Nas Shows Why He’s One of the G.O.A.T’s on ‘King’s Disease III’ (Review)
17 Nov 2022
Nasir Jones and Hit-Boy are back for their 4th collaboration album and the final part of the King’s Disease trilogy. This duo has combined to make some of Nas’ best material in his career, bringing fantastic production and top-notch storytelling. It’s crazy to think it has been almost 30 years since the iconic ‘Illmatic‘ came out, and yet Nas continues to deliver high-quality music.
And on ‘King’s Disease III‘ that run continues, as we get the best one in the trilogy so far. This record follows similarly to the rest of the trilogy. Nas here is documenting his life and the lessons he has learned to give to the youth of today. Alongside, Hit-Boy’s immaculate production that ranges from old-school boom bap to even a bit of U.K. Drill, no one can question the beat selection this time.
It’s still a lot of ways to manage the life expectancy averageNas-Thun
The future of our next generation ain’t been established
This LP is full of highlights, indicating Nas’ attention to detail, ability to tell a story, and witty wordplay. As he states on ‘WTF SMH,’ he’s a rapper, not an author, and this is his story. While there is plenty of flexing and talk of greatness, Jones wants others in the black community to succeed. ‘Thun‘ is a great example of this, highlighting his upbringing and the friends he lost. The song states the same monetary and social issues he saw, others see today. He also mentions his past beef with Jay-Z and how they’ve moved on. This is in contrast to other rappers who didn’t squash their issues and are no longer with us.
There is plenty of thought-provoking stuff, but also some examples of braggadocio mixed in, such as ‘Michael & Quincy.’ The track’s title references how Nas sees him and Hit-Boy in a similar light to the iconic duo: Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. Nas sounds so smooth over this classic boom-bap beat and there’s a nice interpolation of ‘Savage Mode‘ by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin. Other tracks like ‘Serious Interlude‘ and ‘Get Light‘ reference love and partying, showing the variety on offer on this album.
Jeepers creepers, America’s a baby that’s teethin’Nas-Michael & Quincy
S*****n’ on itself, cryin’ for it’s next feedin’
As odd as it gets, it’s not even a toddler yet
Gang members got nothin’ on these congressmen
A key theme of this album is the unity of the black community. Nas states they need to come together and stop killing one another. This is highlighted on the bouncy sound of ‘Hood2Hood,’ with Jones stating he wants black people to come together like the Jewish and Latino communities do. ‘Reminisce‘ shows some of the division he saw and how he aspired to move past it. He reflects on his past here but wants to live in his present greatness. He sounds great over the classy instrumental that uses well a chipmunked sample of Mary J. Blige.
Everything comes to a head at the end, with this part of the album reflecting on what has been said and the changes needed. ‘Beef‘ is the perfect example of the lyricism we know and love. The man from Queens personifies himself as ‘beef.’ He shows the pain, division, and destruction that beef causes, in particular to the rap community. The minimalist production and the sample of ‘N.Y. State Of Mind‘ are used well, allowing the listener to focus on the words. The closer ‘Don’t Shoot‘ ends things nicely. Here, our main man looks for answers in his attempts to solve the problems in the community. It ends with a message of don’t shoot, live your life which considering the deaths caused by guns and violence, is a simple, but effective statement.
Beef is my name, my story is age oldNas-Beef
Some question why do I always come to take souls?
There is so much to decipher from this record, we could be here all day. There are some minor issues like Nas not being at his most comfortable over a U.K. Drill beat on ‘Reminisce,’ but these don’t deter the enjoyment of the record. He and Hit-Boy are a duo to be remembered, as they continue this impressive run. Not only does this album top anything they’ve done before, but this might be the best thing Jones has done in a long time.
If this is to be the last record these two do together, then what a way to bow out. Hit-Boy has cemented himself as one of the best producers on the planet with these records. As for Nasty Nas, after almost 30 years in the game, he’s still one of the best and is hungry for more success.