Nas on 5 - 10 - 15 - 20 for Pitchfork
Nas began his career looking back. Even in his earliest material, you could hear nostalgia for bygone worlds. Last year’s Life Is Good might have been the most valedictory record of his career, opening with a weepy overture of piano and strings surrounded by the sound of cheering crowds-- very much the prelude to a champagne-popping, gold-watch retirement speech. Nas obliged, filling Life Is Good with verses that ran their fingers lovingly over tiny details (“At night, New York, eat a slice too hot/ Use my tongue to tear the skin hanging from the roof of my mouth”) and dialed out to swallow entire borough histories (“A Queens Story”). It was a reminder that Nas’s observational eye is never as keen as when it’s backtracking to earlier times...
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