Nas’ new double CD contains some of his best work since Illmatic yet still lacks the continuity one might expect from such a gifted artist. On disc one the production clearly stands out above any other element of the album, whether it be Nas’ radical political standpoints on “American Way” or his disappointment with the representation of black celebrities on “These Are Our Heroes”. These songs work very well musically.
Nas is sharp with his delivery and the production is outstanding but the themes are extremely self-righteous coming from an artist with a questionable background of his own. Its almost seems like a cry for respect as Nas tries to maintain his street credibility with his usual street-savvy wordplay and insurmountable biblical/gangsta cross-references.The somewhat more respectable disc two serves as Nas’ scrapbook, complete with the “Unauthorized Biography of Rakim”, the sentimentally misogynistic “Remember the Times”, “Bridging the Gap” featuring Nas’ dad, and a dedication to Nas’ daughter called “Me and You”.
The unsettling thing about disc two is the placement of seemingly random tracks with this carefully constructed progression. For instance the tone switches seamlessly from misogyny to monogamy as “The Makings of a Perfect Bitch” smoothly transitions into “Getting Married”. The theme of family values continues until “Thief’s Theme”, the final track of the album, which would have been great as a 12 inch or perhaps better placed on disc one, however it has no place as the album’s finale. The only reasonable explanation is that Nas wanted to end Streets Disciple with a criminal element, or in other words; street credibility.