Produced by Hit-Boy, Nas’s new album King’s Disease caters to old and new school hip hop listeners, by offering reflections on career, relationship, and social issues throughout its entirety. The project’s lyrics and wordplay make this a refreshing piece to listen to because of how he uses his artistry to talk about issues that many artists today don’t acknowledge such as colourism, systemic racism, and domestic abuse. Nas has been around for a long time and is a renowned hip-hop artist mainly for being a lyrical mastermind. His debut album, Illmatic, is considered a hip hop classic 26 years later. However, it feels as though the newer generation is unaware of the impact of his music. This can make him seem non-relevant to my generation because of our focus on content from newer artists and the ones we’re already familiar with. However, King’s Disease deserves a closer look for all the right reasons so let’s look at some of my personal favourites from the new album; “Ultra Black”, “The Definition”, and “King’s Disease”.
“Ultra Black” was written out of the pain that Nas felt after decades of police brutality against Black people in the US. Nas said in an Apple Music interview that this song is to celebrate being black, saying “A moment to be happy, to be happy of our existence”. This song touches various aspects of black history and African culture that he addresses as prideful moments for Black communities in America. In current times, with the Black community facing many political issues in addition to the lack of accurate portrayal in mainstream media, “Ultra Black” is meant to uplift the black community by recognizing and appreciating their culture.
“The Definition” is by far my favourite song from the entire album. I say so because like many students my age, I am passionate about social justice reform. This song perfectly captures the systemic oppression black people face in America, something we have been watching with disgust.