Nas & His Poetic Roots Shine Alongside Erykah Badu In A Song Of Survival (Audio)

In the course of his extensive career, Nas has sometimes decided to strip away all of the traditional Hip-Hop production to present himself (as he said on “Nas Is Like”) as a “thug poet.” In turn, records like smash hit “One Mic,” or pivotal moments including “Queens Get The Money” and his mix of “Thugz Mansion” not only exist, they shine. With unlikely backdrops, these songs bring closer attention to Nasir Jones’ writing and careful delivery, coming one time for your mind.

“This Bitter Land” is the latest Nas song to fall into this category. Featuring Erykah Badu, the two artists who have returned parts of their genres to the essence come together in a song about the present-day realities facing some. As heard at Rolling Stone, Nas appears to rap as a character, rapping as a man on the run from evil, the police, and his own mortality. Like “One Mic,” he picks up the tempo and emotion in his delivery—as the compound rhymes kick in, and the poem gets more complex through repetition and cadence. The beat is completely out of the Rap/Hip-Hop chamber, adding drama to its message. Meanwhile, Badu croons in a way that seems to homage some of the pained deliveries of Nina Simone in the 1960s and 1970s.

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This song is part of the Nas executive produced-film, The Land soundtrack July 29). Badu stars in the movie, which also features “The Wire’s” Michael K. Williams.