Nas – Stillmatic

nas-stillmatic-back-n-the-day-buffet-1Nas released his fifth studio “Stillmatic” on December 18, 2001.  The album was produced by various producers including DJ Premier, Megahertz, Large Professor, Trackmasters and others.  The album is considered by many as his greatest album next to his debut release “Illmatic“.

The last time we heard Nas, he had dropped “Nastradamus” and we were left with some mediocre tracks unlike any other Nas album.  Then we get this classic!  It’s as almost as if the beef he had with Jay Z sparked something in him that got him focused once again. So after we had heard the “Takeover” off Jay Z’s classic album “The Blueprint“, we were dying to find out what Nas was going to respond.  Enter “Ether“.

Ether is that shit that make your soul burn slow” and surely this was the knockout blow we were waiting for.  Behind a sample of 2Pac saying “Fuck Jay Z“, we hear Nas going to town on Shawn Carter to the point that it makes you laugh!  The third verse is deadly and goes for the jugular!

Y’all niggas deal with emotions like bitches
What’s sad is I love you, ‘cause you’re my brother
You traded your soul for riches
My child, I’ve watched you grow up to be famous
And now I smile like a proud dad
Watching his only son that made it
You seem to be only concerned with dissin’ women
Were you abused as a child?
Scared to smile? They called you ugly?
Well, life is harsh; hug me! Don’t reject me!
Or make records to disrespect me, blatant or indirectly
In ’88 you was getting chased through your building
Callin’ my crib and I ain’t even give you my numbers
All I did was give you a style for you to run with
Smiling in my face, glad to break bread with the God
Wearing Jaz chains, no TEC’s, no cash, no cars
No jail bars, Jigga, no pies, no case
Just Hawaiian shirts, hanging with little Chase
You a fan, a phony, a fake, a pussy, a Stan
I still whip your ass; you 36 in a karate class?
You Tae-Bo ho, tryna work it out, you tryna get brolic?
Ask me if I’m tryna kick knowledge?
Nah, I’m tryna kick the shit you need to learn though
That ether, that shit that make your soul burn slow
Is he Dame Diddy, Dame Daddy or Dame Dummy?
Oh, I get it, you Biggie and he’s Puffy
Rocafella died of AIDS, that was the end of his chapter
And that’s the guy y’all chose to name your company after?
Put it together: I rock hoes, y’all rock fellas
And now y’all try to take my spot, fellas
Feel these hot rocks, fellas, put you in a dry spot, fellas
In a pine box with nine shots from my Glock, fellas
Foxy got you hot, ‘cause you kept your face in her puss
What you think, you getting girls now ‘cause of your looks?
Ne-gro, please! You no mustache having
With whiskers like a rat, compared to Beans you whack
And your man stabbed Un and made you take the blame
You ass, went from Jaz to hangin’ with Kane
To Irv, to B.I.G. – and Eminem murdered you on your own shit
You a dick-riding faggot, you love the attention
Queens niggas run you niggas, ask Russell Simmons! Ha

Jigga is not the only rapper Nas had beef with and on “Destroy & Rebuild” he goes after Cormega and Prodigy all the while flowing and sounding like the great Slick Rick!  The beat and storytelling are dope and makes us once again learn a little bit more of Nas’s relationship with other Queens rappers.

I put the name on the map after Marley and Shan
Q.B. before the ROC had one jam
Before the Death Row and Bad Boy beef
Had streets locked with raw talent, I laugh at the weak
So this about cleanin’ up house, my own backyard
Famous home of rap stars well known be getting robbed
P how many times ain’t you shamed that
Jungle was bustin’ his gun to get your weak chain back
They dont respect you a checks due for me for your fame
Mega I hope you blow so I’m saying your name
Hoes play your position cause you’ll never be King
Even Jigga want the crown: “How that sound?” Poor thing!
I’m representin’ Queensbridge U.S.A
Where two SK’s go off every day ruthless-lay
All you little roaches and rats
Besides my man Ricky, Nas the true ruler is back
So haters say

One of the greatest tracks on this album is “One Mic” where Nas goes from zero to one hundred with lyrical speed and let’s us know how great his life would be if he didn’t have so many problems.  He even asks God for help and the video has plenty of Christian images that will make you think that Nas is looking at life a little bit different than before.

