RAWview: Nas & Hit-Boy - Magic 3
Nas and Hit-Boy team up again to release their sixth joint album. Which, sounds insane because they’ve released all of these, in just over 3 years. If you are a Nas fan, like me, you will know the pain of having to wait years to get a new album. So to mark the occasion I have written a track by track review, with a difference.
This is a RAWview where I give you my RAW, anecdotes as they come to me, as I’m listening. There is no filter or rewriting. Just an honest review, from my gut and a rating out of 10. Enjoy…
Track 1: "Fever" - The beat reminds me of something that Kanye rejected for Watch The Throne album. The lyrics are strong. Nas Is 50 years old now!? The same year that Hip-Hop is 50, niiice. Really wish he would stop rushing through these verses though, is the beat too fast? I like the nod to ‘Represent’ from Illmatic - I’m here for the ‘Nastalgia’. It’s a decent first song, but I probably wouldn’t play it again. 6/10
Track 2: "TSK" - I’m not enjoying this beat. Nas is flowing different, ‘All I see is blurbs, all I see is words, nerds talking bout what they did, see or heard’ this rhyme scheme reminds me of Jay Z ‘Fresher then you all, so I don’t have to pause, all of ya’ll can suck my balls through my draws’. The rest of the verse is good I like 1-2-3-4-5 scheme. Okay the drums have kicked in, but I still don’t like it. 2nd verse has started… i’m skipping the song. 3/10
Track 3: "Superhero Status" - Ok this beat is sounding promising. These heart beat drum patterns suits Nas, his raps always sound urgent and hard hitting! Not feeling the chorus or the hook though. Too chaotic. Second verse is smoother. No quotable lyrics yet. I heard a bit of his One Mic Flow, wish he maintained that for longer. 4/10
Track 4: "I Love This Feeling" - Nice sample! Nas on a Motown/Soul sample usually works well, it’s that classy backdrop his wise lyrics need. Ok the beat drops and it's straight out of the 90’s! I’m talking 'One Love’ from his first album vibes. Nas is floating. Now this is NASTALGIA! DJ scratches, Nas reminiscing, story telling and hood lessons. I love this feeling too Nas. 8/10
Track 5: "No Tears" - I don’t know how we got from the previous song to here, but I want to go back. I don’t like this ‘ghetto baby’ nursery rhyme he’s reciting and I don’t like this beat at all. The drums are off. It sounds like Jays ‘Forever Young’ and Kanye ‘Runaway’ instrumentals fighting each other. SKIP! 1/10
Track 6: "Never Die" - Nice sample. Nice Drums. Nas sounds confident. This ones sounding epic from the intro. Ok ok we’re back in action, my heads bopping. Nas says this is his ‘Tom Cruise' flow, he needs to keep this Ethan Hunt energy when he’s rapping! He sounds sharp. PULLLL UPPP!!! Lil Wayne just blessed us! I wasn’t ready!! I need to go again. Wayne, with no autotune, is undefeated. ‘Low credit, high crime, open mind, tight rhymes. Weezy and my Slime Nas… Like bygones…. gotta let icons be icons.’ RIDICULOUS. 10/10
Track 7: "Pretty Young Girl" - Never Die was always going to be hard to follow. This song isn’t bad, again i’m not happy with the beat choice. Who executively produces this album? I need to look that up. Underwhelmed by this song, I respect the craft in his lyrics though. 4/10
Track 8: "Based On True Events" - OK now this sounds like a Jay Z album beat. Nas kicks off with story telling from the start, it’s about a girl again. The way he is telling the story is detailed, similar to ‘One Love’ from his first album, but the story isn’t as gripping. A better beat would have carried this story, but i’m bored. SKIP. 3/10
Track 9: "Based On True Events Pt.2" - Oh sh*t there’s a part 2! I can’t escape lol. This beat sounds way better. The story starts off with a good pace, this is more like ‘Rewind’ from Stillmatic. I’m enjoying this one. Nas is in his bag, Hit-Boy adding the ‘Chapter 1/2/3’ sound bites are really helping the story telling - now this is PRODUCING. NASTALGIA again! 8/10
Track 10: "Sitting With My Thoughts" - Yeah Hit-Boy has found his groove! This beat is what we needed. Nas is in 2023, and he sounds good. Flows are tight, his voice sounds like cognac! He just shouted out the late great, Nipsey Hussle. I’m enjoying this! Second verse, we get vulnerable Nas, he’s definitely reflecting. Decent Chorus too. 8/10
Track 11: "Blue Bentley" - Slick Rick sample on intro. Beat sounds interesting, Hit Boi is staying in his 2023 bag. I can hear Drake on this more than Nas though. Second verse from Nas is better but his approach to the subject matter isn’t really hitting. He actually sounds 50 years old on this one. 5/10
Track 12: "Jodeci Member" - Soulful Sample, but not very modern, this could have been more like ‘Otis’ if it was chopped and pitched better. Nas is rapping well, but it’s nothing new for him. 4/10
Track 13: "Speechless Pt.2" - Another soulful sample that sounds dated. Could’ve left it off the album. 2/10
Track 14: "Japanese Soul Bar" - Another soulful sample lol this one has more of a lo-fi vibe. It’s laidback and classy. I like this one better. We’ve got saxophone in the background and the drums playing low, its a vibe. It should’ve been an interlude more than a song though. 6/10
Track 15: "1-800-Nas&Hit" - You guessed it, another soulful sample. I wish he jus picked a couple of these tracks for the album. It’s over saturated. I think this is a very flat way to end the album. 2/10
Overall, i’m underwhelmed by this release. I’ve only liked 4 songs out of 15, and added them to my playlist. I grew up on Nas, I knew every lyric to his first 5 albums and I even hated Jay Z for trying to come against my Idol. But, this album is too long, there’s too many similar soundscapes and it needed one more feature at least! For this reason I rate it 4/10.
If Hit-Boy and Nas make another album it should be called Quality over Quantity, we don’t need the album fillers. Alternatively, Nas should holla me to be the Executive Producer and we will make NASTALGIA, the ultimate Nas album!