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Soon after his "Stillmatic" album came out, in 2002 the New York MC Nas decided to bring out more material as "The Lost Tapes", in which he was seen to (rather than come out with a brand new album) compile a collection of all the best tunes which hadn't made their way onto "...I Am", "Nastradamus" and the 2001 album which reminded people why he created such a buzz with his 1994 debut release.
1. "Doo Rags"
He gets the album going with a fresh tune to guide listeners in. It is a calm one and features some gentle production to ease people on here as he gives you a chance to just enjoy life with a feel-good recording here. It is a tune which reflects the fact that here he was just messing around this material and came up with a light tune to escape what you typically get in a rhyme set from the Queensbridge native.
2. "My Way"
The Alchemist takes over the beats and leads things towards a straight banger of a track and one which really should never have been dismissed by the artist as you have him jumping on top of what were some of the best beats that this late nineties to early '00s era had to offer and he comes out with a nice concept to his rhymes as he talks on exactly how he was able to deliver by doing things as he wished every step of the way in his career up to that point.
3. "U Gotta Love It"
He comes with a fly tune here as L.E.S. takes control of the production and comes out with something which seems to really fit in with expectations of his talent and potential as he comes out with something which really does its job and allows the MC to do what he needs o in order to get his message across as he lets loose and comes out with material which ranges many topics, but remains to the socially-conscious work on the main part.
4. "Nothing Lasts Forever"
On some rather cold production, this is another thought-provoking track from the artist and one which you can see a video for in your mind as you here him performing a very commercial tune which could have done the business if it dropped as a single with him coming with a tune which has him rhyming about how everything in the world goes through stages and people have to adapt to keep things they want in their lives.
5. "No Idea's Original"
The Alchemist comes up with a very impressive composition here as he samples Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More Babe" to an amazing effect as it allows Nas to take things back to the years when Funky Soul was popular and to allow him to explore something that he didn't often get into as he takes things back to his Old School and the years just before he blew up himself as a teenager when "Illmatic" dropped.
6. "Blaze A 50"
This is an intense track from Nas and one which seems to come out of nowhere as you find that he blazes through with this one and comes with some in-your-face rhymes whilst getting don't to a track which was often found in tracks of his around this time where he paints a picture to listeners as he takes things towards a classy setting and takes things from there. It is a big tune here and despite its length, is certainly valued.
7. "Everybody's Crazy"
Famed for his work with the likes of Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and Pop acts such as Christina Aguilera, Rockwilder gets on the beats for this one and takes things towards his style as he comes out with a grungy tune which stands right out on the album as it enables Nas to come out with more powerful rhymes and in this case he chooses to take things to a sort of club style as a change to what he typically delivers.
On some empowering jumping percussion, this bouncy tune is one which keeps the flow going for the album and has Nas come out with even more of the top-quality material to liven up listeners. Once again it is a massive surprise to find that this could easily have just been lost, had he not chosen to compile such works as these as he comes out with a fresh flow which competes with some of his best works.
9. "Drunk By Myself"
This is a strong concept tune and one of many from Nas, but rather than performing personification rhymes as "Project Roach" or "I Gave You Power", this one has him taking on an alternative persona as he flows out the thoughts of an alcoholic for this one and goes hard here as he shows how well he is able to explore this sort of thing to come out with a well-rounded tune which displays just how strong his MCing can be.
10. "Black Zombie"
With this one you get some social commentary from the artist and as a change you find that he gets on beats which will appeal directly to those who typically would tend to get into such conscious material. It is a fresh tune and the strength of the production and overall composition means you can't ignore the way he goes in on things which would later return for his "Hip Hop Is Dead" record and untitled 2008 release.
11. "Poppa Was A Playa"
The final track has him jumping on early production from the Chicagoan star Hip Hop artist Kanye West here, and I felt that it made for a nice way to end things off here as it seems to round it off nicely in a way here he is able to come with a track which was clearly intended for his autobiographical "I Am..." album, which was initially to be a double-album, as here he gets on beats from a fresh new producer on the scene.
Although in hindsight the first track wasn't quite as strong as they rest, this is clearly an album which fans of his can't d without as he lays down some heavy jams which do things which were seen to be well-developed in the three albums which came before it, but obviously when taken out of context as they are here, it doesn't really flow, but when taken as individual tracks they are all killers.
errggggghhhh the fact that i mentioned in the title gets on my nerves so much, nas is one of the best lyracists if no the best ever, though only when he concentrates and takes his time with things like he did, taking 2 YEARS !!! to make 'illmatic' probably one of if not the best hip hop album ever. Well this one, 'the lost tapes vol.1' is just a collection of unreleased songs that he didnt think worthy of albums before it, and that fact right there just makes me laugh because nas came out with two great albums , 'illmatic' and 'it was written', then he went and completely flopped trying to go commercial with 'nastradamus' and 'i am' both of which were seriously wack (crap) with the exception of 1 or 2 tracks.
So this all begs the question, most of the tracks on here are dammm near classic, so why the hell did they not make any of these albums??????
