Nas, one of hip-hop's most influential artists, released his 10th studio album with an optimistic title, probably especially chosen to make his fans look beyond their worries and daily problems, as 'life is good'. In fact, he explores himself and his life before his fans in a successful attempt of summing up the internal and external battles, his winnings and his losses throughout his life.
The album is not dominated by luxury rhymes, but by rhymes that seem lacerated from reality, from the lessons he learned and the memories he gathered from his adolescent years to now. Critics say the songs rather reflect the past four years of his life (since he released the Untitled album), but no matter who is right, the lyrics abound in harsh beauty and over the scene reality.
And since he focused on delivering the same lyrical personality that made him famous, he didn't overload his album with collaborations. Only an average amount of artists is present, but they give the album the spark it needed to enter the top position on Billboard 200. For example, the Large Professor's voice takes you back in the '90s in the track "Loco-Motive", while Anthony Hamilton's soulful vocals in "World's An Addiction" opens your heart. Amy Winehouse is also present, bringing a pinch of nostalgia with her amazing gone but not forgotten voice on "Cherry Wine." "Reach Out" is a funky 90's groove, so it features the Queen of Hip-Hop & Soul Mary J. Blige, while Salaam Remi and DJ Hot Day play the back end. "You Wouldn't Understand" is special thanks to Victoria Monet's neo-soul stylings on Nas' ode to life's struggles.
No ID and Salaam Remi handle the production, with assistance from Justice L.E.A.G.U.E., Swizz Beatz, Noah "40" Shebib and others whose sounds bring Nas' stories to life. Tere's nothing not to like about Life Is Good. From "Accident Murderers" featuring Rick Ross in which he shares Nas' own rags-to-riches story, to "World's An Addiction" where he raps about several issues of the world, the album seems perfect.
"No Introduction" opens the album, with Nas re-introducing himself and warning his fans about the honesty that is to come: "Revealed my life/ You will forgive me, you will love me, hate me, judge me, relate to me/ Only a few will, this how it sounds when you too real/ They think it's just music still." Moreover, Nas delivers songs that will definitely turn heads. Whether it's the powerful "Goodbye Love" sample from "Bye Baby", where Nas talks directly to his ex-wife, Kelis, about the ups and downs of their relationship, to "A Queens Story" where he rhymes on his ode to Queens - "Back in the days they was sleeping on us/ Brooklyn keep on takin it/ Manhattan keep on makin' it/ Tryna leave Queens out" - the songs grab attention.
"Daughters" seems to be the most honest of all tracks, as Nas opens up on the good and the bad of his relationship with his daughter, Destiny Jones: "They say the coolest playas and foulest heartbreakers in the world/ God get's us back, he makes us have precious little girls." "Summer On Smash" featuring Miguel & Swizz Beatz, "Back When" and "The Don"are also worth mentioning, as they bring cohesiveness to the LP.