All I need is one mic, one beat, one stage
One nigga front, my face on the front page
Only if I had one gun, one girl and one crib
One God to show me how to do things his son did
Pure, like a cup of virgin blood
Mixed with 151, one sip’ll make a nigga flip
Writing names on my hollow tips, plottin’ shit
Mad violence, who I’m gon’ body? This hood politics
Acknowledge it, leave bodies chopped up in garbages
Seeds watch us, grow up and try to follow us
Police watch us, roll up and try knockin’ us
One knee I ducked, could it be my time is up?
But my luck, I got up, the cop shot again
Bus stop glass bursts, a fiend drops his Heineken
Ricocheting between the spots that I’m hiding in
Blacking out as I shoot back, fuck getting hit
This is my hood, I’ma rep to the death of it
Till everybody come home, little niggas is grown
Hoodrats, don’t abortion your womb
We need more warriors soon
Sent from the star, sun and the moon
In this life of police chases, street sweepers and coppers
Stick-up kids with no conscience
Leaving victims with doctors
If you really think you ready to die, with 9’s out
This is what Nas is ’bout, nigga, the time is now

The “Sopranos” influenced song “Got Ur Self A Gun” starts off with one of Nas’s most recognizable lines,

My first album had no famous guest appearances
The outcome: I’m crowned the best lyricist

The video for this blazing hot track has him reenacting Tupac’s and Biggie’s death as if he were them.  The song is incredible and that piano riff is so ill, it can make medicine sick!  Giving props to Rakim, he spits,

I’m the N, the A to the S-I-R
And If I wasn’t, I must’ve been Escobar
You know the kid got his chipped tooth fixed, hair parted with a barber’s preciseness, Bravehearted for life, it’s
The return of the Golden Child, son of a blues player
So who are you, player? Y’all awaited the true savior
Puffin’ that tropical, cups of that vodka, too
Papi chu’, tore up, wake up in a hospital
Throw up? Never! ‘Member I do this through righteous steps
You Judas thought I was gone, so in light of my death
Y’all been all happy-go-lucky, bunch of sambos
Call me “God’s Son” with my pants low
I don’t die slow, put them rags up like Petey Pablo
This is Nasdaq though, in my Nascar
With this Nas flow, what could beat that? Not a soul reppin’
Hit the record store, never let me go, get my whole collection

Lastly, Nas reinvents the game by doing something no other MC or rapper has ever done.  He tells the story backwards!  On the appropriately titled “Rewind” the Large Professor samples “Monkey Island” by the J Geils Band and also the drum pattern of “It’s Yours” by T La Rock to give it the beat for Nas’s backwards story!  Once you read the lyrics backwards, it make total sense!  Dope concept and track!

Listen up, gangstas and honeys with your hair done
Pull up a chair, hon’, and put it in the air, son
Dog, whatever they call you; God, just listen
I spit a story backwards, it starts at the ending
The bullet goes back in the gun
The bullet hole’s closing this chest of a nigga
Now he back to square one
Screaming, “shoot don’t please”
I put my fifth back on my hip
It’s like a VCR rewinding a hit
He put his hands back on his bitch
My caravan doors open up
I jumped back in the van and closed it shut
Going reverse, slowly prepared
My nigga Jungle utters out something crazy like, “go he there”
Sitting in back of this chair, we hittin’ the roach
The smoke goes back in the blunt
The blunt gets bigger in growth
Jungle unrolls it, put his weed back in the jar
The blunt turns back into a cigar
We listen to Stevie, it sounded like heavy metal fans
Spinning records backwards of AC/DC
I give my niggas dap, jump out the van, back first
Back upstairs, took off the black shirt
I’m in the crib with the phone to my ear
Listen up so y’all can figure out the poem real clear
The voice on the phone was like, “outside right we”
So with my mouth wide, holding my heat
Bullets I had plenty to squeeze, plenty for you
‘Cause Jungle said, “Block your on enemy’s the”
Hung up the phone, then the phone rang
I’m laid in the bed, thinking ’bout this pretty young thing
Who left, she came back, her clothes just fell to the rug
She fell to my bed and gave me a hug
I told her, “no hell,” she talking ’bout, “me kiss”
Bobbed her head then spit the nut back in my dick
Started sucking with no hands, a whole lot of spit
Then got up and put her bra back on her tits
Got fully dressed and told me, “stressed really I’m”
Picked up her Gucci bag and left a nigga behind
Walking through the door, she rang the bell twice
I vomited vodka back in my glass with juice and ice
The clock went back from three to two to one
And that’s about the time the story begun
That’s when I first heard the voicemail on the cell
It said, “Son, we found that nigga we gotta kill.”

Also included is “Rule” that used the 80’s hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears and the crazy dope “You’re the Man” where his imagery is dope when he says “I saw a dead bird flying through a broken sky“.  Question remains, is this album as good or better than his debut?  I say no, but it’s a close second.

-Al E.

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