Even though this album (though shouldnt be considered a proper album so maybe mixtape) is just a collection of songs that don't really match any real theme that you may think an album will have this is due to the songs just being thrown together, but this album is still NICE, and could be considered classic in its own rights.
Lets begin with the tracks:
Fetus - well this is just one of the best concepts for a song i have ever known on par with classics such as common's 'i used to love' (where by he seemingly talks about his love for a girl and the way she change over the years though at the end states, 'see who i'm talkin bout ya'll is hip hop' and that just makes you go ahhhhhhhh as you go back and piece everything together as it ties to hip hop). Anyway, this song begins with bubbling sounds that you would relate to a science lab as test tubes bubble within it, this is supposed to represent the production of nas, as the world does not yet know something special is brewing, AND THEN the beat kicks in and it is simply one of the best beat intro's i've ever heard it gives me goospimples to this day (i have listened to this album millions of times since i was 10 years old), nas then goes on to talk about his view from inside his mothers womb, this song has also been known to be named 'belly button window', nas simply laids down amazingly lyrics along with mind blowing vocab skills as he talks of hearing his parents argueing, and wondering just what kind of world he is being born into, i simply can't explain all he talks about because you just have to hear it. The song even ends so originally as he states ' and i plan to overthrow the devil' then you hear a smack 9as the doctor slaps his bottom and the song ends sudddenly'.
Doo rags - just quickly, for all of you that don't know what doo rags are, they are basically those silky material cloth type things (not bandanas) that you see black people wearing tied around the head and then a tail at the back hangs down.
This song has a nice piano loop about it and seems emotional and concious even when just hearing the beat (definately not a gangsta hard sounding beat and song). Nas proceeds to talk of the people in his hood, he talks of the people he see's everyday in the streets and the fashion these people wear, then he quickly changes it up relating someone wearing army boots to the amounts of blacks in the army, and how murders 'wear police uniforms' (add two and two together), moving on to more concious subjects such as 'paper money being the death of christ' and south africa being raped of wealth.
My way - In this one nas dicusses how he did everything his way, from getting in the industry to coming up in the industry, leaving school, explaining how if he messed up atleast it would be his fault and he could blame no one else and live with regrets, (quick bacground info, nas left school at the 9th grade, as he was sick of being but in special ed (bottom sets) classes because he was black, he has explained before how if you were black or latino you were automatically out it bottom sets, moreover he's told before of how his father made him read books and teachers didnt take too kindly to this because these books werent on the curriculm)
Furthermore he reminises over people aroung him during his youth they followed a downward spiral that led them to either death, jail or drug addiction, this is not one of the best tracks on the album but lol for any other artists this would be one of the best tracks they ever made.......so that gives you some idea of nas' quality.
You gotta love it - On this one nasir rhymes on how although people all around him are living a terribly low quality of life in the biggest projects (council estate) in the world, Queensbridge projects, he states 'you gotta love it' because this is what he was raised in, and beneath the media highlighted shootings and drug trades there is actually a great sense of community, and, if brought up in the right family structure you can most definately flourish as person there, even through the adversity, and as his looks out across the ghetto landscape turning with his eyes and recognising the average stuff people do here in his ghetto (as he talks of the hair styles they rock, the clothes they wear and the shops) he finishes, 'you gotta love it'.
Nothing lasts forever - this takes everyone back to the 90's lol and im only 16 (17 in september ; ) ), nas' flow on this track is smooth as he rhymes of what him and his friends used to wear and do as youngsters, talkin of how they played basketball with hoops made out of a hanger for example, continuing he states how he is made out how the hood turned out as it used to be a nice community type of neighbourhood where everyody was trying to better their lives but now people are shooting and killing. The hook (chorus) contains this line as nas reminises over his childhood showing a little emotion of how he misses it, ' everything will eventually come to an end, so try to savour the moment, coz time flies don't it, the beauty of life, you gotta mke it last for the better, make it last forever ; which i thought was rather a nice hook to have in a song and shows a softer more emotional side to rappers that many claim they don't have. (this track isn't on the track list on ciao but it is on the album, trust me lol).
No idea's original - 'No idea's original, there's nothin new under the sun
It's never what you do, but how it's done
What you base your happiness around material, women, and large paper
That means you inferior, not major'
^^^^ sums the song up basically, the first paragraph, however nas explains this in great detail, asking us to look in to his mind, and look past the hotties (girls) and past brain cells killed by weed, as we enter the area of his memory that talks of past experiences that relate to the concept of no ideas original, nas goes on to explain how big events that have taken place in the world, from wars to hip hop events that have taken place are not original and the only thing that makes them different and worth taking note of and watchin are the way they are done,
Blaze a 50 - I don't really enjoy the beat on this song, though some people enjoy the violens used i dont particularly, to me it's not really too nic eon the ear lol, but still nas gives a great story and OH MY GOD lol he breaks news of Tyra Banks apparently having a sexual ecounter with nas, as she is deeply depressed and opens up to him explaining all of her problems and insecurities in life as she weeps.
This song is basically a good hood story that i would not reccomend to anyone not from an urban environment (and therfore cannot relate to it) or that only really likes feel good rap or the occasional hood story because this one delves a bit deep into the underworld of the streets particularly in the case of sex.
