Saturday, January 10, 2009
NaS - Still Dreaming - NaS Feat. Kanye West
I am pleased to say that for me, this album has aged well. I wrote a piece for Oh Word last year about Nas’ Renaissance, in it I describe HHID as “an art record, taking an appreciative glance back at the history of the medium and contemplating an artists place in and responsibility to it.” And I think that summation stands up. Judge Untitled and Hip Hop is Dead as harshly as you want, as I get further away from them what I begin to appreciate is the conceit as a whole. These aren’t exactly concept records, but records that use the album as a conversation. Does Nas definitively articulate Hip Hop’s death or bridge the racial divide once and for all? Is that even possible to do with an album? Stop expecting the man to feed a village with a fish and appreciate what’s there. And there are few songs on HHID or in Nas’ recent catalog more satisfying than this one. There was a time I wanted to connect the theme to “Still Dreaming” to the greater narrative of the album, a critique of imagined gangstas, but now I just love it for being a dope ass concept song. Kanye makes a straight forward and appropriately dreamy soul beat out of Diana Ross’ “The Interim” and shockingly kicks things off with a verse about insecurity in relationships. I hope as his star continues to ascend into the stratosphere Kanye will be open to event collaborations with artists like Nas because it yields memorable results everytime.