With the release of Nas' last album, Stillmatic, he found himself once again at the top of his game. However, one question remains in the heads of most hip-hop fans - can Nas maintain this position or if will he falter like the last time he was on top (after the release of Illmatic)?
The first piece of evidence, The Lost Tapes, contains twelve songs labeled as unreleased tracks. These "unreleased tracks" are mostly composed of B-sides and songs that didn't make Nas' previous albums. Admittedly, I felt that releasing The Lost Tapes was a risky move on Nas' part, but one that works to his advantage as the album's quality caught me off guard. It yields immediate dividends in the form of pure Nas storytelling lyricism coupled with quality underground sounds.
'Poppa was a Player' is the best cut as Nas demonstrates his maturity and understanding, in recounting his father's story. 'Blaze a 50' is an upbeat thriller that was surprisingly left off of 1999's I Am album. 'Doo Rags' features an amazing jazzy piano loop and a catchy chorus. Despite the album's impressive tracks, several cuts falter, including the two that didn't make Stillmatic: 'Black Zombies' and 'No Ideas Original'. Despite impressive lyrical content on 'Black Zombies,' it features a truly painful chorus and a sample reminiscent of Tracey Lee's 'The After Party.' 'No Ideas Original' also didn't make Stillmatic for good reason, as it sounds eerily similar to the Inspector Gadget theme.
I enjoyed The Lost Tapes because it is a solo album and thus allows Nas to shine lyrically over simplistic and street-credible beats. Not surprisingly, The Lost Tapes doesn't maintain Nas' position at the top of hip-hop, but it does however provide hip-hop fans alike with a quality Nas artifact.
Click here to buy the album or read CDNow's album review.
This review was written October 29, 2002