Viola Beach’s name will always be synonymous with tragedy, but at least now we have a document of who this band were
Nas : Street's Disciple
God's Son pushes the hip-hop envelope with groundbreaking double album…
Since that fêted debut, through alter egos including God’s Son and Nastradamus, Nas has continued to challenge the rap rhetoric. He’s spat raps backwards, messed about with mic levels and freestyled through an old book of rhymes, yet it’s taken him ten years to attempt the hip-hop almost-impossible and record a double album. Bar Biggie, few rappers – Jay-Z, Bone Thugs and Tupac included – have pulled it off. Nas, however, succeeds by offering a taut 23 tracks as sonically diverse as they are lyrically varied.
Over the soupy intro of ‘A Message To The Feds, Sincerely, We Are The People’, the Queensbridge MC proclaims to be “the Hitchcock of hip-hop”, and he’s not lying. A succinct storyteller, Nas tenaciously tears up the lyrical law-book. ‘UBR’ tells the tale of rap hero Rakim, while the sexploits of ‘Remember The Times’ recount those chicks that “sucked juice out my urethra”. Nice. Keeping it righteous, Nas and missus Kelis take US apathy to task on ‘American Way’, while so-called sell-outs are dealt with on the discomfiting, if not witty, ‘Coon Picnic (These Are Our Heroes)’ .
Musically, too, ‘Street’s Disciple’ is full of revelations thanks to long-term collaborators LES and Salaam Remi, as well as Nas himself, Q-Tip and Chucky Thompson. Disc one is dipped deliciously in throwback beats, but it’s the second round that steals the show. Opening with the sinister ‘Suicide Bounce’, it segues smoothly into the hard-knock hip-hop of the title track before ‘Virgo’ sees Nas sparring with Ludacris over an ice-cold Doug E Fresh beatbox.
As with any extended effort there’s room for some small edits, yet generally Nas shows great restraint. There may be few club bangers or radio-ready R&B hybrids, yet ‘Street’s Disciple’ is unequivocally one of the most exciting hip-hop releases not only of this year, but in recent memory. Go on, the God’s Son.
It’s essentially just a slick remix of Finding Nemo, but Finding Dory’s emotional moments will definitely hook you in
Ethan Hawke toots the horn for Chet Baker in this not-quite-a-biopic that takes jazzy liberties with the truth
Gucci Mane’s first album since leaving prison is a riot of big-hitting confessionals, plus Kanye and Drake guest spots
A heroic blend of radio-friendly guitar pop and bristling disco from the Stockport five-piece named after a pub