Nas and Hit-Boy try to go 2/2 with “King’s Disease II.”
HONORABLE MENTION. EPMD 2
Do you know the only thing that is more gangsta than adding EPMD to a song called “EPMD?” Randomly adding the greatest white rapper of all time to the track. By no means do I think that “EPMD 2” is the best track on this album. With that being said, I am grateful that we were able to get a collaboration with Nas and Eminem in 2021. While the former hits us with everything from feverish flows to trill/braggadocios raps, the latter hits us with everything from laidback flows to zany flows to DMX tributes to requests for flowers. The song’s icing on the cake is EPMD’s rebellious back and forth.
HONORABLE MENTION. DEATH ROW EAST
Nas gives us another side to the east coast/west coast beef in “Death Row East.” As someone who was alive when the east coast/west coast beef was going on (B*tch, I had impeccable memory at eight years old), the older I got, the more and more I realized that there had to be several sides to the story that were never leaked. In “Death Row East,” you get to hear Nas’s side of the beef. In the song, he talks about running into Suge and eventually wanting to squash his beef with Pac (And everything in-between). As expected, Nas’s storytelling is outstanding as he finds very engaging ways to outline details of his stories.
5. MY BIBLE
You get so much free knowledge out of Nas in “The Bible.” Matter of fact, can we find a way to donate some money to this dude? (I don’t feel comfortable listening to this track for free).
I listened to “The Bible” harder than I listened to anything else on this album. Throughout the song, Nas makes it a mission to remind jits like me to put the cameras down, to not snitch, to not glamorize death, to keep a positive mind, to embrace our African skin, and to protect our women. The precision that he raps with is breathtaking while the Rick Ross-Esque instrumental Hit-Boy blesses him with is nothing short of royal.
4. 40 SIDE
Nas isn’t supposed to shine in “40 Side” (This is supposed to be a song that the young whippersnappers of the world are supposed to kill).
The first thing that will catch your attention about “40 Side” is the flows that Nas raps with: They are dynamic, Jaden-Esque (Think “Ghost”), and sturdy as f**k (I love how he switches his flows in-between his verses, too). The second thing that will catch your attention is how Nas comes across as a dude that has his jersey in the hood rafters. The last thing that will catch your attention is the action-packed/uptempo beat that Hit-Boy blesses the rapper with.
“40 Side” is an undeniable hit.
I want to hear “YKTV” in a bar with scantily dressed women and very affordable bottle specials!
“YKTV” is one of the best club bangers I’ve heard this year (Who would’ve thunk that Nas would have one of the best club bangers of 2021?). I f**king love the dark-ass beat Hit-Boy crafted, Nas’ braggadocios/catchy hook, Nas’ cocky/bossed-up verse, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s aggressive/cocky verse, and YG’s nonchalant/extremely slick/lowkey gangsta verse. The only thing I do not like about the song is the dork that starts it off.
2. STORE RUN
Nas spits spits in “Store Run.”
“Store Run” is powered by this soulful instrumental that features background vocals that will give you chills. Over it, Nas absolutely goes off! He hits us with raps that are supposed to put youngins in their places, raps that are on some hood-mafioso s**t, raps that pay homage to recently fallen rappers, raps that will remind you how rich the New York rapper is, and raps that will make you reconsider your top 5 rappers list.
The way Nas is able to straddle the line between unbothered and aggressive in “Store Run” is fascinating. It’s almost like he made the song while he was sitting back in an office chair, only rising up when he wanted to say something insulting.
“Rare” is so well-done (Do you like what I did there?).
“Rare” screams out Grammy, to me. The song starts off with this heartwarming old-school rap beat that encourages Nas to hit us with J-Cole-Esque flows and bars that are effortlessly Godly. Eventually, the song morphs into this sly banger that features slick rap deliveries and lyrics that should scare fugazi folks and motivate real ones.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. THE PRESSURE (5/5)
2. DEATH ROW EAST (5/5)
3. 40 SIDE (5/5)
4. EPMD 2 (5/5)
5. RARE (5/5)
6. YKTV (5/5)
7. STORE RUN (5/5)
8. MOMENTS (5/5)
9. NOBODY (4/5)
10. NO PHONY LOVE (5/5)
11. BRUNCH ON SUNDAYS (4/5)
12. COUNT ME IN (4/5)
13. COMPOSURE (4/5)
14. MY BIBLE (5/5)
15. NAS IS GOOD (5/5)
Nas is extending his prime so much, the Lakers just signed him to the mid-level exception.
The chemistry that Nas and Hit-Boy show in King’s Disease is outstanding. Believe it or not, they sound like they are on the same exact page on King’s Disease II. Throughout the album, Hit-Boy blesses Nas with instrumentals that are powered by soulfulness, timeless feels, occasional knocks, and specks of sereneness. Unfortunately, none of the beats have trap vibes. Over these instrumentals, Nas raps like an authoritative figure that has seen riches, both real and fake love, war, mistakes by the youth, and not enough respect being put on his name. He also toys with both modern and classic flows and different aggression levels. If you ask me, Nas puts up one of his most complete performances on this album.
How about the guest appearances on this album? Lauryn Hill was amazing (The rap verse that she put up on “Nobody” surprised me in a good way), Eminem was dominant, EPMD was impressive, YG exceeded expectations, and singers Blxst and Charlie Wilson both did their thing. I have no complaints.
I rarely think that sequels are better than original versions (The only sequel I think that is better than the original is Terminator 2); that being said, I think that King’s Disease II is better than King’s Disease. While I think both albums are fantastic, Nas sounds like he’s in a slightly more legendary pocket in the former. Whatever the case may be, enjoy both albums, as at 47, Nas sounds as good as he’s ever sounded.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.