Nas: Untitled

On Untitled, Nas is clearly hoping that, by name-dropping big issues (reparations, single motherhood, media control) and dazzling you with his acrobatic flow ("I'm over they heads / Like a bulimic on a see-saw"), you'll gloss over the fact that he's not really saying anything coherent. When he simultaneously decries poverty and glorifies materialism, for example, you can't help but conclude that Nas tailors his philosophy to his own lifestyle. Even the songs that should be slam-dunks — like the Rupert Murdoch-critiquing "Sly Fox" — clank the rim with erroneous claims like "They own YouTube." (No, that's Google.) "I am tuned in," says an ominous voice later in that song. So are we. Nas has a forum, passion and talent — too bad his message is muddled.

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Ben Westhoff
Contact: Ben Westhoff