Back from an eventful hiatus, one that included his divorce from hip-hop diva Kelis, Nas drops a triumphant hit single.
Nasir Jones’ almost twenty-year career has certainly been far from dull. In 1994, the Queens rapper dropped what is widely considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all-time: the raw and lyrically menacing Illmatic, cementing his status as one of rap’s true greats. To say that Nas has been a bit lost since that release is an understatement. His string of albums following Illmatic have been less than stellar, constantly either trying to mimic his classics’ sound or veer off in a completely different direction.
In the past four years since the release of his last album Untitled (originally titled “the N-word”), Nas has suffered a divorce from his wife Kelis and experienced the birth of his second child. Clearly struggling with the ups-and-downs in his life, Nas naturally hit the studio and recorded his tenth proper LP Life Is Good, out July 17th. Harnessing his pain to fuel his art, Nas has crafted one of his best albums since Illmatic, in the vain of Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear, an influence that Nas himself has cited.
But what is a rap album dropping in July without a monster summer single? Nas has teamed up with urban crooner Miguel and super-producer Swizz Beatz for “Summer On Smash,” an album highlight that is sure to make a serious splash on the hip-hop charts. The beat transforms Nas’ classic boom-bap style into something much more immediate, ferociously pulsating as the rapper cleverly spits his rhymes.
“Nas get you out your seats. Play this in your Jeeps. My people in the streets, I make it feel like it’s the beach,” he raps.
Swizz Beatz, who has been on a roll since his surprising production turn on last summer’s Watch The Throne, tones down his flashy style and lets the lyricist flex. Miguel, clearly added to make the song more bearable for female listeners, is craftily coached to only enter at specific points, allowing Nas to rightfully shine. It is clear that Nas has stepped back into the limelight with his latest effort, and has provided the streets with an energetic new single. He surely has the “Summer On Smash.”