Nas and AZ – The Essence

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The Essence

Since Blogger fucked up the posts from our previous blog site, I thought I’d re-post this one for the archives. It’s another collection, this time featuring one of the more vaunted duos in hip-hop, Nas and AZ. It almost seems that since the classic “Life’s a Bitch,” hip-hop fans have been baying for a collaboration album…. or a Nas/Primo album… shit, why not just an AZ/Nas/Primo 15 years too late album? Either way, the guillotine has dropped on that notion, especially after Nas’ interview not too long ago with Rap Radar:

“I think certain things have to be ready. You can’t do it for the sake of doing it and mess up what it was supposed to be. […] I was willing to do one again ten years ago and I think that was really the time. […] I don’t wanna say yeah and it don’t happen. It’s not as easy at it sounds.”

All of that aside, this comp. should give an idea of how dope a project between the pair could have been. Maybe the most interesting part of the collection is that it showcases the early signs of Nas being a terrible executive producer. This all dates back to Nastradamus when Nas started to think it was a good idea to Exec. his own albums. It wasn’t. An Executive Producer (at least in hip-hop terms) typically helps to sculpt the sound of an LP and challenge the artist to deliver their best. This wasn’t as noticeable with Stillmatic as Nas was already under the gun and therefore managed to drop his best work for five yours, but the bulk of his subsequent albums have suffered significantly. For one thing, have you noticed how since the close of the 90s he always tends to get the raw deal in exchanged collaborations? (i.e. you do a joint with me for my album, I’ll do a track for yours) The Game gets song of the year contender “Why You Hate the Game,” Nas gets the disappointing “Hustlers.” Kanye gets the anthemic “We Major,” Nas gets the anemic “Still Dreaming.” Even wifey Kelis got the fantastic “Popular Thug” while Nas got stuck with fucking “American Way” (which was produced by Q-Tip no less). Etc, etc.

Same goes for Stillmatic’s “The Flyest.” Not that “The Flyest” is necessarily a bad song. It’s not, but it doesn’t compare with either “The Essence” or “Serious.” Listen for yourself and enjoy the rest.

The Essence
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01 Nas and AZ – The Flyest
02 Nas and AZ ft Cormega and Foxy Brown – Affirmative Action
03 Nas and AZ ft Kool G Rap – Holler Back
04 Nas and AZ – Serious
05 Nas and AZ ft Dr Dre and Nature – Phone Tap
06 Nas and AZ – Mo Money Mo Murda Mo Homicide
07 Nas and AZ ft Nature – Executive Decisions
08 Nas and AZ ft Nature – Time
09 Nas and AZ ft Cormega and Foxy Brown – Affirmative Action (Trackmasters rmx)
10 Nas and AZ ft Foxy Brown and Dawn Robinson – Firm Biz
11 Nas and AZ – Life’s a Bitch
12 Nas and AZ – How Ya Livin’
13 Nas and AZ – Gimmie Yours
14 Nas and AZ ft Foxy Brown and Nature – Firm Biz (World Famous rmx)
15 Nas and AZ – The Essence

— Snoop Bloggy Blogg

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