Every year Hip-Hop websites, blogs, and other media outlets, celebrate the anniversary of Nas’s debut album ‘Illmatic’, with out fail, due to it’s status as one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums to ever drop! A true classic in the eyes of many critics and fans!!!
Nas’s debut was indeed a phenomenal album featuring top notch production from the likes of Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Q-Tip, and others, as well as truly vivid street tales that almost made you feel you were there at that moment (‘Memory Lane’ being the greatest example)!!!
However notice that I don’t personally use the word classic in my description above. ‘Illmatic’ is a great album, no doubt about that, however, in my opinion, it is not Nas’s greatest full length project, oh no, in my personal opinion that title goes to Nas’s sixth album, 2002’s, ‘God’s Son’!!!
I can hear the outcry that I would dare say such a thing about what many have hailed as one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums of all time, however, it just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s because I was only 7 when it dropped, and didn’t listen to it until 2002, (though some people younger than me regard it as the GOAT of Hip-Hop albums so maybe age isn’t the issue) the album, as a whole, just never reached classic status to me. Don’t get me wrong there are some classics on it (‘Life’s A Bitch’, ‘The World is Yours’, ‘Memory Lane’ and ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’ spring to mind) but, as a whole, it comes across quite slow, and boring, after multiple listens.
The same is said with Nas’s second, so called ‘classic’, album, ‘Stillmatic’, which resurrected his career, in 2001, thanks to some egging on from Jay-Z. Again some amazing tracks on it (‘2nd Childhood’, ‘Ether’, ‘Got Urself A Gun’ and a couple more) but as a whole it just didn’t hit the mark! Certainly not enough for publications, like The Source, to give it a 5-Mic rating (Jay’s ‘The Blueprint’ was far more superior and cemented his place as one of Hip-Hop’s greatest)!!!
His albums between 1996-1999 always featured dope tracks (‘I Gave You Power’, ‘Hate Me Now’, ‘Nas is Like’ and a few others) but never manifested into anything remotely classic.
Which brings me to the main point, of this article, how is ‘God’s Son’ Nas’s true classic album???
Well, if ‘Stillmatic’ is the album that brought Nas back to life then ‘God’s Son’ is the album that cemented him as one of the greatest of all time!!! Everything on this album was spot on! Production, lyrics, topics, guest appearances, everything just worked, something that none of his previous albums had managed to do!!!
‘God’s Son’, truly, lead the way for the second half of his career. Near perfect albums like ‘Streets Disciple’ ‘Hip-Hop is Dead’, ‘Untitled’ (or, the true title, ‘N****r’), ‘Life is Good’ and ‘NASIR’ (United Elementz Media did declare the, Kanye West produced, album a classic at the time but, to be honest, UEM maybe have been a bit premature with that statement! Solid project just not classic)!!! If the first half of Nas’s career (1994-1999) showed he was a dope MC, who could kill dope concepts on wax, the second half showed the more mature, and personal, side of Nasir Jones. Something that started with ‘God’s Son’!!! A real person, with emotions, and an ambassador for the culture he truly loves. ‘Illmatic’ and ‘Stillmatic’ don’t have that. Just some dope records. Fact!!!
A classic album, to me, has to provoke emotion, and meaning, something ‘God’s Son’ does! Tell me that ‘Heaven’, ‘Dance’, ‘Last Real N***a Alive’ don’t have emotion! Even tracks like ‘Get Down’, ‘Made You Look’, ‘The Cross’ and ‘Revolutionary Warfare’ make you feel something beyond the standard ‘that shits dope’ justification for classic status!!!
Don’t get it twisted I’m a fan of ‘Illmatic’ and ‘Stillmatic’ but ‘God’s Son’ has a deeper meaning, not just as an album, but to Nas’s growth as an artist and as a person!!!
Also as an added bonus it doesn’t hurt that, also in 2002, Nas dropped, his classic, ‘The Lost Tapes’, compilation album featuring cut tracks from ‘I Am…’ and ‘Stillmatic’!!! ‘The Lost Tapes’ and ‘God’s Son’ in the same year!!! 2002 wasn’t a bad year for Nas at all!!!
Relive ‘God’s Son’ here and let me know if you agree (or disagree) with the above!!!
– B-Eazy aka The BlogGOAT