Nas Powers Up With His First Verse Of The Year (Audio)
Last month, during a DJ battle between Just Blaze and Swizz Beatz, the Ruff Ryders producer brought out the big guns. Swizzy played a never-before heard song by Nas, Jay Z, Jadakiss, and DMX. On one hand, the record called back to the late ’90s and early 2000s, when Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella were heavy on the grind. During that time, Nas was famously at odds with Jay, making the live-played cut all the more historic for the moment. While Heads can wait for a CDQ version of that song to knock in their systems, Nasty Nas drops his first formally release new music of 2017 alongside another heavy hitter. Rick Ross’ just-released Rather You Than Me contains “Powers That Be,” the latest in a decorated collaborative discography between the former Def Jam Records label-mates (each signed during Jay Z’s regime).
Produced by SAP (The Game, Mac Miller, Meek Mill), the song begins with Chris Rock (as he is on other album cuts). The dreamy beat still has a knock, as Rozay opens up with some Gangsta Rap, while stating some of his mantras surrounding power, fame, and wealth. He references Ice Cube’s Kill At Will, and uses his ad-libs to contribute to the beat. Ross delivers another verse with a peppier flow, and some compound rhymes at the top, chronicling his rise to power.
Nas kicks it off with a line that sticks “You know how it is: new levels, new devils.” That attention-grabbing opener leads to a verse blending religious iconography and language to Nas’ own rank in the Rap game. He notes how he sees himself as any other, while those he’s influenced put him on a pedestal. The short bars connect, with Nas riffing. This verse is trademark Nas, from the cadence to the worldliness and far-reaching imagery. While things are out of all of our control, Nas and Rick’ have held the steering wheels of their careers.