Title: “Life is Good”
For a number of those successful in rap, they turn from players to moguls, gravitating away from hip-hop as they reach middle age.
That makes Nas a rare breed on his 10th LP, “Life is Good,” with the New York artist opining about fatherhood, divorce, aging and maturity. This isn’t “Nasty Nas” anymore.
On “A Queen’s Story,” he reflects on friends he’s lost during the course of his life and how close he’s come to joining them. With “You Wouldn’t Understand,” Nas looks at where he’s at and determines the album’s title has some weight: “Holla at a millionaire / Rollie, Hublot and Audemar / Deciding which one to wear.”
A tonal misfire is “Summer on Smash,” which feels like a party anthem single wedged onto a grown-up record to sell a few more units.
In the control room, No I.D. produces beats that wouldn’t sound out of place in rap’s golden age.
After the clumsy execution of concept albums “Hip Hop is Dead” and the untitled 2008 slab, “Life is Good” finds 40-year-old Nas aging gracefully and accepting it in kind.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.