“Thinking of a master plan/ sipping on disaster, smoking on gangster/ watching ****** argue, chillin' on my bar-stool/ with my Hell Up in Harlem hat in hand/ with a girl named Pat/ she more than a waitress to order your drink with/ she divorced a banker and bought the bar/ she got an automobile, she give an order to kill” Originally recorded around 2008 for the Untitled album, this one leaked around that time and has been one of my favorite Nas records ever since, in particular, that second verse where he’s in storytelling mode with his God MC flow.
14) Mass Appeal ft Fashawn, Nas, Ezri - Apostles
“A king is often alone, even in a crowded home/ he silent, let it be known/ he trust nobody, not family or friends/ you'd be surprised on what he relies on/ consequences of men” Produced by Statik Selektah, this is one of many good tracks off Nas’ imprint Mass Appeals’ first collaborative tape Stating 5: Vol. 1. Although the label hasn’t seemed to have made much impact since its foundation in 2014, this project suggests that Nas’ vision may become clear in the near future. Also for the record, this verse right here is Nas in his greatest form.
13) Smoke DZA - Legend Has It
“Legend has it, I snuck 5 up on the plane/ legend has it, across the border, did the same/ hella weed, allegedly, legend has it (legend has it)/ The Kush God title ain't just a name/ fuck it, it’s self-proclaimed” DZA 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
12) 38 Spesh ft Street Justice - Gomorrah
“I got flaws that require work/ ain’t have a job because before I had a job I got fired first/ no application so I’m buying work/ I’m celebrating independence/ hit the stove show em fire work”🔥 🔥 🔥 Rochester’s own 38 Spesh released a collaborative tape, A Bullet for Every Heathen, with producer Big Ghost Ltd., (who we don’t forget clowned Wale for internet fame - in his previous shtick - and then subsequently worked with him without any explanation given other than the obvious) - and on this tape, Street Justice delivers two of the most memorable verses in recent memory.
11) Little Brother - Picture This
“It's Soundbombin' for the downtrodden/ whether the game's elimination or round robin/ cause God'll laugh at your plans/ took half my advance, invested in a eight-passenger van/ and drove off on behalf of the dance/ just me and my mans/ chasing the dream and pretty girls with the long hair/ but something' went wrong there, I tried to be strong/ was on the bottom so long, it felt like I belonged there” A Phonte verse for the ages over Black Milk production 🔥
10) EARTHGANG, J. Cole, Smino, Saba - Sacrifices
“You can't be everything to everybody/ I wanna be your lover, your best friend/ your Batman, Spider-Man/ fighter pilot shooting down your rivals and/ I wanna damn near kill you to be the one that heal you up…” Cole…
9) Styles P, Noah Styles - Dee Da Dee Da
“Life is a bitch/ karma is too/ so I gotta have a menaje to get through”🔥🔥🔥 Styles P smoked this record off Generational Excellence, the EP he created with his son, Noah Styles, who is far from the Ghost but has a distinct sound of his own.
8) DJ Khaled ft Nipsey Hussle & John Legend - Higher
“Emptied out the clip, it was broad day/ fuck ****** always gotta learn the hard way/ we gon' tape it off if we ball play/ put a half a moon crescent on your bald fade/ police hit the lights, that's a car chase/ lookin' back at my life make my heart race/ dance with the devil and test our faith/ I was thinkin' chess moves but it was God's grace/ crooked ass whoever 'til we all straight/ with no shame, I peeped game and it's all fake/ South Central state of mind, high crime rate/ Homicide, hate, gang banging'll get you all day/ and look at my fate” I was working at VladTV when Nipsey was tragically gunned down in his neighborhood, making this second verse all the more eerie as it would seem he had predicted his fate. Sure enough, I covered that story for the months that followed, and from my vantage point, Nipsey’s legacy was honored across the globe like never seen before.
7) Beyonce ft Jay-Z, Childish Gambino & Oumou Sangare - MOOD 4 EVA
“Forever, and ever-ever, and ever-ever (Yeah, yeah)/ at the Saxon Madiba suite (Yeah, yeah), like Mandela/ bumpin' Fela on the Puma jet, like we from Lagos (My daughter)/ Mansa Musa reincarnated, we on our levels (He 'bout business)/ That's a billi', a thousand milli' (Ugh)/ first one to see a B out these housing buildings/ I be feelin' like Prince in '84 (Ow)/ Mike in '79, Biggie in '97/ '94 Nas” They’re starting to overlook actual collaboration between Jay & Beyonce, as this one did not make radio or any waves in the culture, despite the fact that they both come correct including the God MC himself, who at the moment only appears to be appreciated for his business acumen. Otherwise, it should be noted that this is the only record where Donald Glover (Simba) and Beyonce (Nala) can be heard together on the Lion King soundtrack.
6) DJ Khaled ft Nas & Cee-Lo Green - Won’t Take My Soul
“I had no Damon Dash as my partner/ just maniacs, wish I had a Damon/ I woulda been straighter with that shit” Produced by STREETRUNNER & Tarik Azzouz, who also produced the Nipsey record above, this is a dope collaboration between Nas and Cee-Lo, the former who provides a number of jewels including “silencin' all the noise/ pray for the day I bust a nina on that bitch who shot Selena/ then I rejoice”💎
5) Little Brother - What I Came For
“County boy, Wake, Durham, Guilford, and Forsyth/ where you can hear some Bill Withers under porch lights/ settle down, find a nice girl and just chill with her/ stay low and build with her, like Fortnite/ but while my city was fast asleep/ before the South was bumpin' Master P/ my Ghetto Dope was Bizzie Boyz, Nyborn, and Mixmaster D/ who ever thought it would get passed to me”🔥🔥🔥 Phonte went deep in his bag on this track where beneath the impeccable flow, there’s also some vintage hip-hop history in the lyrics.
4) Smoke DZA, Green R Fieldz ft Andre Nickatina - Highs & Lows
“Cash me out- I’m coming with a bulk of trees/ 16 like I bring it you vocally/ no smoking in the V while you chauffeur me/ lets make it home safe/ stay focused g/ no con man a ***** selling potpourri/ had to clean up the mess I had OCD/ got treacherous had to take OPP/ I live life ***** I don’t watch no TV/ I got highs/ I’m talking ends is good/ I got lows/ you want to buy some more/ I got house known only for the pocket dough/ ***** get it how you get it can’t know your flow/ everything lit it’s a rocket show”🔥🔥🔥 Smoke DZA is one of the best emcees in the world period.
“Smoke in my nappy dreads, how you scared to die, *****? Don't believe that lie, I think that everybody happy dead/ hell is a fabricated figment of imagination/ I done seen worse for real right there off Yadkin behind gas station” J. Cole on Bob Marley time 🔥
2) Nas - Lost Freestyle
“Amateur Hanna-Barbera characters know they envy” Produced by Statik Selektah, this lyrical exercise sounds like prime Nas and is one of the highlights off the highly anticipated Lost Tapes 2.
1) Casanova ft Fabolous - So Brooklyn
“I'm so Brooklyn/ I need a vacay for all the work I put in” 🔥 Fab smoked this instrumental with a verse of the year nominee.