Last Week In Hip-Hop: Nas Has A New Album Coming. How Many Classics Does He Have?

In less than a week (August 21), Nas is slated to release his 13th solo album, King’s Disease. With 2019’s Lost Tapes 2 serving as a welcomed snack for fans, this marks the first new LP from Nasir Jones since 2018’s NASIR-a collection produced entirely by Kanye West. Maintaining that collaborative style, King’s Disease is reportedly handled by Hit-Boy—the Fontana, California native known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, G.O.O.D Music, and Nipsey Hussle. The Grammy Award-winner has made hits such as “Ni**as In Paris,” “Racks In The Middle,” and “Clique.” Previously, Hit-Boy laced Nas with “Another Black Girl Lost” and “Royalty.”

Last week, fans got their first taste of the 2020 chemistry between Nas and Hit-Boy by way of “Ultra Black” (embedded in the AFH playlist, below). The Mass Appeal Records song features H.B. (who has always been a multi-threat), with Nasir rapping, “My son will be my resurrection / Constantly learning lessons / I never die, you get the message?” The opening line is an homage to Nas’ 26-year-old “The World Is Yours” lyric. The song celebrates Black identity as Nas laces images throughout the song, such as “Cash Money with the white tee and the soldier rag / We goin’ ultra Black, unapologetically Black / The opposite of Doja Cat, Michael Blackson Black.

Notably, the August single arrives without credits to Def Jam, the label Nas has been signed to since before 2006’s Hip Hop Is Dead. The Mass Appeal head may be releasing music independently for the first time since his Main Source breakthrough appearance, ahead of tenures with Ruffhouse, Sony/Columbia, and most recently, Def Jam. Other details surrounding King’s Disease are sparse at this time.

The song, as well as Nas’ legacy, was a primary topic of discussion for the latest episode of AFH‘s What’s The Headline? podcast (episode #20). AFH‘s team weighs in on how many classic albums are in Nas’ catalog. If Illmaticthe very album that our readers voted as “Hip-Hop’s Greatest Album Of All Time”—is the only one meeting the classic criteria, we debate its effect on Nas’ place among the all-time Top 10 MCs.

Here Is What Else Is Happening Of Note:

DJ Cassidy releases virtual Hip-Hop concert “Pass The Mic Volume 2,” featuring Rev Run, D.M.C., Rakim, Chuck D, Doug E. Fresh, MC Serch, Milk D, Special Ed, Kid ‘n Play, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Grand Puba, MC Lyte, Chip Fu, DoItAll, MC Shan, DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, Nice & Smooth, Dres, Monie Love, Young M.C., Chubb Rock, Big Daddy Kane, Rob Base, Salt ‘n Pepa, Naughty By Nature, and Arrested Development (YouTube)

Fat Joe compares Drake to Michael Jackson (Complex)

Boldy James releases his second album of 2020 (The Versace Tape), marking his first project with Griselda Records (Link)

Drake & Lil Durk release “Laugh Now, Cry Later,” featuring perceived jabs at Kanye West, Pusha-T, and Tekashi 6ix9ine, as well as a video made at Nike headquarters, suggesting a new partnership (YouTube)

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is getting an official reboot as a drama, executive produced by Will Smith, Quincy Jones, and Benny Medina. The upcoming series is based on a fan-made 2019 concept by filmmaker Morgan Cooper. For the official reboot, Cooper will write, direct, and co-executive produce. (The Hollywood Reporter)

#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads’ official playlist, featuring Nas & Hit-Boy’s “Ultra Black,” as well as new music from REKS & Pharoahe Monch, Boldy James, Anderson .Paak with Jay Rock, J.I.D., and NoName, as well as more than 85 other recent songs.