When you consider that he's titled previous albums God's Son and Nastradamus, it's not terribly surprising to find that the latest by New York rapper Nas is a double disc called Street's Disciple whose cover features the MC proudly occupying Jesus' seat at a modestly bling-crusted Last Supper. Once you listen, you realize that Nas needed at least two CDs to make room for all the perplexing contradictions he floats here. In "American Way," a bouncy bit of glittery robo-funk produced by Q-Tip, Nas attacks the state of our union with vinegary couplets like "You're red, white and blue? I'm American, too, but I ain't with the president's crew." With fiancee Kelis cooing the chorus, it's a sharp bit of popwise agitprop. "These Are Our Heroes" is a blistering indictment of high-profile African-Americans--Tiger Woods, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Taye Diggs included--Nas feels have sold out his people. The track's unflinching language is only emphasized by its chirpy production, which sounds lifted from Mase's record. Though the track mocks limousine riders, Nas appears on Disciple's back a limo. And though he spends "Getting Married" sketching an affecting portrait of marriage deeper than "Huxtable kisses-and-hugs shit," in "The Makings of a Perfect Bitch," he thinks he can redeem a track full of wack woman-as-product nastiness with a lame "no disrespect." Complexity is a virtue; bad logic is not.
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Mikael Wood