- 08 Aug 19
Legendary rapper's latest is a mixed bag.
Nas fans left wanting more after last year’s 26-minute Nasir will be pleased to get their hands on his latest – a 16 track compilation of unreleased songs from 2006 to 2018.
Early on, however, you realise why many of these songs were outtakes. Opener ‘No Bad Energy’ sees Nas delivering forgettable rhymes over a cheesy choir. While the rapper sounds slightly more engaged on second track ‘Vernon Family’, a repetitive instrumental lets him down.
The song also features the first of many queasy lyrics about sex and women, with Nas spouting, “Ejaculatory depression after sex/ After I nut, don’t touch me – no questions.” You might say that it reflects a deep psycosexual malaise and you might be right. The trend continues with ‘Adult Film’ and ‘Tanasia’. On the latter, over a corny beat that sounds more dated than old school, the rapper spits awkwardly about his love: “Never knew a love like this before/ Who said you was just a whore?” There are bright spots. On ‘Jarreau Of Rap (Skatt Attack)’, it is thrilling to hear Nas delivering dexterous rhymes effortlessly over a jazzy, constantly mutating backing track. The retro piano-driven hip-hop of ‘Lost Freestyle’ and ‘The Art Of It’ is solid too. Unfortunately, these highlights are lost in a record of mostly boring melodies and uninspired lyrics.
No need to get too dramatic about The Lost Tapes II either way: these are just outtakes. That said, it is startling to hear such a lauded artist sound so unremarkable.