Monday, July 11, 2011

Trackmasters: Nas "Nastradamus"

Trackmasters: Nas "Nastradamus"


--Official Stats--
Artist: Nas
Song: "Nastradamus"
Album: "Nastradamus"
Release Date: October 26, 1999

It's a trick! I fooled you, this track should not be in the Trackmaster category at all.  Why?  Because it is the master of nothing.  It's horrific.  I'm posting this up as a bookend to my post on Nas Is Like, which is a great track and was the first single from Nas' disastrous album "I Am...", that song somehow rose above the ruin of a bad album and became a highlight of a strong career. Wow, great achievement. It's like the Phoenix rising up from the ashes of Arizona*. Nas is honestly one of my all time favorites. He's probably tied for the most spins in my life. He's a legend to me. The song Nas Is Like is honestly what hip hop is all about. Nastradamus on the other hand is the first single from the album "Nastradamus" and it is an appalling song from Nas' worst album. But no matter, it is a bad song worthy of a bad review by a turtle in the army.
*Joke from Sienfeld

Good Cover / Terrible Title
This is an important post for me becasue it fits into a period of hip hop ('99-'02) which I call the fucking terrible period. This was the time of "Nastradamus", "Tical 2000", "Immobilarity", and "Vol. 3...Life and Times of S. Carter". Many career defining bad albums were dropped by heavy hitters and many fans bought such albums and were disheartened. IMPORTANT NOTE: Not every album during this period was bad, but trust me, fans were let down lots of times, big times. BIG TIME. The ratio of good to bad was way off (again, there were also some great albums, so calm down).

On my Nas Is Like post I described how I found the single for that song by accident or something, was impressesed, and bought the album. It was a simple process. This time, I don't remember how I heard "Nastradamus" for the first time, but I know that I didn't buy the single.  I'm guessing I came across it on Philly's Power 99 (Bangin' Hip Hop and R&B) or on BET. Whatever. Not only was I not impressed, I was disgusted. But you know what? I bought the "Nastradamus" album the day it came out anyway. I knew it would be bad but I'm a fan of Nas and I thought, "how could it be worse than 'I Am...'? Nas is one of the best! It'll have a few good tracks! 'I Am...' did. I trust Nas and record companies!" There were no good tracks. As soon as I played the album I instantly knew the rankings, "Nastradamus" had created a new category:

Not an exaggeration
"Let's get to the song review you rambling jerk!" - my readers.

Okay.  So here is the track (the video is awful):

NAS - Nastradamus by mattmarti

What in the hell is this song? What happened? How did this make it to the public arena, Nas? Hey, L.E.S. (the producer), in 1999 you had a good run with Nas and others. Actually, you only made one good song (Life's a Bitch off "Illmatic") then you made a bunch of other stuff, then you made this, then you made Gettin' Jiggy wit ItYes, that Gettin' Jiggy wit It. What was your problem? Were you getting comfortable with your wealth and decided to phone it in because you kept saying "they'll buy anything"? Well, we would buy anything. Listen, L.E.S., this beat is SO BORING, it sounds overproduced and amateur at the same time. How is that even possible?  Nas is one of the few rugged MCs who doesn't need a rough beat, Nas can flow over smooth beats. But this is like bad video game music. And that chorus? Why did you produce that chorus? Why did you do any of this? What did we do to you?

Now for Nas. Did you really think I wouldn't get to Nas? They lyrics aren't bad. In fact, they're okay (nothing special so don't feel redeemed Nas). Except for this:

Nasty, Nas the Esco to Escobar
Now he is Nastrodamus
Nasty, Nas the Esco to Escobar
Now he is Nastrodamus
(repeat x500)

Come on. I mean, COME ON! I know it's tough to make a chorus but this is one of the worst in history. It reminds us of Nas' progression into the commercial abyss.  Each of Nas' aliases that are mentioned make you wish for the good old days, they get worse and worse until you get to the last one and you fall into depression because you realize how harsh life is and how a lot of musical output by record companies is a money grab. Nasty (great), Esco (uh), Escobar (tolerable), Nastrodamus (bad), and eject. 

Oh, and the lyrics are pretty bad (forget what I said before). You've got a strong first verse then it all falls apart. I was going to say that L.E.S. could have just replaced the second and third verses with audio of his dog barking and it would have been better, but that's not true (and it's very mean). Nas is way better than any animal, but I bet a hungry young MC could have killed him on this track (probably not Young MC though). That's not the way it's supposed to work, Nas. Nas is supposed to win at all times with all verses. "That's a lot to ask of an artist" Nas says. To which I reply, "I know but I'd given you like $100 of my hard earned money at that point in my life...and I was just a kid. It was hard to earn money as a kid. You're a professional MC and should have put the time into writing dope lines and finding great production. There was just seven months between 'I Am...' and 'Nastradamus'.  Seven months. You could have spent a few weeks saying, 'maybe I shouldn't do a hook like that...and maybe I shouldn't rap anything about Lamborghini trucks being topless.'  I know you were probably trying to get this out before Y2k and Christmas or whatever, but that's in the past now and we don't even remember Y2k. Nobody does. I mean, Y2k? What? Now all we have is the album and this single and they're both unbearable." Hindsight is 20/20 or whatever, but not in this case.  I knew as soon as I heard this song for the first time that the album was going to be terrible, so foresight was 20/20 for everyone but Nas. 

Well, this whole post was uncalled for, and now I'm just feeling angry AND I've got that chorus stuck in my head. THANKS.

Score: 0/10

I forgive you.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny how people hate this everywhere else but love the shit out of it on YouTube (the official one). I mean 816 likes and "Nastradamus" is a slept on classic, come on!?!?