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  • Writer's pictureMC Till

Nas & His "Trash" Beats

My social media timeline was filled with fighting. No. Not about Trump. Not about the immigration issue on the Southern boarder. Not about mumble rappers (thankfully). Instead, it was about Nas and his trash or not trash beats!!! Nas released “Lost Tapes 2” last month and people were definitely expressing their feelings not just for this collection of lost tapes but also about Nas’ beat selection in general. Many people online made the claim that Nas picks trash beats. And those that disagreed did so loud and clear and arguments followed. I want to put some things in perspective. Nas recorded one of the most iconic records ever. EVER! And if that was not enough, Nas has performed that album with the National Symphony Orchestra! Plus, he could perform that album with just about any orchestra around the country and probably the world. Name one rapper, ONE, that can say that? Illmatic has entire books dedicated to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lin-Manuel Miranda working on “Illmatic: the Broadway Musical.” So I have a hunch that Nas isn't sitting around worrying if people likes the beats he chooses. Maybe he should? Now, that's another conversation. Okay, so let’s go ahead and look at these trash beats. Illmatic is dope. No question. “It Was Written” is generally respected as a great album, beats and all. Then, his next two albums were definitely different. I personally don’t think the majority of beats on these two albums were that good. BUT, then he came back with “Stillmatic.” Dope beats on that release. Then, “Street’s Disciple.” Okay, so yeah, he had some okay beats on that project, but it was a double disc so one can easily find one album worth of dope beats on that joint. Then, we look at “God’s Son” (or did this come before Street’s disciple?). Not the best album, but good and the production ranged from okay to great on that. Then, “Hip-hop is Dead” and “Untitled” which both had some incredible production mixed with okay production. Finally, we have “Life is Good” which features a slew of dope beats. I’m not going to talk about the joint with Kanye. I’m still in denial. So, yeah, he didn’t always have the most stellar production. But, with the exception of a few misses on his third and fourth albums, I’m not going to go so far as to say he picks “trash beats.” Has he released anything as good as “Illmatic” or “It Was Written?” No. Not in my opinion. But, name one emcee with an album as good as “Illmatic” as their debut that ever topped it? It is hard to do. We hold Nas to these incredibly high standards. Granted, he is Nas and he can get any beat he wants. So, don’t you think he is getting just that? If we like it, is secondary. Nas has to make the music he makes. He doesn’t have to run it by us first and I don't think he should. Nas has to be Nas. We can like it or not. I just happen to usually like it. What about you? What do you think about Nas and his beat selection? Peace. MC Till

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