February 03, 2016

Nas "Death Of Escobar" (Vibe, February 2001)

"With 1994's Illmatic, Nasty Nas's intricate street lyrics drew him comparisons to Kool G Rap and Rakim. His music also got respect from those people in the ghetto who needed a knowledgable voice to expose their struggles and reassure them that there was hope for the future. Nas's well-received first CD was followed by three more successes - It Was Written, I Am..., and Nastradamus - and a new "Nas Escobar" persona, a generic Moet-sipping "mogul" in white fur coat and iced-out accessories. While his post-Illmatic work sold millions, true fans pined for Nasty Nas. Instead of the elaborate skits and soulless rhymes of his works as Nas Escobar, the new tracks, bootlegs, and remixes on D.O.E. are old-school Nasty Nas: Like Ice Cube's classic "Jackin' For Beats," "The Foulness" finds Nas spitting over four dynamic beats. The Slick Rick-flavored "Rise & Fall" details one man's epic struggles in the rap game. For "Poppa Was A Playa," Nas tells a sad tale of his father's misogyny. The seamless blending of old and new material continues on tracks like "Tales From Da Hood," about murder-happy drug dealers, and "Your Mouth Got You In It." While bootlegging kept fans away from much of his material, D.O.E. is well worth the wait." - Vibe, February 2001. 

An obvious argument would be that this was the first glimpse of Nas and Columbia's plans to release The Lost Tapes (2002). There isn't a whole lot of overlap on the resulting tracklists, but conceptually, it's (very) similar. The track above (updated), "Tales From The Hood" was released as a Clue-exclusive on Hev E. Components, Pt.2; some of the remixes dropped loosely here and there, but for the most part, the tracks were leaked on white labels between I Am and that other project that I pretend to not exist, lol. Ie: "My Way," "Worst Enemy," "Drunk By Myself," and "Hardest Thing To Do." In 2002, there were snippets on Stillmatic, as a prelude to The Lost Tapes that included "Make It Last" and "You Gotta Love It," which are on D.O.E. and others just on The Lost Tapes. Unfortunately, "Rise and Fall" hasn't landed on anything, and it should, and I'd push for the original "Sinful Living," "Tales From The Hood," and a few others. When and why things changed is unclear, but the results were flawless; The Lost Tapes is a top 5 release from Nas's catalog. Bring on part 2!