We break down the top 5 Nas albums.
5. Life Is Good
“Life Is Good,” at the time, felt like a celebration of Nas’ career.
A bunch of tracks on Life Is Good feels reflective, celebratory, and nostalgic. At the time of its release, I thought it could be Nas’ last album. Thankfully, he has dropped seven more since.
Production-wise, Life Is Good boasts a bunch of old-school, theatrical beats. It almost feels like Nas wanted to create a prequel to Illmatic. If we ever got an Unplugged from him, this would be the album that hits the hardest.
Favorite Tracks: “Daughters,” “Cherry Wine,” and “The Don.”
Nas and Hit-Boy will go down as one of the best duos in the history of hip-hop based on all of the classic records they created in three years.
King’s Disease III stands out as an exceptional third installment, with Nas’s remarkable consistency and Hit-Boy’s outstanding production, showcasing a blend of eras and tones while maintaining Nas’s timeless voice and delivering a compelling mix of nostalgia and contemporary wisdom. Out of all the King’s Diseases, this one felt the edgiest, the rawest, and the hardest hitting.
Favorite Tracks: “Michael and Quincy,” “Ghetto Reporter,” “Thun.”
“Stillmatic” has aged very well.
As hip-hop’s newest villain, Nas dropped the very underrated Stillmatic. At the time, we all wanted to hear him release 100 versions of “Ether;” instead, he hooked us up with some of his most notable records to date, such as “Got Urself A Gun” and “One Mic.”
I know this sounds a little odd, but I love how “2001” this album sounds. Back then, rappers were into beefing with one another, so every song sounds extra dramatic, and every bar sounds like some sneak dissing s**t. That 2001 sound really worked for Nas’ style.
Favorite Tracks: “Ether,” “One Mic,” “Got Urself A Gun,” and “2nd Childhood.”
2. It Was Written
Following up a classic album with a pretty damn good album is very hard to do.
It Was Written will not end up in history books, and that’s a shame because it’s a great album. It solidified Nas as a fantastic storyteller, one of the grittiest rappers out, and someone more than capable of compiling complete records (The hooks on this album stand out a lot). Also, he doesn’t sound entirely like a hungry rapper in the project; he sounds like a hungry rapper who knows he’s that ninja.
The production we get on this album is excellent. Almost every beat has a classic hip-hop feel.
Favorite Tracks: “Affirmative Action,” “Street Dreams,” If I Ruled The World,” and “The Message.”
“Illmatic” is arguably the greatest rap album of all time.
Illmatic is flawless. Every song on the album has its own classic beat, quotables, flows, and samples. Also, Nas raps with such hunger on the project that it almost feels like he came to the studio with a tapeworm in his coffee. All in all, I can listen to Illmatic with just the instrumentals, Illmatic without the instrumentals, or an Imanbek version of Illmatic. Every single aspect of the album can stand on its own (Oh, and the album’s artwork is fire).
If I do a review of this album, I’m giving every song on it 5/5 (I’m just giving y’all a heads up).
Favorite Tracks: Every single song.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.