Street's Disciple
label: sony
production: n/a.
guests: ludacris, kelis, doug e fresh, olu dara, others.
year of release: 2004
CD 1
1. A Message To The Feds, Sincerely, We The People (Intro)
2. A Message To The Feds, Sincerely, We The People
3. Nazareth Savage
4. American Way
5. Coon Picnic (These Are Our Heroes)
6. Disciple
7. Sekou Story
8. Live Now
9. Rest Of My Life
10. Just A Moment
11. Reason
12. Pipe Dreams
bonus tracks
13. You Know My Style
CD 2
1. Suicide Bounce
2. Street's Disciple
3. U.B.R. (Unauthorized Biography Of Rakim)
4. Virgo
5. Remember The Times (Intro)
6. Remember The Times
7. The Makings Of A Perfect Bitch
8. Getting Married
9. No One Else In The Room
10. Bridging The Gap
11. War
12. Me & You (Dedicated To Destiny)
bonus tracks
13. Thief's Theme
Do you remember how busy Nas used to be to explain why his thug persona is a-okay? Oh how things and time have changed. Because that thug is gone. Sure, you find it somewhat on "Thief's Theme". But that's only a 'bonus cut.' And apart from that you're struggling to find the Queensbridge roughneck on here. The excellent "Nazareth Savage" is one of the few songs where he actually sounds agitated and serves a couple of fools. Remember, this is the dude that did "Ether". Now you only find a tamer version of that cat on "Disciple."
Instead, this is one big lesson. It's incredible how much Nas is schooling the audience. And he wants you to know about Rakim ("U.B.R. (Unauthorized Biography Of Rakim)"; also bigging up KRS-One), know about beat boxing ("Virgo", done by Doug E Fresh), know about evil politics ("A Message To The Feds, Sincerely, We The People"), know about Blues and Jazz ("Bridging The Gap") and know about the styles of old rap ("You Know My Style"; is this an 808 drum?).
Suddenly there's P-Funk on "American Way", another political song. "Remember The Times" is the only dirty song (but dirty it is), as Nas tells Kelis all kinds of kinky stuff that he's done in the past. He dares to raise the issue of race and 'uncle toms' on "Coon Picnic (These Are Our Heroes)" and you have to wonder if this will meet the demands of all those desperate for thrills and entertainment.
But damn, there are too many people that decide what good and bad rap is that basically have no understanding and idea of what good and bad rap actually is. Hop on every message board of fourteen to sixteen year old kids and see what they have to say about certain records. Listen to people who are fans of one sub-genre and what they say about another sub-genre. And it's quite likely that all of them will hate this record.
Even though Nas spends a lot of time talking about women on the second disc. On "The Makings Of A Perfect Bitch" he creates his immaculate woman over a very maculate beat: the keyboards are of the worst we hear on the album (given you allow the 80s type R'n'B of "No One Else In The Room" some time to grow on you). And then - of course - you take that woman to the altar on "Getting Married", where Nas says: "say hello to the man, goodbye to the gigolo" and ends the song oh-so-cleverly with: "will you take music as your wedded wife? - I do/ sike, this ain't about music, y'all know who I'm talking to." Another standout track is "Sekou Story", a two part song, with a upbeat first and a melancholic second half.
And by now it must be obvious: Nas grew up. Listen to the messages of "Live Now", "Rest Of My Life" and "Reason", where he moves forward from being the street reporter to be the street disciple, i.e. prophet. And if anything, then that's the theme of the first disc: speaking reality. While the second is more personal, like when Nas does "Me & You" for his daughter, with a shockingly bad attempt to sing. On "Bridging The Gap" he does exactly that over a staccato beat. It features Olu Dara, Nas' father, who we know as the brilliant horn player on "Life's A Bitch". Not just introducing us to old music, this also talks about how Nas grew up.
"War" is a really smooth and jazzy song. Nas invents (do you even have to invent one or are they just) a regular dude person, who struggles with real life issues, making grown up rap that this genre so desperately needs. And isn't this sampling a Burt Bacharach song? Burt, your corny parent's music that will sound better to you with every year that passes. And many years have passed since Nas' first album. Years that have changed him, maybe also the audience. You just have to hope that he will reach the people that enjoy this honesty, this maturity.
This album is exactly what Rap needs now, to finally establish itself as a genre that is able to do more than just excite the young bucks. "Street Disciple" is an album for the -disillusioned by childish rap crap - mature audience.
review: tadah
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