On Monday night, Nas celebrated the release of his 10th album Life is Good, with an intimate dinner in New York. It was a celebratory evening, and the magnitude of the moment wasn’t lost on the Queensbridge rapper.
“I came from saying, ’Life’s a bitch and then you die’ to Life Is Good, so it’s a whole journey that you go through to understand why I’m feeling this way,” God’s Son explained to MTV News while he walked the carpet before enjoying a dinner with some of his closest friends and industry comrades like Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, producer No I.D., Hot 97 radio veteran Angie Martinez and Q-Tip, who DJ’d a portion of the evening.
On Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic, his outlook on the future was pretty dark, as he pointed out, referencing the lyric “Life’s a bitch.” These days, even with his tax troubles, parenting woes and divorce from R&B singer Kelis, Nas is much more upbeat and positive. “Nas always takes the time to reinvent himself,” said Hot 97 personality and news blogger Miss Info. “And I think that this time, he’s really opening his personal life in a way we haven’t seen before.”
Throughout his career, Esco has been notoriously private, but with Life Is Good, he opens up like never before, and with all its boom-bap-inspired production, the music is pretty damn good as well. On the No I.D.-produced “Daughters,” Nas grapples with the difficulties of raising a teenage girl and even criticizes himself for, at times, not being the greatest role model. Still, the LP’s most gut-wrenching moment comes on “Bye Baby,” on which he directly addresses Kelis over a sampling of Guy’s 1988 R&B breakup track “Goodbye Love.”
“The record is dedicated to Kelis, my ex-wife; it’s also dedicated to my daughter Destiny,” Nas said. “It’s also dedicated to all the people that like the ’90s sound or really love hip-hop. So this one is from the heart.”
“A lot of people probably want him to do his first album a hundred times over and over, but in order to take things to the next level, you gotta accept growth, you gotta accept experience, and I think he accepted all those different things,” Swizz Beatz said. “Especially dealing with a lot of trials and tribulations around the making of this album and his personal life. For him to embrace that and embrace who he is as a person is amazing.”