Review: Is a legendary career better left untouched?

Nas is a great rapper, but this recent release raises the question: Is his legacy better left alone?


Mass Appeal

While “King’s Disease III” is a good album, it brings up the question, is Nas’s legacy better left untouched?

Gabe Santos, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Legendary New York rapper Nas, known for songs like “N.Y. State Of Mind” and albums like “Illmatic” has recently made his mark on the rap scene with his “Kings Disease” series. Its most recent installment, “Kings Disease III” was released on November 11th. Nas remains a great technical lyricist, but I think this record poses the question– should his legacy just be left alone? 

Lyrically Nas is and has always been phenomenal. This album tackles political and cultural topics with proficiency that only a well spoken and seasoned veteran of the game can employ. Particularly on “Reminisce” I felt the lyrics shined, and this album is definitely at its strongest when Nas displays his wisdom in this way.

Vocals aren’t necessarily the focus here, but I have no quarrels with it. Nas has a delivery that is, at best, passable, and at worst, disinterested, but for his style of rap that isn’t necessarily a detriment. I would say on “Legit” he feels the most impassioned. 

Production, manned by “Hit Boy”, also has occasional highlights. On “Recession Proof” a funky bassline is introduced as the main melody, which is not only a welcome change in the album, but works great for the dim and almost dreamlike tone. Other than that, I would say the production is more of the same. Nas has had the same production style since the 90’s and while it isn’t bad, it doesn’t change, and at its worst, it’s underwhelming. 

With that being said, I recognize I may be outnumbered when it comes to my opinion of this record, and it could come down to personal taste. It may be too early to tell, but this album has received a 97/100 on Metacritic, and is shaping up to be a critically acclaimed highlight of the year. 

On the contrary, I feel that this album is a lesson to artists coming up now that sometimes it’s better to leave well enough alone. This record is not bad but it’s a far cry from Nas’ earlier work, and I think if he continues on this track of doing the same old beats, topics, and delivery, he could tarnish it. I urge you to listen to this album and come to your own conclusions.