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Ho & bling free rap of the highest thought provoking order.
Edwin McFee, 11 Aug 2008
Arguably one of hip-hop’s most highbrow MCs, Nas’s new Untitled album very nearly didn’t make it into shops. Originally, the record was due to be called Nigga, but after hearing that some US retailers were refusing to stock the release due to its provocative title, the rapper had a rethink and refused to title it at all. Musically, the album is just as thought-provoking, with Nasir Jones offering his take on equality and civil rights on songs like ‘Black President,’ ‘Fried Chicken’ and the soul-ified ‘You Can’t Stop Us Now’ (featuring vocals from members of The Stylistics).
More street poet than entertainer or pantomime performer (we’re looking at you 50 Cent) Jones’ rhymes are as powerful and reactionary as they’ve ever been. That said, tracks like ‘Hero’ (featuring vocals from Keri Hilson) just sound a little too self-righteous to these ears, but it’s a small criticism. If you want catchy pop hooks or singalong choruses, look elsewhere, but if you like incisive lyrics coupled with original soundscapes, Untitled should make your end of year top ten list.