On Christmas Eve, veteran Queens MC Nas dropped his Magic project to an unsuspecting audience. If the Grammy win and nomination for his first two King's Disease projects with producer Hit-Boy weren't enough to grab listeners' attention, this sublime collection of stellar songs certainly will. Nas spits "I am 21 years past the 27 club" on the grimy yet melodic opener "Speechless," confirming his longevity in the game on an album where the themes are timeely but the flow is reminiscent of the Nasty Nas era.
The King’s Disease series for longtime Nas fans has been nothing short of remarkable. After converging with Hit-Boy, Nas managed to shake his long-held title as worst beat selector while the duo emerged as one of the better producer/artist combinations in contemporary Hip Hop. After the arrival of KD2 last August, Nas and Hit-Boy surprised fans with a follow-up album just in time for Christmas Day -- Magic.
There's an unwittingly poignant sequence at the end of Magic, Nas's fifteenth studio album. The final track, "Dedicated," is pure middle-aged ennui couched in wistful pop-culture references, the sort of preoccupied nostalgia trip Jay-Z perfected on 4:44. Nas name-drops Mike Tyson, Kimora Lee, and Carlito's Way, alluding to some compelling ideas without really exploring them; it's breezy enough that you can almost forgive the kids-these-days grumbling.
What a year it's been for Nasty Nas. After kicking the year off by winning Best Rap Album at the Grammys for his 2020 album 'King's Disease', the hip-hop titan quickly followed up with the critically adored sequel 'King's Disease II'. 'KD2' further cemented the ironclad bond between the 48-year-old MC and instrumental-crafting tour de force we know as Hit-Boy, stitching the connective tissue between all of Nas' latest releases.