Nas & Hit-Boy Take Their Chemisty to New Heights on “King’s Disease III” (Album Review)
Nas is a 49 year old MC from Queens, New York who happens to be the son of jazz cornetist/guitarist Olu Dara. His first 2 full-lengths illmatic & It Was Written are widely acknowledged as some of the greatest in hip hop history even though I also really enjoy stillmatic, The Lost Tapes, God’s Son & Life is Good. Then there was the Kanye West-produced NASIR & The Lost Tapes II, which I felt like they were fine additions to his catalogue even though the overall consensuses were polarizing. But for almost 3 years now, Nas has been working exclusively with Hit-Boy & both of them are a good fit for each other. King’s Diseaseearned Esco his first Grammy, but the sequel & Magic would continue to elevate their chemistry to new heights. However, Hit-Boy & my 2nd favorite MC of all-time behind The God Rakim are now looking to end the King’s Disease trilogy with his 15th album.
“Ghetto Reporter” kicks off the album with a piano sample & Nasty Nas talking about evolving from King’s Disease at some point in time whereas “Legit” takes a more soulful route declaring to be blacker than the new Black Panther movie that just came out today. “Thun” has a more orchestral groove to it representing Queensbridge just before “Michael & Quincy” goes into boom bap turf comparing him & Hit-Boy to the late Michal Jackson & Quincy Jones respectively.
Continuing from there with “30”, we have Nas over a dramatic trap beat reminding everyone how many summers he’s been doing this shit leading into the futuristically produced “Hood2Hood” repping a lot of cities from Canarsie to Compton & even Detroit. “Recession Proof” dives into funnier territory talking about feeling like a superhero, but then “Reminisce” blends soul & boom bap together admitting that he doesn’t like to look back on the past because what he’s doin’ right now is really lit which I think needed to be said because I’ve seen some bitter & disgruntled heads complaining about Nas working with Hit-Boy over the last couple years for whatever their reasons may be.
“Serious” is less of an interlude & more of a song about serious situations everyone eventually goes through over some harps until “I’m on Fire” returns to the soulful boom bap telling everyone he still has the same flame behind him from the “Hate Me Now” video which is such a hard flex in my opinion. “WTF / SMH” starts off on a trap note talking about riders ever get cancelled until the beat switch into a drumless loop & addressing how everybody’s so quick to turn while “Once a Man, Twice a Child” gives off a more dreamy boom bap vibe basically giving his thoughts on growing old which I needed to hear since I personally became an uncle last Thursday.
Following that, “Get Light” comes through with a jazzy party anthem while the swooning boom bap jam “1st Time” talks about hoping that this is your introduction to him & I really loved the bar at the beginning of the final verse acknowledging that people used to say he was the worst beat picker ever even though I myself never really agreed with it personally. The penultimate track “Beef” finds Nas remarkably personifying rap beefs themselves further reminding everyone how great of a storyteller he is with darker atmosphere to the instrumental while “Don’t Shoot” is powerful 2-parter cautioning not to kill thе messenger. The bonus cut “‘Til My Last Breath” though ends the album is a jazzy trap banger promising to be steppin’ until he’s gone.
Earlier on in the review I mentioned the fact that some people don’t like working with Nas & Hit-Boy, but I genuinely don’t understand how anyone can dislike King’s Disease III because it’s the best of the 4 albums that they’ve done so far. The production is more versatile in sound & God’s Son is still very much rapping his motherfucking ass off on the mic all these decades later.