Nas Untitled

Revenge is sweet on Untitled, the album formally known as Nigger. While Jay-Z made promises of a concept album and didn’t quite deliver, his counterpart, Nas, made no such pact and created an album so powerful and precise that it could be this generation’s Fear of a Black Planet. Although the experimentation doesn’t always succeed (the piano-laced "Queens Get That Money” begs for a drumbeat, "Project Roach” demands more than one verse and "Testify” is boring and all over the place), when it does work, it works wonders. On "Fried Chicken,” Nas and Busta Rhymes reclaim stereotypes and eroticise Southern dinners like Courvoisier. "Y’all My Niggas” and "N.I.G.G.E.R.” are important American songs in their own right but come November, "Black President” might be America's new anthem. And for all the media pundits who, without a modicum of knowledge, assumed that Nas was exploiting the dirtiest word in the English dictionary for shock value, "Sly Fox” bites back and leaves a hole in their necks. (Def Jam)