of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, No I.D., Large Professor, 40, and long-time producer Salaam Remi.
Now, let’s address the problems with this album. First off, “Reach Out” and “Summer on Smash” are terrible. These are the attempts to make a hit single but they take Nas far out their comfort zone. Next problem: sequencing. Some songs simply seem out of place. Most people will probably make it to track 5 and think Life is Good isn’t that good of an album…and they would be wrong.
For example, “World’s An Addiction” is an amazing song that is sandwiched between those aforementioned horrible songs. This takes the impact away from this song because at this point you’re probably just trying to get through the album. “Stay” sounds like it should close the album but comes directly behind “The Don”, which is a the hip-hop track you expect from Nas.
Minus those two problems, which can be overlooked, Nas delivers on Life is Good. From the cover, you already know what the majority of the album will be about, but he dodges boredom and makes it diverse. You have tracks such as “Accidental Murderers” featuring Rick Ross (sidenote: Nas’ last Def Jam album…MMG next?) and “Queens Story” where Nas exhibits his extraordinary storytelling skills.
The album closes with “Bye Baby”, which is basically a summary of the entire philosophy of the album. Nas uses this song to tell fans that he’s over his divorce and that life is indeed good.
And for that, we should thank Nas. He used his personal pain and turned it into a good album. Life is Good is another chapter in the legacy of this great MC.
PS. Buy that Deluxe version, those bonus tracks are worth it.