Nas God's Son

The message is sent as soon as the beat drops on the first track "Get Down." A familiar funky James Brown loop booms out, positioning Nas alongside pioneering MCs who used to rock over similar beats in the late '80s. Nas obliges by delivering one of his patented tightly wound narratives. It's a significant moment, because after a dalliance with Murder Inc, there was a fear Nas would record Ja Rule and Ashanti duets that would go down like a spoonful of Buckley's. However, God's Son continues Nas's impressive return to form. With his mother's recent death looming large on this project, his secret weapon is underrated producer Salaam Remi, who delivered the career-saving remix of "Nappy Heads" to the Fugees. The cacophonic head rush of "Made U Look," and the infectious 'for the kids' flavour of "I Can" are due to his presence. However Nas's attempts to record party joints and to put the spotlight on his Bravehearts crew fail as they have done in the past. Nas is much better at crafting elaborate concepts as the innovative "Book of Rhymes" attests. While he gets noted producers and heavyweights such as the Alchemist, Eminem and Alicia Keys to provide him with heat, a standout beat is provided by Agile of Toronto's Brassmunk for "Heaven." While the Toronto connection is extended to the presence of Saukrates and Jully Black, Nas typifies the passion pervading God's Son, constantly changing up his delivery while imparting deep thoughts on mortality. It's further affirmation that Nas is now taking steps in the right direction. (Columbia)