By Tarik Robinson
Nas – Lost Tapes 2
[Mass Appeal/Def Jam Recordings]
Compilations of studio leftovers can be forgettable, easy cash-grabs, but not for Nas.
The revered lyricist behind the greatest debut in hip-hop (1994’s Illmatic) dropped his first installment of The Lost Tapes in 2002, restoring faith for many that he could still bring it after several lukewarm projects in the late 90s and early 2000s.
The Lost Tapes 2 is the highly anticipated follow-up. It plucks 16 tracks recorded within the last 12 years and again provides many examples of that same flow, creativity and down-to-earth sensibility that sets Nas apart from most emcees.
“War Against Love” is a standout track that addresses the many issues faced by the African diaspora across the world. “Queensbridge Politics” includes a moving tribute to the late Prodigy of Mobb Deep. Even an experimental track like “Jarreau of Rap” entertains, as Nas brings a nutty triplet-flow over a jazzy beat with a unique 9/8 time signature.
There are a few weak R&B hooks and joints that probably should have been kept in storage (“Tanasia” and “Queens Wolf” for example) but don’t let that stop you from giving The Lost Tapes 2 a spin and saluting a hip-hop legend.