Nas’ 13 studio album, King’s Disease, is a collaboration with Hit Boy who executive produced the album and all its songs. It’s easily better than Nas’ rushed, scrappy and short 2018 collaboration album with Kanye West, NASIR. His last project, The Lost Tapes 2, contained unreleased tracks from his previous albums so it would be unfair to compare this to that.
Nas touches on the album’s title on the opening track but it’s on “The Definition” where he gives a clearer explanation as to what it means. “The definition of King’s Disease/ Well, also known as rich man disease,” he says on the track. Rich man’s disease is an alternative name for gout, a disease that is said to be caused by overindulgence in food and drink. Hence the album cover which features what appears to be a feast. The album is about the dangers of overindulgence. Tracks like “Blue Benz” and “Car #85” demonstrate how we desire material things. But songs like “Replace Me” show that having the material things doesn’t necessarily mean that things will be better. He also warns, “you ain’t gotta be rich to get it/ Just doing too much, you’ll get it,” on “The Definition”. After showing us the disease and what it can do throughout the album, Nas offers up a solution to King’s Disease on the album’s final track “The Cure”.
“Too many changes, you changed from your greatness/
Become a byproduct of yourself all for the paper regardless” – Nas on “The Cure”
There’s some surprising guests on the album including Don Toliver on “Replace Me”, Lil Durk on “Til The War Is Won” and Fivio Foreign and ASAP Ferg who both appear on “Spicy”. As odd as they seem though they are largely a success, besides the latter track which is best forgotten. Nas also reunites with The Firm (AZ, Foxy Brown and Cormega) on “Full Circle”. Cormega’s flow on the song isn’t the best but he delivers one of the album’s best lines, “whatever brings you down won’t elevate you.”
There’s some good moments on the album and Nas makes a number of points that will resonate. “Ultra Black” is a shining example of how good Nas can still be. However, this album is best enjoyed when the standout tracks are cherry picked and perhaps added to another playlist. There isn’t quite enough to warrant repeated listens of it from front to back. Nas’ new album King’s Disease is out now on Apple Music and Spotify.
By Oscar Writes
Previously: J Hus – Big Conspiracy (Album Review)