Legendary rapper Nas and Grammy-winning producer Hit-Boy continue to pull new tricks out of their sleeves.
Since the release of King’s Disease in 2020, Nas & Hit-Boy have been an unstoppable dynamic duo. Nas has found somewhat of a second prime with Hit-Boy at the helm of his production, rejuvenating his sound for modern audiences.
Their astounding run continues with Magic 2, a sequel to the surprise album the pair dropped in 2021 which was meant with overwhelmingly high praise from fans.
Magic 2 follows the same watertight run time of 30 minutes, however, this time the sound is more extravagant, and the samples are just as incredible.
Nas himself sounds so fresh and revitalised that if this were your first time listening to him you’d think he’d only been in the game for 5 years. The rapper sounds more comfortable than ever over Hit-Boy’s awe-inspiring production and everything seems to mould itself into perfect shape.
Nas’ lyrics follow his usual topics of New York culture, reminiscing and street life, however, it feels like a master showing you his best-perfected techniques rather than a one-trick pony showing you the same old rabbit out the hat.
The song Earvin Magic Johnson, is a perfect example of Nas blending his old life on street corners with his new life on stages:
“From 42nd Street, days of pimps wearing suede loafs
That McDonald’s is still there where we had to trade blows
Then I stood on stages, Australia on occasion”.
Nas still has his signature skill of painting vivid memories with a fine brush using his words, as if the stories he’s telling were ones that you can remember too.
Nas also reminds us that he is as old as Hip Hop itself “Hip Hop 50 celebration, funny we the same age”, like an omnipresent artist who transcends the boundaries of his era where a lot of his peers are stuck.
One of the album’s best songs is one of its last, Pistols on Your Album Cover. The track on its own feels like a montage of Nas’ life in audio format. He expresses his sympathy for the people he remembers from his neighborhood that never managed to leave it like he did. He also tells tales of old friends that have passed and ones that abused his trust.
He closes the album in typically conscious Nas fashion “My journey was great and difficult but what is life if it isn’t both”.
SCORE/Outstanding: Nas and Hit Boy have created a flawless album that is short and sweet and still full of great moments. Nas fits the all-killer, no-filler format perfectly and Hit Boy’s production is consistent and brilliant throughout. Magic can be done twice.
[We rank albums on a scale of: Poor, Mediocre, Good, Excellent, Outstanding]