Album Review: Nas - King's Disease II
Written By Mike Double G
Grade = 80% or 4 ️’s
Track List - 52 minutes
The Pressure 3:07
Death Row East 3:20 ️
40 Side 2:40 ️
EPMD 2 (Feat. Eminem & EPMD) 3:34 ️
Rare 3:27 ️
YKTV (Feat. A Boogie wit da Hoodie & YG) 3:24 ️
Store Run 3:20
Nobody (Feat. Ms. Lauryn Hill) 4:42
No Phony Love (Feat. Charlie Wilson) 3:06
Brunch on Sundays (Feat. Blxst) 3:52 ️
Count Me In 3:18
Composure (Feat. Hit-Boy) 3:24
My Bible 3:48
Nas Is Good 2:19
Nas released his debut album Illmatic” in 1994. Although a legend in the rap game he never won a Grammy. That changed this year when he won his first Grammy award for his 12th solo album King’s Disease. Like the first King’s Disease this album has Hit-Boy on the production. Some of the major differences is that this album has two more songs and is 14 minutes longer. Even though it is longer it actually has less features. This album includes features from Eminem, EPMD, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, YG, Blxst, Charlie Wilson, Lauryn Hill, and Hit-Boy. Charlie Wilson and Hit-Boy are the only two artists who appeared on both projects. Besides producing Hit-Boy also raps on Composure.
The biggest feature on this album is Eminem. This is the first time Nas and Eminem have collaborated on the same song. Eminem produced and co-wrote on Nas’s song The Cross, but they have never rapped together on the same track. On this album the two appear on EPMD 2. This song is a sequel to Nas’s song EPMD which appeared on the Judas and the Black Messiah soundtrack back in February.
Like the first King’s Disease” Nas had a good balance of features from both veterans and new comers who are more relevant in 2021. Eminem was not the only rap legend to do a feature on this project. Lauryn Hill made a very rare appearance. This is not the first time Hill has worked with Nas. The two first worked together on Nas’s second studio album It Was Written. Hill carries the hook on the leading single of that album If I Ruled The World (Imagine That). The single became Nas’s first top 20 billboard R&B hit. This was also Hill’s first appearance outside of her group The Fugees. On this album Hill doesn’t sing on the hook but instead raps the third verse to the song Nobody. This was not one of my favorite records but it was still cool to hear Lauryn Hill on the album. On the song Moments Nas says:
My whole career, I steered away from features. But I figured it's perfect timing to embrace new leaders. Accepted my position as the master teacher.
The newer artists that Nas chose to embrace on this album would be A Boogie wit da Hoodie, YG, and Blxst. Boogie makes sense since he is from New York City like Nas. He is also arguably the hottest rapper in the city. I think Nas genuinely likes A Boogie because he’s not your typical New York rapper. He doesn’t claim to be a wordsmith or the best rapper. Boogie considers himself an artist who raps with melody. A Boogie and YG are both featured on the song YKTV which is the most radio friendly record on the project.
Death Row originally was a label that started on the west coast. I think Nas wanted to get a couple west coast artists on this project after making the song Death Row East. At this point of his career YG is a veteran in the game but he’s still younger than Nas and is more current. Besides YG the other new west coast artist would be Blxst. Blxst is more of a R&B artist who has finally gained mainstream attention with his EP No Love Lost. The deluxe version of this project was released in December. This project was successful enough to get Blxst a spot on the 2021 XXL Freshman cover. Blxst appears on Brunch on Sundays which is a good vibes record and one of the stronger songs on this album.
Since this album came out less than a year after the first King’s Disease I was worried this project might feel rushed. Many thought Nas was just trying to capitalize on his Grammy win by quickly dropping new music while he had the momentum. With Hit-Boy leading the production on both albums it seems likely that him and Nas made a lot of quality music together. The first King’s Disease was only 38 minutes long. It seems likely that they wanted to drop a lighter project just to see how the fans would respond. After winning the Grammy I think they probably already had a bunch of records made but went straight back to the lab to finish this album.
I think both of these records were solid projects. I would have gave the Grammy to Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist but King’s Disease II was my second choice. The younger listeners will probably like the first King’s Disease because it had younger and more relevant artists that they are familiar with. The older listeners will like this new project more. If your 40 plus your definitely going to like this project more. In particularly the second half of this project which sounded like 1990’s Nas. The lyricism and song writing was better on this project. Being 31 years old I am in between generations but I would give the edge to this new project. I gave the first “King’s Disease” a 77% or 3.5 stars. King’s Disease II gets a 80% or four stars.
Best Song: EPMD 2 feat. Eminem & EPMD
Download: King's Disease II