Monday, May 28, 2012

My #1 favorite artist of all time


The picture above says it all. Nasir Jones a/k/a Nas a/ka/ Nasty Nas a/k/a Nas Escobar a/k/a Nastradamus a/k/a the greatest of all time!!!!! Now, MOST of my thoughts about Nas are biased, so I have no problem admitting that up front! Of course I did first hear Nas on Main Source's classic "Live At The BBQ".  When I first heard "The World Is Yours" in 1994, I've been hooked ever since. I liked the song SO much that I bought the cassette single (Side A was the song, Side B was the instrumental, for all you traditionalists), and I did literally play it till it popped, lol. Continuing on, I was captivated by Nas every time I listen to him. With his flow, storytelling ability, precision on the mic, descriptive artistry, among other things, I continue to support him every step of the way, and this is even during the missteps of his career (The Firm, the Nastradamus album, "Oochie Wally", etc). Trust me, I can go on and on about Nas, but in the interest of time, following the somewhat brief intro, I'm heading straight into his albums, which I consider to be the greatest discrography in hip hop history.




5 favorite songs- The World Is Yours, Halftime, One Love, It Ain't Hard To Tell, & Represent

Wayne's Words- Well, what more can be said about this album that hasn't been said already?! This is quite simple the greatest album of all time, and of course it would come from my #1 favorite artist of all time, Nas. Released in a great year, 1994. this album captures what hip hop is about and then some. FINE lyrics, tight production, NO filler, what more can you ask for in an album.

Rating- 5 stars

Personal facts
*Including the 10th Anniversary Platinum Edition that was released in 2004, I bought this album 3 times.
*I never owned the cassette version, but I did have a "dubbed version" of it, (which was the first time I heard it) as well as a copy of the master that I never returned to a person who let me borrow it, smh+lol.



 5 favorite songs- If I Ruled The World, The Message, Street Dreams, I Gave You Power, & Nas Is Coming

Wayne's Words- In my opinion, the most anticipated album of 1996. When I say I couldn't wait to hear this for the first time, I really mean that literally, lol. I always felt this was an excellent album and I still feel that way today. This album was one of the highlights of a very good summer of 1996, and listening to it today instantly takes me back in time.

Rating- 4 stars (I've always stood by my rating for this album, and through multiple listens, I still can't go any higher than 4 stars, respectively.)

Personal facts/stories
*Including CD and cassettes, I bought this album 4 times
*My aunt Denise bought the cassette before I did, and that's how I heard it the first time.
*I remember one time when I went to a store, and as I was sitting in the car waiting, one car was already there playing this album ("Live N**** Rap" was playing), then several moments later, another car pulled in and was blasting "The Message"! Couldn't tell me this wasn't the hottest album that summer!



5 favorite songs- Nas Is Like, We Will Survive, Small World, Hate Me Now, & N.Y. State of Mind Pt. 2

Wayne's Words- Another excellent album here. I still wonder what the original version would've been like had bootleggers not taken it upon themselves and leaked the album, and this was one of the first albums to be affected seriously by that. The end result was still something I was satisfied with, although I was still hoping for it to be a double album, lol.

Rating- 4.5 stars



5 favorite songs- Project Window, Nastradamus, Some Of Us Have Angels, Life We Chose, & God Love Us

Wayne's Words- Well, I guess every successful artist is entitled to one disappointment in their career. Unfortunately for Nas, this album was it. Releasing two albums in one year is not a bad thing (depending on the artist), however, this was not Nas' finest hour for many reasons. I remember when he was on Rap City that year promoting the album, and Big Tigger asked him, "why two in one year?" Nas replied, "just more to say". I mainly was like, "ok", but I was still anticipating it nonetheless. I will never go far as to say that this album is wack, because it's certainly better than most hip hop music we hear today, but it's clearly his "worst" album.

Rating- 3.5 stars

Personal fact
*I bought this album the week it came out, Friday, November 26th, 1999, along with the Streets Is Watching Soundtrack.


5 favorite songs- Ether, Got Urself A...., One Mic, 2nd Childhood, & Rule

Wayne's Words- In LL Cool J's words, "don't call it a comeback!" This was a comeback and then some. After essentially being written off by fans and critics alike, Nas returned with something to prove with this classic, and he delivered in spades. When Jay-Z released "Takeover", almost everybody I knew thought for sure Nas was done, and all I could do was say "just wait", and EVERYONE was surprised was "Ether" hit, including myself. I will admit that it was Jay-Z who gave Nas the shot in the arm he needed, as his career was clearly lacking and all it took was one spark to awake a somewhat sleeping giant. 2001's best album.

