May 3, 2011

Evan Nabavian stabbed Un and made you take the blame.

Nas has officially returned from his Damian Marley-guided African pilgrimage with two new guest verses. Fortunately, all that spirituality hasn’t left Nas so high-minded (or high) that he can’t make songs called “Dog Shit” and “So Fresh.” You can’t really hail these two as the return of Escobar Season, because while one of them, and I’ll let you guess which one, is hardcore Mobb Deep, the other is a loverboy pop song with aspiring R&B singer CJ Hilton.

Nas is championed as the rapper who refused (or never managed) to make the shiny radio single, but “So Fresh” deserves regular rotation. CJ’s voice is generic at best and the writing sounds like it was a complete afterthought, but Salaam Remi smooths out an otherwise gritty boom bap beat for a satisfying R&B track. Nas doesn’t try to be Fabolous or Wale, he just delivers a fierce verse about a fine woman from the past. It’s like a happy version of “Blaze a 50.”

“Dog Shit” on the other hand, is pure fan service. With a Nas verse and Havoc and Alchemist on the beat, Prodigy couldn’t have gotten a more enticing lineup for his back-from-jail record. P and Hav hurl threats in a malicious stupor as dictated by the beat’s slow eerie melody. Then Nas swoops in and raps with purpose, dispensing scattered street-level wisdom .At this rate, Nas is poised to make a great album without any of the unformulated activist hoopla that encumbered his last three albums. And it’s great to see him in the company of producers who aren’t Polow Da Don.

Download:
MP3: CJ Hilton ft. Nas-“So Fresh” (Left-Click)
MP3: Mobb Deep ft. Nas-“Dog Shit”