Sonic Gems: Illmatic – Nas

An aspect of  the Sonic Gems series is that it features music and/or musicians who have made a lasting impact on music.  That does not necessarily mean that I like what I’m hearing.  Seven minutes into this CD, I wanted to shut it down and never listen again.  I am never going to be that much into listening to profanity or degrading racist terms used over and over again and not just for occasional impact.  All the same, I will do my best to give this post a fair shake at why this deserves to be covered here.

Nas aka Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones was born on September 14, 1973 and is an American Hip Hop artist, producer, actor and entrepreneur.  He has released eight consecutive platinum or better CDs and sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

This particular CD received acclaim from critics and the Hip-Hop community and is often rated as one of the greatest if not the greatest Hip Hop ‘album’ of all time.  For this reason, although I personally cannot stand what I am currently listening to, I am giving it the recognition it is due.  10 plus minutes in and I am just finding this really difficult to continue to listen to with all these disgusting remarks and drug references and frankly this may be his world but it most definitely not mine.

A high school drop out who was more interested in earning street cred and was at the time of this world expressing himself in terms of being trapped in the projects has lived a different life than mine.  I feel that.  And I get that he did something that I greatly admire.  He pulled himself up and out of a very dire situation to become a business success.  But there are more than a few lacings of bitterness lost up in his cadences.

Gut wrenching in his verbal dexterity, he managed to separate himself from the pack in less than an hour on his debut.  Ally likes some of this rap and hip hop.  I’ve given it’s far listen with this one.  There may be others covered at another time.  But, no, I’m not up for this revolution.  I’ll settle on giving recognition where it’s deserved.  Due to the lack of appreciation for all the use of a certain racist term and my dislike for constant sampling and that sort of thing like the overt anger and profanity and well.. so many factors, this is so far out of my paradigm of what good music is that I will fight my inclination to rate this three out of a scale of 10 and elevate it to a seven.  Whatever my personal inclinations, there is no arguing with the success the CD has had.

You may listen to Illmatic here:

About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses.
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