The past few weeks have been a microcosm of Nas’s entire life – at least in the public realm. For as timeless and powerful as his music has been, a woman has always seemingly been a thorn in his side. His incredibly anticiapted duet album with Damian Marley, Distant Relatives, hits shelves in less than a month.Â Coincidentally, it seems as if Kelis and her perceived greed are all the tabloids care to focus on.
With all the hoopla surrounding his life, the music always brings Nasir back full circle. In 2008, when he and the ex were still on good terms, Nas released a tape with Green Lantern which, to this day, does not receive the credit it trulyÂ deserves. The N*gger Tape was released shortly before his Untitled project. ItÂ proved to be a great stepping stone for the album, while some actuallyÂ considered it superior to the “official” project. One of the standout recordsÂ proved to be his stic.man (of dead prez) featured record, “Association.”
Nas’s ability to speak on societal ills and his uncanny knack for storytelling have always been his strong points.Â On the aforementioned record,Â Jones explains the power of association with those a person may choose to run with. All in all, it was a dope concept for a song and one that will force you to think about who you are in concert with and if those people have your best interests at heart.Â For as potent as Esco’s offering was, it was stic, however, who would completelyÂ steal the show.
“I stay in my element, Braveheart intelligent
Only associate with those for my betterment
I’m out for dead presidents to represent mine
Only clique with my kind
My best friend is my grind
Everybody got big dreams, but few follow through
And it’s deep, the company you keep become a part of you
Don’t just be sittin’ round, smokin’ weed, lettin’ time fly
If your homies don’t inspire you to rise, tell ‘em bye
You better off dolo than rollin’ with a weak ass crew
I’m like “Scarface,” who I trust?
Me, that’s who…”
With the advent of Twitter and everyone claiming to have a “movement” and be “bros” and “homies” with one another,Â words like theseÂ are needed. Â Ultimately, it is one of those verses which would have been a great addition for the album. Since it wasn’t, it never received the praise it rightfully deserved. If this is the type of music that will be found on Distant Relatives, we could be looking at an album of the year candidate. Keep your head up, Nas. The music is all you owe us.