June 20, 2011

Evan Nabavian blew a kiss to Halle Berry at the Beanie Mac concert.

Here’s a modest outline of my perfect day. I wake up next to the actress who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies and she makes me an omelet with mushrooms and hot sauce. Then we wrap ourselves in my Ghostbusters blanket and watch The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I get bored/hungry around the part where Jane shows up and we go to Meze Grill on 55th Street for falafel platters where the guy forgets to charge me extra for hummus. After lunch, we play Super Smash Bros. Melee for three hours. I play as Sheik and win every time. Finally, while Hermione is making me dinner naked, I scan the comments on WorldStarHipHop for new music and – my goodness, there’s a new Nas song produced by Salaam Remi.

Nas returns to form on “Nasty,” which is easily his best single since “Thief’s Theme” in 2004. Everything in between felt like half-baked side projects. Whenever he baited the media with a controversial album title or said something vague and self-important about saving Africa, I hoped that Nas would get it out of his system so he could get back to destroying microphones and it seems like he finally has. Nas makes today’s best rappers sound like drooling infants, armed with nothing but breathless rhymes. The beat has no melody, no hook, and old school-friendly scratches. There have been good signs recently. He appeared on Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang, making up for his absence on Cuban Linx 2; he helped flood the streets of Queens with shell casings on Mobb Deep’s comeback record; and he rapped on another Salaam Remi beat in April, albeit a guest verse on an R&B record. He was also on Estelle’s slumber party anthem “Fall in Love,” but we don’t need to talk about that.

It also sounds like Nas is trying to repress the last seven years of his career by rapping really fast. He looks back on his career and only sees the bad honeys, the jewelry, and the semi-automatic weapons, but not the divorce or the unpaid taxes. Gone is the twenty year old who could stand under a streetlight and rap about what he saw. He has way too much to talk about to pull a Raekwon and update his first album and yet no one wants to hear Nas rap about fame, especially not the pampered post-Kanye way or the wrist-cutting Eminem way. “Nasty” works as a reintroduction to a peerless MC and as a harbinger of great music, but Nas needs to cover topics other than cars and cognac. Not right now, though. I’m having way too much fun trying to catch everything he’s saying.

Download:
MP3: Nas-“Nasty”