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It’s been 30 years since the iconic verse from a then 17 year old named Nas, on the legendary track “Live at the Barbeque”. In those years since Nas has created one of the most varied and impressive bodies of work in all of music. His first release “Illmatic” is regarded as one one of the greatest albums of all time and you would think someone with that track record would be content, but no Nas continues to redefine himself with the second installment of his yet finished “King’s Disease” series.
This album sits in stark contrast to the equally as impressive first installment released last year. “King’s Disease 2” could easily have been comprised of throwaways from the last project but instead it takes a hard look at the concept of legacy and takes it’s time debating the role of someone like Nas with the status and history to be considered an all time great. Looking back it makes perfect sense that Nas is thriving in his role as legend releasing new all time great projects. As soon who has been regarded as and all time great since the release of their first album it seems that this is the lane that Nas could have be preoccupying for decades.
The driving force behind this project is the relationship between “Producer of the Year” Hit Boy and Nas. When a producer and artist have this much chemistry it opens a project up to a level of honesty not commonly found in follow up projects. This honesty cared from the first King’s Disease and allows Nas the freedom to express himself with artist from a variety of generations. From Charlie Wilson to Blxst, it is truly impressive how much cohesion was able to be produced with voices both young and old but it all ties into Nas’ examination of his own success from his youth.
It is very hard to pull of the part two of a successful album immediately after it’s release because it can come off feeling like a cash grab. With “King’s Disease 2” this is simply not the case, this album stands as its own project. The creativity shared by Nas and Hit Boy is what many expected from the very disappointing 2016 release of “Nasir” entirely produced by Kanye West. What that project lacked was the personal touch felt on both “King’s Disease” projects. Where “Nasir” felt like a jumbled mess of ego and hasty production, “King’s Disease 2” proves how much magic is still left inside of one of Hip Hop’s greatest.
Where many other artist in his position would have found something that worked and stuck to it for the last 3 decades, Nas proves that Hip Hop not only has room for the past greats but with enough creativity and passion legends have the ability to dominate in the modern day as well.