The Tone Deaf Emcee

Nas: The tone deaf emcee

[minnosh_ext_dropcap font-size=”75″ font-weight=”700″]L[/minnosh_ext_dropcap]ast week we celebrated legendary Queens rapper Nas’ esteemed career by commemorating the 18th anniversary of his classic debut release ‘Illmatic’. Widely regarded as one of the greatest albums in Hip Hop history ‘Illmatic’ solidified the beginning of a prolific rap career. Nas, however, is a walking contradiction, as Jay-z pointed out during their feud “Is it Oochie Wally Wally or is it One Mic”. We’re here, however, to point out another contradiction. For every Nas song that is a lesson in lyricism there is another that is a complete shit show.

Phresh presents: 5 of The Worst Nas Songs EVER!


Nas is Coming
You’d think a Dr. Dre/Nas collabo would result in auditory hotness, two artists who were already ascending to legendary status at the time coming together to release one of the greatest songs ever. Then you realize Nas has a knack for bringing out the worst in whoever he’s working with who is HOT at the moment. I can point out collabos between Nas and DMX or Nas and Timbaland or… well you get the point. This song makes the list not because of what it was, which was a mediocre song on a pretty solid album, but for what it wasn’t, a smash hit. Sure Nas has dropped way worse songs in his storied career, but this song simultaneously lowered both his and Dre’s stock. It was amazing that they came together to even put out ‘The Firm’, which yielded some solid songs (but didn’t live up to expectations). If I had to make an analogy, this song is like getting 3 superstars on the same team and promising a championship, but then you go 0 for 82…. and shit ain’t gravy.
Shoot ‘Em Up
What do you get when you take the melodies of Christmas classic staples like ‘Silver Bells’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ and mix them with gentle rap lyrics like “There that nigga go, hiding in the crowd/Let the trigger blow, 7 shots/now he lying on the ground” well, that would be the disaster of a track called ‘Shoot Em Up’. This song almost seems like he lost a bet. Actually it seems as if someone who completely hates Nas took a few years out of his life to befriend him and gain his confidence, then said ‘Yo I got this dope Idea that will take your career to the next level. Gangsta Christmas Shit’. Then once it was recorded Nas never heard from or saw him again. That hasssss to be what happened here as this song scrapes the bottom of the port-a-potty for inspiration. The thing is, the “Nastradamus” album this song is off of was so bad this technically isn’t the worst song off of it. That esteemed honor would fall to…
Big Girl
If there was sexual predator rap this would be it. Nas uses his improved quick flow (enhanced from a prior song Big Things in which Nas struggled to keep up with the beat like he had half a mouth full of peanut butter) to convey the sentiment you’d get from a sleeze bag trying to convince a drunk chick at the bar to let him smash behind the dumpster out back by forcibly whispering in her ear ‘it’s not dirty, it’s Spontaneous’. With a chorus revealing such gems as “You a big girl now (in a world, where these niggas are foul)/You could be aborting the next Michael Jordan/Your man don’t wanna be around”. I suppose you shouldn’t expect much. And yet even when you expect nothing, Nas finds a way to give you less than that on this track. Half-man half-amazin indeed.
BraveHeart Party
Nas managed to douse the Queen of Soul, Mary J. Blige, in wack juice for the disaster that was ‘Braveheart Party’. While collaborations between Mary J., Jay-z and Method Man produced classics like ‘Can’t Knock the Hustle’ and ‘All I Need’ respectively, Nasir went above and beyond to achieve the lowest common rap denominator. Jungle being on the track should be the first sign something is horribly amiss. BraveHeart Party was so awful you got the sense it was a leftover track that didn’t quite make the standard of excellence his worst album “Nastradamus” demanded, but then someone found a copy of it under a radiator and said ‘This latin infused calypso sounding shit might be the new hotness now. Let’s throw it on Stillmatic’. And that person didn’t have any fucks to give about the overall trajectory of Nas’ career. And that person was most likely Nas himself.
Another Black Girl Lost
Some artists need some time to develop musically, eventually evolving their voice to put out an opus that is both critically acclaimed and a commercial success. Nas in a similar manner has managed to evolve his knack for making an occasional piece of garbage to astounding depths. I present to you ‘Another Black Girl Lost’. This song is so bad that I’d rather listen to the previous 4 on a continuous loop while voluntarily filling out paperwork for strangers at the DMV. The producer on this track is the lava-hot Hit Boy, whose production work can be heard on a number of hits including Jay-Z and Kanye’s ‘Niggas in Paris’, yet and still Nas managed to find a complete brick. I imagine Nas went to the studio and demanded to browse through the recycle bin on Hit Boy’s macbook pro to find the perfect sound he was looking for. To add insult to injury this song is to serve as a sequel to one of Nas’ best records, ‘Black Girl Lost’ from the 1996 classic album ‘It Was Written’. In case you don’t click play and give this piece of shit a listen, the best way I can describe it is to say this is probably what nightmares sound like, nightmares mixed with metal being ripped apart and distant groans of pain.
Few artists this talented manage to put out this many bad songs. Actually no artist this talented does this except Nas and this list could have been part 1 of a 5-part series. That is the beauty of Nas’ music though. He’ll hit a home run like ‘Nas is Like’ or ‘Nasty’ and then drop a turd in your headphones with his very next release. It lets his fans know he is indeed human, perhaps the most human artist we’ll ever see.
Nas… We salute you.
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