Album Review: King’s Disease II by Nas
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, or better known by his stage name, Nas, is a songwriter and rapper based out of New York. While working with some producers in the late 80s and early 90s, none of the music would ever be released. However, in 1994, Nas released his iconic debut project, Illmatic, which is usually known as his best album. Now, a few decades later, Nas comes out with his thirteenth studio project titled King’s Disease II.
The first track from the album is The Pressure. It opens up quietly with a few percussive beat. After awhile, we get some light and flowing bell notes and some distorted vocals from Don Toliver. Then eventually Nas comes in with his usual rap flow. It’s an okay beat, but I definitely prefer the beat switch towards the end. As for the lyrics, Nas talks about the pressure he’s been facing and trying to continue to create solid studio projects.
Death Row East finally adds the Hit-Boy tagline, even though Hit-Boy has produced the majority of the project. I also prefer this beat a bit more, even though it uses some similar instrumentation as the previous track. The bell notes are a little more clear cut and don’t flow together. Nas talks about a few things on the track, but the thing that really stood out to me was the interlude at the end where he talks about trying to squash the east coast/west coast beef.
40 Side definitely has a more eerie and ominous feeling with the long droning electronic sound that opens up the track. It almost seems like we have an alarm going off as well. After awhile, your usual trap styled drums and bass start to come in to fill in the eeriness. Besides the beat, Hit-Boy talks about how he sampled a clip from Lil Baby. Other than that, Nas talks about how he has seen a lot growing up, but he was giving people hope.
EPMD 2 is another track with an interesting beat. It’s a bit hard to explain the noise, but it is some type of electronic note, as well as some inaudible voices in the back. The beat eventually transforms to another electronic noise, but it sounds longer and noisier. As for the vocals, we do get some features from EPMD and Eminem. As cheesy and odd Eminem’s rapping can be, it somehow mixes in with the rest of the track without totally ruining it. Also, the beat change during his verse was just leaving me wanting a huge drop to come. Unfortunately, it went back to the original beat.
After that interesting beat, we come to a more laid back and chill beat on Rare. We got some string notes and a sample in the background which may sound like that Beastie Boys sample. However, there is a part two where the beat smoothly transitions into a more percussive heavy beat. There are also some instrumental parts that start to slowly come in, but this is where Nas truly starts to shine, especially with his flow.
YKTV brings back some more big name features. Before we get into the features, the track opens up with a sample from Jaboody Dubs. Other than that, it’s mostly a lowkey beat with the repeating high pitched notes. As for the name of the track, YKTV stands for “You Know The Vibes.” While all of the people featured on this track aren’t bad, I feel like this track was perfectly made for YG with his laid back rapping.
Store Run opens up with a soulful sample that starts off a little distorted. The sample eventually comes in more clearly, but you have some drum beats added and it gets chopped up every now and then. Just with the beat alone, this track has easily become a favorite of mine from the album, and dare I say, one of Hit-Boy’s best produced tracks. Other than that, he talks about living in New York in the 90s, but also pays homage to some of the ‘rap gods’ that have passed away recently.
Moments brings back the jazz-rap type beat. We have some saxophones, strings, and a piano that is laced throughout the entirety of the track. The track felt like it went by quick and I wish that it was longer. However, after I checked the length, it’s one of the longer tracks on the project since it’s over four minutes long. Throughout the track, he’s talking about certain moments, and mostly some of the first things he did.
Nobody was one of the tracks I was looking forward to with the Ms. Lauryn Hill feature, and it’s one of the longest tracks on the project. I wasn’t sure how I would have felt with the first few seconds of the beat, but it eventually just fades out to mostly a drum beat, and light electronic notes added in. The beat aside, Nas just kills it with his flow towards the end of the first verse, so it looks like he still has what it takes.
Continuing with the samples, No Phony Love contains a sample from Lonely Like Me that appears to be used for the majority of the track. The sample seems to be distorted and repeated, but it’s a great backing beat. We also get some soulful lyrics from Charlie Wilson at the very beginning of the track. If you can’t tell from the title of the track, Nas talks about some of his past relationships as well as trust on here.
Brunch on Sundays is probably one of the weaker ones on this album, at least in terms of the beat. It’s definitely stripped back compared to the other tracks on this project. We just have a piano and some quieter strings in the background. Blxst is also a featured artist on this track, which isn’t necessarily a bad addition. Other than that, Nas talks about how Sundays are the best days and the things that he usually does.
Count Me In definitely sounds like something you would hear on one of those ‘lo-fi beats to study to’ channels or playlists. It just has this jazz and relaxed feeling to the beat, as well as Nas’ vocals on top of the track. Other than that, this is another great track added on the project and definitely adds to the vibe that I’ve been feeling for the majority of the track. Other people are pointing out that this sounds like Nas from the 90s.
Composure keeps up with the Hit-Boy production. However, this track actually features Hit-Boy rapping over the track. I also didn’t realize how similar he sounds to Curren$y when he’s rapping, except Hit-Boy enunciates a bit better than Curren$y. Other than that, we got some more of that classical instrumentation added to the back beat. The track closes out with Shaka Senghor, who is a voice for criminal justice reform.
My Bible definitely has a church/soul feeling to it. The beat features an organ that is backing the majority of the beat. We have some other instruments added to the beat, but as I said, it’s mostly the organ that is noticed. While the beat goes unchanged, it seems like every verse Nas raps on is a different ‘chapter’. He talks about men in the first chapter, you get what you give for the second chapter, and then women for the third chapter.
The final track on the project is Nas is Good, which is also the shortest track on the album, clocking in under two and a half minutes. We also have a soulful type of track backing the beat of this one. While it’s not a banger of a track, it just proves Hit-Boy’s ability of being able to do several different types of tracks. Nas basically talks about the kind of life he’s living right now and talks about how he made it as a rapper.
Nas was able to come back with a solid project that is up there with his debut, Illmatic. I also must say this is a step up from the previous project, King’s Disease.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Death Row East, Rare, Store Run, Count Me In
Originally published at https://www.lazymusicguru.com