Nas Flips His Rhyme Style & Travels Back To The ’80s With Swizz Beatz (Audio)

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Swizz Beatz just released his first album in more than 11 years. This hit-maker has seemingly been able to work with all sides of Rap music, branching into other genres. From hardcore to Pop polish, the Bronx, New York representative has thrived since his days as the low-key sound-provider on DMX’s first two albums.

Swizzy’s sophomore, Poison, shows his depth. Kendrick Lamar supports a LOX track on “Something Dirty/Pic Got Us.” Pusha-T spits some of his venom on “Cold Blooded.” However, the standout track may be from Nas. “Echo” forecasts a lot of collaboration from the two New York City veterans.

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At a time when Swizz and Nas were at work on an album, “Echo” marks their strongest collaboration to date. Notably, it is DJ Scratch (Flipmode Squad, EPMD) that laces the sample-savvy cut. Swizz and Scratch go back, with the Brooklyn turntablist doing Busta Rhymes’ “New York Sh*t” that featured Beatz’ peppy vocal all over the track.

This one has the same, with the spirited producer/MC/DJ talking throughout the opening. However, Nas reflects on his life and admits he wouldn’t change a single thing for a billion dollars. God’s Son reflects on the ills in the courtyards of Queensbridge, the old Times Square, and pulls no punches on his disdain for law enforcement.

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Nas uses short and punchy bars. It is a style that he popularized earlier in his career and has become the medium for MCs such as Roc Marciano, Planet Asia, Action Bronson, Brownsville Ka, as well as Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Mach Hommy.

He opens with, “Throwin’ piss out the window at police / Chasin’ ni**as with warrants, there was never no peace / Judy’s ass was enormous, I was fresh indeed / Think about her sexually, I knew a bunch of Radio Raheems / Rest in peace / Four finger rings, big as brass knuckles / Haters walk by, try to stab you if they hug you / Lady on the fourth floor hollering every evening / ‘Til she planned up, wasn’t having it that evening / He was beating her, she ain’t have it that evening / One shot to the neck and the jugular, now he bleeding / She beat the case, but damn the kid suffer / I’m dating a daughter, but I’m having visions of a mother / Project nights, no project lights / Hopin’ a friend don’t try to rob my mom at night / She work hard to bring it to the table / Channel U before we had cable Campbell’s soup before I had sushi / Viker shoe before I had the Gucci / Forty0deuce for the karate movie / Out of sync mouth movin’ movie/  Sent to the store for a loosie / Came a long way, now the same ones salute me.” The quick bars with repetitive rhymes show an MC who is in a mood, not phoning it in. Nas paints pictures with his words.

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He keeps his chorus simple but punchy too: “I know some fake ni**as livin’ a lie / I got some real ni**as ready to die.

The second verse finds Nas reflecting on his friends who are locked up and gone. Meanwhile, the investment mogul makes his declaration that experience is worth more than riches. “We was Times Square pioneers, 40 deuce, 40-below boots / Forty ounce brew the true ‘Bishop’ from Juice / Runnin’ wild, loose, me and my 40 troops were stupid / Style, it was snorkel coats, Polo gooses, ruthless / Goons and wolves, bail-jumpers / Everybody from everywhere / They was tryin’ to jump us for pumpin’ / True story, my youngins, I’m a deadly thuggish Freddie Douglas / Military persona, yeah, I’m livin’ with honor / To my ni**as who servin’ 40 while I’m in my 40s / I’m a walkin’ observatory, a murder story since a shorty / On this journey ’til I’m A Weekend At Bernie’s dead / Burnin’ herb, Porsche frames hang on my head / Thirty years ago, memories they never left / Special memories, my ni**a, that we’ll never forget / For some reason we isolate that feelin’ / I wouldn’t change a damn thing for a billion.

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As Nas has claimed he’s at work on an album overseen by RZA and Swizz, “Echo” booms.