Nas Is In His Prime In His 40s

Last Friday (November 11), Nas and Hit-Boy released their fourth project since 2020. The King’s Disease campaign, responsible for three of those albums, has taken Nas (and Hit-Boy) to new dimensions with their careers. In that time, Nas won his first Grammy, reunited with The Firm as well as Ms. Lauryn Hill, and used plenty of space to rap about his legacy, lifestyle, and lessons learned along the way.

As has now become customary, Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast received the latest Hit and Hit-Boy clip with reactions, thoughts, and analysis for episode #95 (embedded below). For over 80 minutes, the team argues why King’s Disease III not only serves as the best installment in the series, despite lacking some of the exciting singular moments found in KD1 and KD2, respectively.

Nas & DJ Premier’s New Song Takes Hip-Hop Back To Its Golden Era

The What’s The Headline conversation looks at some of the more powerful lyrics on the album. Nas sets the tone from opener “Ghetto Reporter”: “It’s comedy, it’s hilarious / Look yourself in the mirror, tell me times ain’t the scariest / For me droppin’ album after album like it’s a various artist compilation / But it’s just me and H.B. and this sh*t take concentration / Ni**as know I don’t drop this often so cherish it.” The point about concentration amid a prolific period in Nas’ career is valid. Since 2020, he has dropped more music than any two-year period in the last 30 years. Now at 49, Nas recently credited Hit-Boy for a special chemistry built around work ethic. “I wanna thank my brother Hit-Boy for getting me to work faster than I’ve ever worked in my life—absolutely, for bringing something out of me that I’ve kinda been wanting to unleash for a while,” he said at his release party. “You’re a bad mothaf*cka, and the production you do speaks for itself.” Nas recognizes that he’s in rare air. On the same song, he raps, “The audacity, masterfully crafted these classics / So naturally, had to be Nasty back at it / They argue KD1, KD2, or Magic, what’s harder when / KD3 go harder than all of them?

What’s The Headline agrees with Nas. In an album filled with advocacy for self-preservation and commentary on the perils of beef, the MC looks at his growth on the Queens, New York-minded “Thun”: “No beef or rivals, they playin’ ‘Ether’ on Tidal / Brothers can do anythin’ when they decide to / In a Range Rover, dissectin’ bars from ‘Takeover’ / Sometimes I text Hova like ‘Ni**a, this ain’t over,‘” he quips about his Rap bout with JAY-Z nearly 20 years after the fact. While speaking about blue chip stock picks, Oscar aspirations, and having an elite time-piece collection, Nas can admire his past without dwelling. He switches into Illmatic allusions on Thun (“Subways be stacked and I ain’t been on a train in decades / And I can still hear the wheels on the tracks, feel the beat breaks / Serial defaced for Jakes / A license to carry still ain’t safe in New York State”) and “Reminisce” (I didn’t have to die so that they could call me the great one / Didn’t take a couple albums, people said it from day one“). With lines calling back to connections with Main Source, Akinyele, and MC Serch, Nas is aware of his past. But he’s focused on the present. One of the greatest MCs is saying that life is good without any sarcasm. Instead of dwelling in his wealth, he makes himself accessible and relatable—while still being a token of inspiration and aspiration.

Nas Won The Grammys Without Getting An Award

The song-by-song analysis also includes dissection of Hit-Boy’s latest production, a ranking of this album within Nas’ catalog, and a 10-scale rating.

The time codes for episode #95 of the What’s The Headline podcast (with hyperlinks to skip around):

0:00 Intro
1:55 The problem with hot take reviews
7:15 Attending the release party for Nas’ King’s Disease III
11:45 Reviewing Nas’ King’s Disease III song by song
11:48 “Ghetto Reporter”
14:54 Hit-Boy has Nas sounding like he’s in his prime in his fourties
27:30 21 Savage recently said Nas was not relevant (and then clarified his remarks)
32:01 “Legit”
35:30 “Thun”
39:42 “Michael & Quincy”
43:30 What producer should Nas work with next
47:26 “30”
51:10 “Hood2Hood”
53:57 “Recession Proof”
55:30 “Reminisce”
56:11 What are Nas’ seven best albums?
1:00:50 “Serious Interlude”
1:02:47 “I’m On Fire”
1:04:08 “WTF SMH”
1:05:41 “Once A Man, Twice A Child”
1:10:17 “Get Light”
1:11:06 “First Time”
1:14:20 “Beef”
1:16:17 “Don’t Shoot”
1:18:05 “Till My Last Breath”
1:21:34 How we rate Nas’ King’s Disease III album on a scale of 1 – 10
1:22:55 Ranking the album within the King’s Disease series

Nas & JAY-Z Are Still Competing But For Much Higher Stakes (Video)

AFH readers can catch regular discussions about the culture on our What’s The Headline. The podcast also features interviews with Rapper Big Pooh, Cormega, Meyhem Lauren & Daringer, Diamond D, Joell Ortiz, AZ, Blu & Mickey Factz, Kurupt, Evidence, Skyzoo, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Paul & Don Newkirk, Statik Selektah, Lyric Jones, The LOX, MC Eiht, Havoc, Duckwrth, photographer T. Eric Monroe, and Lord Finesse.

#BonusBeat: Selections from Nas and Hit-Boy’s King’s Disease III are currently included on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist: