Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Revisiting "QB's Finest"

Released on November 21, 2000, this is a very interesting album indeed. At this point, Nas was still present in hip hop, but after the disappointing "Nastradamus" album left a bad taste in a lot of fans' mouths, many wondered how Nas would rebound, even a year before "Stillmatic" was released. He wouldn't be alone on this compilation obviously, but a good number of prominent artists would round things out. So without further ado, let's go back to the year 2000 and revisit "QB's Finest".

Intro (Produced By: L.E.S.)
Performed by two members of the Bravehearts, the beat to this one is good, however, even with naming off all the "hoods" in America, it's one of the most annoying intros I've ever heard, much like Jungle's intro on Nas' "I Am" album. This was simply NOT a good way to start this album.

Da Bridge 2001-  Nas, MC Shan, Mobb Deep, Cormega, Millennium Thug, Nature, Capone, and Tragedy,  (Produced By: Marley Marl & L.E.S.)
Now THIS should've started the comp instead of what we got, but it's all good. This was a tight, posse cut styled update of Shan's classic from 87. In addition, there were 3 notable happenings on this song:

*Shan sort of took a small shot at KRS One ("The bridge was never over, we left our mark")

*Nature and Cormega apparently buried the hatchet for the purpose of this song

*Nas threw a verbal dart at one Memphis Bleek after his "your lifestyles written, so who you posed to be, play your position" line, striking back with "Oh you didn't, wanna know whose life was written/The life I'm livin/The ice the women"

All in all, this should've been the opener, and it's likely the best song on this comp. Everyone did their thing on this one. 4.5 out of 5

We Live This- Big Noyd, Havoc, & Roxanne Shante (Produced By: Havoc)
I didn't care too much for the hook here, but either way it's a decent song. Shante almost steals the show, sounding like she hadn't lost a step since the "Roxanne Wars" of the 80s. 3.5 out of 5

Real N*****- Nas & Ruc (Produced By: L.E.S.)
Other than a BANGIN L.E.S. beat, this song, much like the one before it, is nothing we haven't heard before and done better (even down to the song title). Nas delivered a fairly standard verse (and of course my #1 favorite MC of all time is capable of more) and Ruc (not of Heltah Skeltah fame) was about as generic as they come. 3 out of 5

Find Ya Wealth- Nas (Produced By: L.E.S.)
And just after I mention Nas delivering a standard verse, he comes through with this very good song, which could've easily been on "I Am"; all about finding/discovering your worth indeed. 4 out of 5

Straight Outta Q.B.- Cormega, Poet, & Jungle (Produced By: L.E.S.)
Aside from two decent verses from Mega and Poet, overall, this was not a blowaway remake of N.W.A.'s classic "Straight Outta Compton". And whose bright idea was it to put the lyrically untalented Jungle on this track?? 2.5 out of 5

Oochie Wally (Remix)- Nas & Bravehearts (Produced By: Ez Elpee)
Oh God, not this one, basically the worst verse of Nas' stellar career (and even Jay-Z called him out on it), and the Bravehearts didn't fare all that well either. Surprisingly, you'll still hear this today during certain mix shows on the radio. Quite memorable for all the wrong reasons. 1.5 out of 5

Our Way- Capone & Noreaga and Iman Thug (Produced By: Scott Storch)
Man, what is with the somewhat repetitive song titles on this comp? Well, although Capone, Nore, and Iman deliver decent performances on the mic, again, we have heard this before and done better, not to mention better Storch beats also. 3 out of 5

Fire- Nature (Produced By: L.E.S.)
I really like this one and it's one of the more underrated songs here. Nature could bring it on the mic when motivated, and over this hot (pun intended) L.E.S. track, he does just that. 4 out of 5

Power Rap (Freestyle Interlude)- Prodigy (Produced By: Havoc)
This is probably one of the LAST lyrical gems from Prodigy before Jay-Z dropped "Takeover" and subsequently forever turned him into a shell of his former self. 4 out of 5

Street Glory- Nas & Pop (Produced By: L.E.S.)
Wow, here we go with ANOTHER repetitive song title, and even with Nas on this one, it's still more of the same pretty much. Decent, but nothing special. 3 out of 5

We Break Bread- Chaos, Craig G, Littles, & Lord Black (Produced By: L.E.S.)
Issues with the song title aside, while Littles, Chaos, and Lord Black deliver fairly solid verses here, THE star of the show here as far as I'm concerned is the underrated Craig G. He completely steals the show, and delivers two of my favorite lines here:

"Shoot the back of ya Timbs, turn em to flip flops
Do a drive by on a horse so run when you hear the clip clop"

He also said, "you ain't worth the coins in a change meter." Damn! 4 out of 5, for Craig G's verse and L.E.S' beat

Money-  Mr. Challish (Produced By: The Alchemist)
A good Alchemist beat is essentially wasted with a topic that, say it with me, has been done before and better. I get what he's saying for the most part, but still, something new please. 2 out of 5

Self Conscience- Nas & Prodigy (Produced By: The Infinite Arkatechz)
A VERY GOOD song by Nas and Prodigy. It's almost like when you begin to enjoy the song, it's over. 3:15 well spent though. 3.5 out of 5

Die 4- Infamous Mobb (Produced By: Plain Truth)
The Infamous Mobb were ok, but mostly hit and miss. Not wack, not spectacular, but this was one of the more forgettable songs on this comp. 2 out of 5

Kids in Da P.J.'s- Nas, Bravehearts, & Millennium Thug (Produced By: The Infinite Arkatechz)
I get what they were going for on this song, but something about it doesn't work at all, and I can't quite put my finger on it.  All of the verses here were about as standard as you can get, but with a title like "Kids in Da P.J.'s", you expect better and something with a little more insight, and of course the Bravehearts added NOTHING to this song. 2.5 out of 5

Bonus Track
Teenage Thug- Nas & Millennium Thug (Produced By: Al West)
Now when I think about it, with a name like "Millennium Thug", with all due respect, you'd have to be seriously lacking in creatively to come up with a name like that, and that's likely why he didn't have much of a career, mainly after the "Stillmatic" album. Regarding this song, it tries to come off as a possible remake of Slick Rick's "Teenage Love", but that's not the case here. Good, but that's about it. 3 out of 5

 Well, for starters, this compilation has the possibly the highest number of repetitive song titles I've ever seen. Overall, it's mostly good, but definitely not a classic. Outside of "Da Bridge 2001" and "Oochie Wally", this comp quickly fell under the radar not long after it's release, much like The Firm album in 1997, just without all the hype. Although Nas would rebound on a MAJOR level the next year, at this point, he was almost written off a just another guy in the hip hop world, and with things changing around him all the time, it was time for a change. I'll go with a solid 3.5 star rating here.

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