It ain’t hard to tell that Nasir Jones has transformed over the years. He came “straight out of the dungeons of rap” in ’94 to telling the critics he “will…not…lose” on Stillmatic. He went from taking shots at Jay-Z on the track “Ether” to squashing the beef and collaborating with him on his album “Untitled.” He went from only having a New York State Of Mind to wanting to open “every cell in Attica to send them to Africa.” Most importantly, he went from saying “Life’s A ****” to finally realizing that “Life Is Good.”
Nasty Nas has proven to be a timeless veteran with genius lyrics with socially conscious rhymes delivered with an old school battle-rap flow, laced with clever punchlines. Once he goes behind the mic, Young Esco doesn’t hold back. But here’s the thing. He already has the throne. That doesn’t mean artists like Jay-Z can’t have the throne either. I’m just saying there’s enough room in hip-hop for the G.O.A.T.S to all win and be celebrated.
The 16th anniversary of Stillmatic makes any hip-hop lover like myself realize that time moves fast. It also reminds me that Escobar doesn’t need to drop an album every year to prove anything. He has my respect and will forever.
Let’s face it. It was written that the self-professed God’s Son would be a street’s diciple for an unforgiving music genre, the same genre he pronounced dead back in 2006. But if he ruled the world, like he once said, it would come back to life. And his weapon of choice? Just one mic and lyrical artillery. His labors of love, from Illmatic (1994) to Life is Good (2012), will go down in history as some of the greatest albums produced by a hip-hop artist.