A cursory glance at Nas’ illustrious, if pockmarked, career leaves most at a loss for how exactly to categorize one of rap’s greats. Sure, he’s in everyone’s Top 10 and is certainly a monolith in rap’s cluttered, always-in-flux landscape. The landlord of Thug Mansion, no doubt. He made “Illmatic”, the lyrical gold-standard and holy grail, after all. But his life has been marked by several missteps and failures, in terms of his career, his personal life, or in the case of the feud with Jay-Z, both. The failed stabs at commercialized rap. The Bravehearts, rivaled perhaps by third-tier Wu-affiliates in terms of sheer inconsequentialness. The hopelessly tin-ear for beats. The movie “Belly”. But perhaps his largest and most personal disappointment has also fueled one of his career’s greatest and purest successes. “Bye Baby”, off his latest offering “Life is Good”, is a lush and compelling look at the crests and troughs of his marriage and divorce with Kelis. Nas waxes nostalgic, and sounds comfortable, honest, at peace and never bitter. “You screaming at the racist cops in Miami was probably the highlight of my life Like Hiyo look at my wife Gangsta, me and twenty cops ‘bout to fight, crazy night Bailed you out, next morning we got clean Like it never happened and later we at that Heat game Just another day in the life of two people in love But it wasn’t enough” Nasty Nas as narrator and storyteller. This is like nothing on “Illmatic”. But it doesn’t have to be. Life Is Good. j via Ass The Blog