Nas has released King’s Disease II, the follow up to his August 2020 LP with Hit-Boy King’s Disease. The name, something he mentions on “Count Me In,” is a reference to gout, otherwise known as “rich man’s disease” as he says, which they got from their opulent lifestyles. The first project was a producer, rapper collaboration with Hit-Boy that felt as natural as you would hear all year. With that chemistry, it made sense for them to run it back again for another album, especially with no shows to perform. With another album to work with, they have tightened the bond and the music sounds better.
Nas uses the album to get some things off of his chest. On “Death Row East,” he addresses the death of Tupac and a recent song “Real Niggaz” that surfaced online that appeared to diss Tupac. Death Row East was reportedly supposed to consist of artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Wu-Tang Clan, Eric B, and K-Solo to squash the East coast, West coast beef, but it fell apart with the death of Pac in 1996.
"Lookin’ through a fresh lens / Everything I know now, wish I knew back then," he raps.
Hit-Boy lays down luxurious beats that allow Nas to celebrate life and appreciate his status and wealth. The album looks forward, but also reminisces on the past with songs like “Moments,” looking back on the good times he has had.
This album feels like one of those 90’s Bulls memes whenever people collaborate to great effect. Those are generally overdone, but it is apt here with artists who broke out in the 90’s as Nas combines on separate songs with Lauryn Hill and Eminem.
There is a higher-level self-awareness with these two.
Eminem brings his fast-paced bars, where he wishes to be named with the greats. “I just pray for the day when I'm able to say that I'm placed with the greats / And my name's with the Kanes, and the Waynes, and the Jays / And the Dres, and the Yes, and the Drakes / And the J Dillas, Jadas, Cool Js, and the Ras.” This verse is historic because while the two have done things together in the past, they have never rapped on the same song.
Hill also links up with Nas again on “Nobody,” 25 years after “If I Ruled The World” back in 1996. She has heard you complaining about her showing up very late to concerts as she raps, "My awareness like Keanu in The Matrix / I'm saving souls and y'all complaining about my lateness.” She still has her fastball on the record, though it may not stop the tardiness.
King’s Disease II feels more refined and at its best with the classic rappers alongside Nas. Hit-Boy’s beats work effortlessly with Nas and if there are more of these albums, the pathway should only be up. Get your copy of the project here.