Everybody's crazy - this song is very catchy and nas makes a point of prounoucing the beginning of each word giving the effect that each word is being spat or shot out of his mouth, as the song suggests he is talking of the crazy people around him and how ladies loving thugs does not help one bit because this only encourages the behaviour in men around them. Not much to say about this song its pretty straight forward, no real deeper meaning so the lyrics pretty much mean what they say, ha ha you'll just have to listen (thinkin to myself, yeah right i know most the people on here aint hip hop fans).
Purple - AHHHHH as i listen this song now as i type i get goospimples, firstly because it has a perfect piano loop beat that you feel almost anyone could sing or rap over and make a really really cool song, then secondly because nas' flow is just like water on this song, the way it flows outta his mouth is just so smooth and the way each line connects and blends into the next just reminds me of a smooth running stream of water and this could make any of what he is saying sound good, so i suppose its a BONUS that what he IS saying is actually really good as he talks of street criminals that he feels hatred towards due to activities they take part in including killing of innocent people just to gain fear and respect from the community,
' the hood love you, but behind your back they pray for the day,
a bullet hit your heart and ambulance tak you away,
that aint love it's hate, think of all the mothers at waste,
who's sons you've killed and you aint got a cut on on your face.'
He goes on to talk on how instead of ghetto children being told to reach for the stars they are told to reach through the bars (meaning the bars of jail of course, sheesh if you didnt get that then .......pfttt). Nas also goes on to talk of things his eyes can not believe he is seeing in America, a free country, yet he see's these unjustices taking place, leaving us on the note that, 'too much of anything will hurt you, so, my state of minds all purple'.
Drunk by myself - Alot of people's favourite nas song (surprising as you would expect that to come off of the classic album illmatic but...), this song basically gives the image of nas in a chair drunk by himself (ring a bell) and thinking over all the bad things that have happenned to him though this time he focusses more on the industry side of things as oppose to childhood/memories of his teens, so even though he is not living in the poor squalid conditions of QB projects anymore his life is still far from perfect and dandy and he wants to get this point across.
Black zombie - A great song, he talks of how black people in america (especially in america) are black zombies just following the system and acting exactly how the government and media wants them to act, this a refreshing song as alot of rappers complain of how they are treated by the media and the government, how they are not getting justice in the streets being stopped and searched for no reason, though this song twists that and says, well no one is putting a gun to our head and telling us to fall into the stereotype yet we do it because we are a stupid, he lists the things that black people do, beginning on the lines,
'Yo, you believe when they say we ain't shit, we can't grow?
All we are is dope dealers, and gangstas and hoes?
And you believe when they be tellin you lie, all on the media?
They make the world look crazy to keep you inside?
Why you listen when the teachers at school
know you a young single parent out strugglin, they think you a fool
Give your kids bad grades and put 'em in dumber classes',
the above is not complaining or moaning towards white america though instead moaning towards black america asking them, why do you believe this, its not their fault anymore as we have the chance to change our lives, we are responsible for ourseleves and we can no longer blame corperate america or white america or the government because the fact of the matter is we can do what we want basically, anyone can make it away from the ghetto as long as they work hard and don't fall into stereotypes and start acting stupid and all the same as eachother (gangstas, druggies, hoes) like black zombies, and this is what nas is saying in this song with a very nice catchy type of beat.
Poppa was a playa - This is quite a heart felt song by nas as he talks of very personal family experiences, not knowing the pain his father gave his mother, as a youngster nas and his brother were very much in love with their father (who was by the way quite a famous blues and jazz musician in america, so was away form home quite often) though when they began to realise, as they aged and matured, that their father was cheating all over the place on their mother they began to feel alot differently towards him and when he left home they began to get a little more serious in their lives as oppose to how they used to always run around happy and naieve without a care in the world, and even though nas shows a great deal of anger towards his father he actually displays happiness and repect towards his father for sticking around through nas' most important years and making sure he had discipline which was, for most families a big problem in the inner cities as many women raised their children alone due to being deserted by their boyfriends or thier partners ending up in jail or nothing but a chalk line in the street, this led to alot of undiscplined youths walking the streets of NY with nobody to control or guide them.
Consequently this album would be a GREAT addition to anyone nas or hip hop collection for that matter and i promise you would not be disappointed with what nas has to offer in terms of production and rhymes, because as any nas fan will know, he has a serious problem with picking beats, with the exception of his first album his beats chosen have been very average even if the lyrics have been top notch, though i feel on this album he has managed to show great production with very good lyrics and of course the various tracks that show the glimpses of brilliance on the mic.
One thing the album does not do is show much booklet info (lol this is really for the die hard fans) because it is not a proper full release of an album and as any of you who own mixtapes will know they only come with the front cover and maybe one other side giving track credits, this does a little more than that with a tad more graphics though don't expect great detail or any new info in here.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Doo Rags
2 My Way
3 U Gotta Love It
4 Nothing Lasts Forever
5 No Idea's Original
6 Blaze A 50
7 Everybody's Crazy
9 Drunk By Myself
10 Black Zombie
11 Poppa Was A Playa
12 Bonus Track 1