Nas Releases His King’s Disease Album. Where Does It Rank In His Catalog?

Last Friday (August 21), Nas released his 13th solo album, King’s Disease. Produced entirely by the Inland Empire native Hit-Boy, the project features appearances by Anderson .Paak, Charlie Wilson, Big Sean, and Dr. Dre, among others. The Mass Appeal Records release also marks a surprise reunion of The Firm. The quartet’s original lineup with Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega on “Full Circle.” These five MCs debuted nearly a quarter-century ago on Nas’ sophomore LP, It Was Written. Following alleged turmoil with Nas’ then-manager Steve Stoute, Cormega’s spot in The Firm was replaced by another Queens MC, Nature. That group would sign with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment to release one album, a chart-topping eponymous 1997 effort. Although ‘Mega worked with AZ and Nature in the 20-plus years that followed, many fans perceived a lingering rift between him and Nas, who name-checked him on 1994’s “One Love.” Heads now know where both men stand in their first collaboration since “Da Bridge 2001.” Dre appears as an uncredited guest on “Full Circle,” using his real estate to praise Hit-Boy, who has previously worked with JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and others. That song, and others from King’s Disease, appear on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist, embedded below.

Nas’ new 13-track, 38-minute album begs the question of where it ranks in the MCs’ storied catalog. For the latest episode of AFH‘s What’s The Headline? podcast (episode #21), we debate the latest release’s place—following a handful of listens. Nas’ storied debut, 1994’s Illmatic, was previously elected “The Greatest Hip-Hop Album Of All-Time” by AFH‘s readers in a 2016 tournament-style voting bracket.

Nas Names His Top 5 MCs Of This Generation & Lists His 3 Favorite Songs (Video)

In traditional form, new music from Nas also meant surprise music released by former foe-turned-friend, JAY-Z. Pharrell Williams and JAY-Z released “Entrepreneur,” a music video, in a week that also saw new drops from The LOX & DMX, Big K.R.I.T., Busta Rhymes & Vybz Kartel, Vic Mensa, and RZA & Ghostface Killah. All of these works are discussed in What’s The Headline?.

Here Is What Else Is Happening Of Note:

DJ Shay, a veteran Buffalo, New York producer/DJ, has died in Atlanta, Georgia from complications reportedly related to COVID-19. Well into his career, Shay produced noteworthy songs in 2019, including Benny The Butcher & Black Thought’s “Crowns For Kings” as well as the Pusha-T collaboration, “18 Wheeler.” The 48-year-old was instrumental to the careers of Benny, Conway, and others. (WGRZ)

Kim Kardashian-West and veteran singer Monica are advocating to release rapper C-Murder from prison and providing him with legal services through Reform Alliance. Corey Miller, the former No Limit Records platinum star and member of TRU as well as the 504 Boyz, was previously sentenced for the 2002 killing of Steve Thomas. Corey, as well as brothers (and former band-mates) Master P and Silkk The Shocker, have claimed his innocence. The developments follow the August airing of No Limit Chronicles, a Master P-produced BET docuseries that touches on No Limit Records’ rise and fall, including C-Murder’s legal battle. (Complex)

Singer Tracy Chapman is suing Nicki Minaj and Funkmaster Flex. In a potential landmark case for artists, especially in Hip-Hop, Chapman’s attorneys are seeking damages surrounding an unreleased Nas collaboration (“Sorry”) that was subsequently played on the famous DJ’s HOT 97 radio show before making its way online. That song contains an unauthorized sample of Chapman’s “Baby Can I Hold You” Before the broadcast, Nicki’s management team had been trying to work with Chapman’s management to secure rights to the song. It has not been reported what damages Chapman and her team are seeking; Nicki Minaj maintains her innocence. (Rolling Stone)

Several of Flex’s former colleagues, including Angie Martinez, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy, are being inducted into the Radio Hall Of Fame. Sway In The Morning‘s Sway Calloway, the entire Breakfast Club team (including Charlamagne Tha God), and former BET VJ Donnie Simpson are also being inducted. (The Radio Hall Of Fame)

Two men, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan, Jr., have been indicted for the 2002 Queens, New York murder of Jam Master Jay. The killing of the Run-D.M.C. member, born Jason Mizell, has been unsolved and the subject of a recent documentary, Who Killed Jam Master Jay?, that publicized some of the same findings used by the New York Police Department in making arrests. (New York Times)

#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads’ official playlist, featuring selections from King’s Disease as well as new music from The LOX & DMX, Boldy James, Anderson .Paak with Jay Rock, J.I.D., and NoName, as well as more than 89 other recent songs.