Rating- 5 stars

Personal fact
*I bought this album the first day it came out, 12/18/2001. I recall the CSR at Circuit City telling me "good luck" with the album (he didn't like it). My reaction was more or less, "I'm gon like this one homie!"


*I may be the only person I know who owns this, lol. Needless to say, it could've been better, but it certainly wasn't a disappointment.



5 favorite songs- Doo Rags, Nothing Lasts Forever, Drunk By Myself, Fetus (Belly Button Window), My Way, & Blaze A 50

Wayne's Words- Talk about an album with no filler and excellent all around (like most of Nas' albums), as well as tracks that missed the "I Am" album. It wasn't promoted very well, but overall this is still pure excellence.

Rating- 5 stars


5 favorite songs- Get Down, Made You Look, Last Real N**** Alive, Book Of Rhymes, & Mastermind

Wayne's Words-  This is the ONLY Nas album that I was not impressed with when I first played it, and to this day I don't know why, lol. I had all but said I would probably not play the album ever again after that. Then came the second time I listened to it, and I was like "hold on now, what was I thinking, this is great right here". It continued to get better with each listen and I don't know what I was missing when I first played it. Another excellent album from Nas (and I truly loved the creative aspect of "Book Of Rhymes"), something I often referred to as "emotional brilliance".

Rating- 4.5 stars (Had "Zone Out" not been on this album, 5 stars would be awarded.)

Personal fact
*I bought this album 2 weeks after it was released.

*You know I had to buy the 10th Anniversary of the greatest album of all time on its release date right?



5 favorite songs on disc 1- Just A Moment, You Know My Style, Rest Of My Life, American Way, & These Are Our Heroes
5 favorite songs on disc 2- Thief's Theme, Street's Disciple, Bridging The Gap, Me & You, & UBR (Unauthorized Biography of Rakim).

 Wayne's Words- The double album I was waiting for since "I Am" was first announced to be in the same format. Again, more excellence from Nas, and in my case, this double album ensured I got my money's worth and I did.

Rating (overall)- 4 stars

Personal fact
*I bought this album the first day it came out, 11/30/2004.



5 favorite songs- Black Republican, Can't Forget About You, Money Over BS, You Can't Kill Me, & Still Dreaming

Wayne's Words- Wow, did the term "hip hop is dead" stir up emotions in 2006 or what. Nas basically stated that this was his view on hip hop at the time, and I honestly agreed. Although hip hop as a culture is more or less the same today as it was during the time of this release, this album was a statement reflecting how hip hop should be in the eyes of one of its most celebrated artists. And I can't forget how happy I was to hear Nas and Jay-Z finally collaborate for the first time on "Black Republican". To this day when I play that song, I smile.

Rating- 5 stars

Personal fact
*I bought this album the first day it was released, along with Jay-Z's "Kingdom Come".



5 favorite songs- Y'all My N*****, Breathe, Sly Fox, The Slave & The Master, & Hero

Wayne's Words- Nas sure stirred up controversy (again) with this one. He wanted to name this album the N word and there was no way any major retailers would carry the album with that title, even with freedom of speech enforced. Either way, I anticipated the album and couldn't wait to hit my local Best Buy when it dropped. Nas once said "my fans know the real title of this album". Oh yeah, more excellence!

Rating- 5 stars

Personal fact/stories
*7/15/2008, the first day it was released, that's when I bought it. My son Jaheim went along with me for the ride. Once the album was over, the first thing I said was "this man's brilliant".



*Although I bought this album when it first came out (May 2010), I honestly only played it once, and that was on the same day I bought it. It's not due to me not liking it (it's a 4 star album), I just haven't had the urge to grab it and spin it, respectively.



As you can see, there's no doubt who my #1 favorite artist of all time is, and NO ONE will ever knock Nas out of that spot, no question. I'm also heavily anticipating his new album "Life Is Good", which will be released on July 17th, 2012, and if songs like "Nasty" and "The Don" are indications on what this album is going to sound like, I feel we're due for another 5 star classic!!!!!!



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