Nas “Magic” is Something Special
It’s exactly what him and Hit-Boy are making.
When I saw that Nas dropped a surprise album, I was intrigued.
And at nine songs, I got time today.
The album cover is a nod to a previous time when Nas was in his Genesis. On the outro of “40–16 Building”, Nas states that he’s in rare form and just getting started. This is truly an Illmatic moment.
Speaking of which, let’s cut the Illmatic comparisons today. If you must, this is as close as we’re going to get: no BS, poignant lyricism, and possibly his most personable album to date next to 2012’s Life is Good. This gentleman is on the verge of aging like fine, vintage rap wine.
Magic to is supposedly an intermittent album akin to Pusha T’s Darkest Before the Dawn as appetizer to Daytona (though it would be years until the main course). To this day, I still think Darkest is a better album than the short cinema that was Daytona.
Prodigy’s Return of the Mac would serve the same purpose as well staving off fans until the release of HNIC 3. “This the mixtape/imagine how the album sound,” he rapped on “Stop Frontin’.” Both Return and Darkest were, thematically, more focused and composed.
And the same goes for Magic. Scrolling on Apple New Releases without a care in the world, the album art immediately caught my attention. And maybe it’s because I yearn for those Illmatic (that is 90’s) days of rap.
From the opening track, “Speechless,” Nas lays the format for the listener — all him with breaks at the end to let the beat breathe. Missing is Hit Boy’s signature tag. For this body of work, it’s for the best.
R&B hooks are milk carton’d. Nas carries the entire album, verses and hooks, with only one guest feature: ASAP Rocky (of all people) and DJ Premier.
Again at nine songs, it calculatingly is a breath of fresh air. Magic is the album Kanye wish he would’ve made back on his “seven heaven” tirade in 2018.
The production is wonderfully complimentary. Most of the songs sound like they are vyying for the top spot on somebody's soundtrack on one of many Netflix original content.
This isn’t old man Nas rapping here. Hell, it’s scary how youthful his voice sounds at the ripe age of 48. This man is almost 50!
Investments and business time have not negatively impacted his stride. If he keeps this mystical, Super Saiyan “rare form” up he keeps touting about, the world will mess around and get an alien version of Illmatic.
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