Filed under: Art of Facts,Features,Killa Queens,Rap Veterans,Steady Bootleggin',The Unkut Guide
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Nas luhs to rap. But he also luhs to sing hooks. Having declared that he was the “first nigga to sing a hook on some TJ Swan shit” on “Nastradumus”, it’s only right that his crooning efforts are rated using the Unkut TJ Swan Rating System (c) during this scientific study of his efforts to make like the rap game Keith Sweat over the years.
Mobb Deep feat. Nas - “It’s Mine”
Rocking yet another Scarface loop in 1999 with a sung Nas hook was kinda played out in theory, but it’s hard to dislike the outlandish flamboyance of any song that features the line “Halle Berry blew me a kiss at the Barbara Streisand concert.”
AZ feat. Nas - “Gimme Yours”
This off-key take on I-Level‘s 1982 dancefloor winner “Take Me” takes on an eerie quality over Pete Rock‘s trippy Minnie Ripperton loop comes together to give AZ one of his most enduring songs.
Nas - “Me and You”
Despite the best of intentions, this is one of the less effective ode’s to rap daughters ever recorded, and one of Nas’ worst attempts at harmonizing to boot. You couldn’t make your daughter’s graduation? Really?
Alchemist feat Nas and Prodigy - “Tick Tock”
This hook gets an extra point for talking about dudes getting stuck for their watches.
Capone-N-Noeaga feat. Tragedy and Nas - “Calm Down”
A true classic of Queensbridge rap, everything about this track is greatness. From the verses to the EZ Elpee beat to the reworking of Evelyn “Champagne” King‘s “Love Come Down” hook.
Nas - “Dance”
It’s wrong to slander a song dedicated to a dude’s mother after she passed away, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it either. While there’s certainly a lot of emotion in the hook, it’s also a little over-ambitious considering his vocal range.
Nas - “My Country”
Horrible beat, horrible hook. I can’t mess with this at all.
Nas - “Undying Love”
Storytelling Nas and one his more ambitious efforts at singing (double tracked and the whole nine), this gets a pass.
Nas - “Stay Scheming”
Dipping into the well of Kurtis Blow once again, this is sounds like something you might kick at a party after a lot of Henny and weed rather than actual recording.
Nas - “Street Dreams”
Compared to the R. Kelly version from the video, this interpolation of Eurythmics‘ “Sweet Dreams” seems kinda cheesy.
Nas feat. JoJo - “Black Girl Lost”
Having JoJo from Joedeci singing over his part is kind of cheating, but at least Nas realised he wasn’t built for this hook alone and enlisted a professional.
Nas - “Nastradamus”
Can’t really eff with this one. How do you use the “JB’s Monorail” loop and make a weak song? The whole “Nasty to Esco to Esobar” concept didn’t really fly, and nor did his singing on this one.
Nas feat. Doug E. Fresh & Ludacris - “Virgo”
I’m not mad at Nas doing his best Slick Rick impersonation on this old school throwback, and he carries the tune far better than Luda.
Nas - “Black Zombie”
This Lost Tapes gem finds Nasir really trying to sing properly, and thanks to some studio wizardry he sounds pretty good.
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