“Twenty years in this game/ looking 17,” Nas claims on “The Don,” the second single on his latest album, Life is Good. While certain tracks on Nas’ 10th solo album are certainly reminiscent of the works that he released as a younger man, the personal content of “Life is Good” proves that when it comes to his style and the emotional depth of his lyrics, Nas has definitely matured over the years.
In the past, Nas’ albums have been dominated by tracks about violence and street life, but these themes take a backseat on Life is Good. Instead, Nas opens up about his children and his divorce from singer Kelis. In the soulful hip hop tune “Bye Baby,” Nas takes a nostalgic turn and raps about the ups and downs of his married life, including his costly divorce and the joy he experienced with the birth of his son, Knight. In “Daughters,” Nas reflects on his parenting skills, admitting that he is not the strictest parent, but asserting that he tries to raise his daughter properly nonetheless.
Nas’ ability to tell a story through his thoughtful, and at times emotional lyrics, along with his intelligent wordplay, makes Life is Good his best work of the last decade. If he continues to infuse his impressive rhymes with heart, the future looks bright for this veteran rapper.