As disappointing as the last few Nas albums have turned out to be, the prospect of the next one is always promising. After the letdowns you're always left wondering if he is finally going to come through with a solid collection of tracks. For those of you that have spent half your lifetime trying to figure this equation out, the wait is over. With No I.D. as the current executive vice president at Def Jam he seems to have done his job and guided Nas in the right direction. Gone are the poor beat selections (aside from the Swizz Beatz produced "Summer On Smash"), the weird sex raps, and the songs from the perspective of inanimate objects. Why now? Well, it appears that a lot has happened in the Queensbrdige MC's life in the past few years. His tumultuous divorce from Kelis (as referenced in the cover pic), millions in unpaid taxes, and his teenage daughter tweeting pictures of condoms in her bedroom, among other things have given Nas plenty of rich material. On Life Is Good he opens up to his audience much more than he has on recent outings. On "Daughters" he raps about the experience of being a father and watching his baby girl grow up. Of course there's the track for Kelis, "Bye Baby," which is more about the good times than bad. The list of producers reads like a Nas fan's wet dream. The aforementioned No I.D. steps up with five tracks that exude some of the best throwback production. Frequent Nas collaborator Salaam Remi is on deck and his flip of Visioneers' "Ike's Mood" for "Reach Out" is one of the standouts of the album. Of course the sample was most famously used on Biz Markie's "Make The Music," which was produced by Queensbridge native Marly Marl. Not to mention how meta-referential it was to throw Mary J. Blige on the cut as the sample was previously used on the track "I Love You." Buckwild and the late Heavy D show up as well. The later being responsible for the lead off single, "The Don," which in no way disappoints. This is the album that Nas fans have been waiting for for years.
- Music Label: Def Jam 2012
reviewed by Michu Meszaros