Though The Lost Tapes 2, the highly anticipated new release from legendary New York rapper Nas, features a jaw-dropping line up of classic beatmakers like Pete Rock and RZA, it’s actually Pharrell Williams that has turned in the album’s best moment.
Already hailed as a “return to form” for the top-tier lyricist, the album has delivered numerous call backs to Nas’ 90s prime. “Vernon Family” is the clear front runner, upholding the album’s biographical undercurrent with a ferocious Nas matching the beat’s undeniable urgency.
Pharrell’s bouncy retro production fits in-line with 2012’s Life is Good, bringing out Nas’ aggressive flow as he tackles the drums with throwbacks to Vernon Boulevard, a location in the notorious Queensbridge Houses where Nas grew up. It gives him reason to big up various moments in New York’s hip hop legacy, even dabbling in alt-history as he muses upon the historic Bridge Wars that held great influence over his early career, asserting that if he was involved in the infamous beef between Boogie Down Productions and Juice Crew, the former wouldn’t have emerged victorious.
Nas’ The Lost Tapes 2 is out now.