This is the album we have been waiting for since Nas proclaimed with DJ Khaled back in Summer 2016 that his album was done. After mixed reviews about the Kanye West produced Nasir. Nas fans can finally rejoice and listen to a complete album from Queensbridge Finest himself.
On the Lost Tapes II Nasir took us back to his heavy jazz influence and got back into his art of storytelling. With the exception of a few r&b singers and a chorus featuring Swizz Beatz, Nas carries this project from start to finish. He touches on a variety of topics from the allegations made by Kelis, his beef with Prodigy, willingness to find love, and his place in hip-hop.
Here is a track by track breakdown :
1. No Bad Energy- opens with a haunting beat and choir singing in the background. Reflects on his place in the industry and let's us know why he is the Don. "Y'all been rhyming for years and Jungle made a hit "Oochie Wally" ideas Sold a million records Had 'em embarrassed Signed to Columbia Blew a check, he was laughing"
2. Veron Family- uptempo tribute to his set. Nas spits his rapid fire and gives the story of him coming up with crew. This could be a part 2 to the track Back When on Life is Good. "The Bridge rappers influenced me, son But if I was in the Juice Crew, we woulda won"
3. Jarreau of Rap- uptempo heavily jazz influenced style. Nas flexes his skills to pay homage to Al Jarreau, while manipulating his voice to mimic the horns in the background. This track has been met with mix reviews but at a second listen Nas does something that not every rapper can do and he still manages to show his lyrical skills. "Chill, I'm the humble bragger I could son a rapper, every one of you rappers Vámonos, I be running you rappers Adios, I don't see none of you rappers"
4. Lost Freestyle- nostalgic hook and beat that sounds like something from the 80's with an r&b sample. Nas continues with his rapid style of rhymes and stays in the pocket the whole track. These is easily my favorite track off LT2. Nas takes us on journey using his alter ego's life. "Where I resided, a phenomenon With the ambitions of a riderPretty amazon on my arm, nigga, I'm the flyest The flyest, haha, yeah"
5.Tanasia- has highly anticipated production by Rza. Tanasia tells a love story. Nas his extremely head of heels for his new found soulmate and she has his back. My only issue with this song is that it does not have proper ending and I wanted to know more about the couples fate. "Leave her standin' at the altar, bro, I couldn't falter Plus that Nigerian blood mixed in her culture Body like she Evel Knievel, on the soul cycle Lookin' like Janet, dance like Michael"
6. Royalty ft. Ravaughn- uplighting anthem that has Ravaughn signing life into the younger Queens coming up and also provides them with advice to stay Queens.Nas address both men and women on this track and speaks from experience on how we can uplift each other and know we come from royalty. Ravaughn sings about trading the chain for a crown. This a grown-up version of Black Girl Lost and it seems Nas has done some reflection to realize that both men and women need guidance and more importantly we need each other. "Football wives, basketball wives Mistresses slash more tires with knives They lookin' for a dollar I'm lookin' for a JoAnne Chesimard to turn to a shotta"
7. Who Are You ft. David Ranier- smooth beat slick rhymes. Nas is rapping to the guy who made it out the hood and got out of touch with his roots instead of going back to the community that raised him he is trying to conform to society's standards which has Nas question who are you? He also tells the story of Pat there is more to her than meets the eyes. "I'm Idi Amin, Marcus Garvey, H. Rap Brown I'm Muhammad Ali, I'm Reginald Lewis George Washington Carver, I'm Nas with incredible music"
8. Adult Film ft. Swizz Beatz- 90's throwback break beat with piano in the background. Nas spits his game to the ladies and proves his case of why he should be with them. Towards the end of the song he does dig deep for self reflection to figure why they are attracted to each other. "They lean on you, expecting you not to fall over Like you never feel pressure, like you made of steel So I absorb your pain, I like to see you chill Eight millimeter cinematic celluloid I see us both, little girl, little boy"
9. War Against Love- horns in the background heavily smoothed out. Nas is out spreading love everywhere through the world and also gives a history lesson of those who came before us and the turmoil that was faced. This track is missing something or person in my opinion this would have been the perfect track to ft. Az on.
10. The Art of It ft. J. Myers- mid tempo with heavy piano in the background explodes living a day in the life of a fly rapper. This is one of the oldest songs on the record states he is only 36 and at the time there were only rumors of Nas and Kelis getting divorced but nothing official. "I can afford a closet in alphabet order A life, Adidas under A, the B for beater, Bottega British Nikes sneaker, my C so ill That man I get chills when I look at my Christian Dior's, they kill D is for Dries Van Noten Young niggas try to keep up with what I'm doing"
12. Highly Favored- another jazz influenced beat with the sample from Let's Get It slowed down. Mr. Jones continues to humble brag the only way he knows how. However, he still manages to take time to give advice to today's youth."I am motivation, I don't talk with the next man, I'm never hating This daily bread, holy bread Alphabetical numerals, code of red What's more dense, gold or lead?"
13. Queen Wolf- with a smooth piano guiding the track Nas gets in his bag early. Nas takes us on what would be a great premise of a movie, and tells the story of how he become the Queens Wolf. This is definitely a throwback to the I Gave You Power and Rewind Nas."Waking up is a pleasure though last night I can't remember Cash up on my dresser, where'd it come from? This is messed up What kind of fatal drug am I taking? Who laced it?Previous night memories who erased it? Wasn't even wasted"
14. It Never Ends- heavy piano mellow beat. Nas returns to his essence this sounds like it could have been the intro for one of his albums that may have gotten shelved. He pays respect to Notorious BIG while reflecting on being comfortable with himself and not focusing on what the critics say."They hate it before they hear it Clear that my perseverance is somethin' they can't bear It's become apparently clear They fear me, I'm not dying or rather"
15.You Mean The World To Me ft. Leroy Hutson- opens with a smooth vibe. Nas tells the story of how he pulled a Queen from her man and how they rushed in fell in love over time issues of trust, doubt, and compatibility come it to play which leaves the question did he know this young lady to begin with. The hook is very catchy. "But when you make a girl leave her man You never really know where she stand How you know she really yours? Somebody could do the same to you"
16. QueensBridge Politics- smooth beats with the drums leading the way. Nasir starts about talking about the things he would like to teach young Knight and he goes into the history of all the dope artist that came out of QB. He gives the complete history and talks about the things he was into while watching Big Daddy Kane blow up. He sounds remorseful over his relationship with late great Prodigy but makes peace with it towards the end of the song. "I wish the 'book never came out And everything got straightened out Before you left, I saw you, it was all love Except we needed to build more and get things correct"
17. Beautiful Life ft. Ravaughn- this song is dedicated to his fan base. Nas picks up right where Life is Good left off. This could easily be No Introduction Part II. Nas starts off by taking about how Carmen Bryant wrote a book about their relationship and had people think she was the reason for the beef between him and Jay-Z. Nas let the world know that was the was not true. He opened up about his child support plus visitation case with his ex- wife and how he would like for her to be happy since she has since remarried. He also reflects on his tax problems and vows to find out who was stealing from him. Nas seems to only want to put good energy out there which makes this album come full circle. At the end of the record he does have a message of Kelis to Live and Let Love and Light in. "Stevie Wonder sent me word that he was in my corner Blind but still sees the pain of a young performer Used to be my rib thought it was 'til death do us She married again and I'm wishin' all the best to her"
Overall, Lost Tapes II was definitely worth the wait. It is a complete album that is mixed and engineered properly to showcase Nas' talent. While I do not think it was perfect only because Tanasia does not sound finished and I selfishly wanted Az to be featured on the LP it is worth the listen out of 5 crowns I give it 4.75.