Before I delve into the farce that is Nas‘ Greatest Hits, I will provide the tracklist for you to peruse:
- Less Than An Hour – (ft. Cee-Lo)
- It Ain’t Hard To Tell
- NY State Of Mind
- One Love
- If I Ruled The World – (ft. Lauryn Hill)
- Street Dreams (Remix) – (ft. R. Kelly)
- Hate Me Now – (ft. Puff Daddy)
- One Mic
- Got UR Self A…
- Made You Look
- Oochie Wally
- Bridging The Gap – (ft. Olu Dara)
Who came up with this list?!?! Sigh..
Okay. Let’s all agree that Illmatic was the best Nas record that he has ever recorded. Great. Now, with this logic, this album should be heavy with Illmatic tracks if nothing else. I understand “Oochie Wally” being included from a pop music standpoint, although it hurts my ears everytime I hear it. That whole Nastradamus-Foxy Brown-AZ thing AKA “The Firm” phase was just so painful. Speaking of that phase, what’s up with the Dr. Dre-produced track, “Phone Tap?” And, I’m sorry, I had never even heard “Less Than An Hour” feat. Cee-Lo until I just googled it to write this post. It’s not a bad song, it’s pretty nice actually, but to be included just negates so much that deservedly should be there.
What’s up with tracks from the second-best Nas album post-Illmatic, the aptly titled Stillmatic? All that’s listed from this is “Ether” and “Got UR Self A…”. Dammit! Where’s “2nd Childhood?” “What Goes Around?” The rework of that beat was sick!
I definitely understand “If I Ruled The World,” the remake of the memorable Kurtis Blow song from Krush Groove featuring Lauryn Hill on vocals. But “Hate Me Now?” featuring Puffy? Come on, now? Who’s idea was this album?
If you are really jonesing for a true Nas’ Greatest Hits collection, check out J. Period’s version here.
Below are my picks for a Nas “Greatest Hits Album,” that is, if I ran his record company. It would have to be a double album, first of all:
1. “Live at the BBQ” by Main Source feat. Nas and Akinyele (this was actually Nas’ first track on wax ever, pre-record deal.)
2. All of Illmatic, except replace original “The World is Yours” with the Q-Tip remix of this track.
12. If I Ruled The World ft. Lauryn HIll
13. The Message
14. NY State of Mind Part II
15. Nas is Like
Most of Stillmatic:
16. Stillmatic (The Intro)
18. Got UR Self A…
19. You’re Da Man
20. One Mic
21. 2nd Childhood
22. The Flyest ft. AZ
23. What Goes Around
24. Made You Look
25. I Can
26. Thief’s Theme
27. Black Republican ft. Jay-Z
28. Bridging The Gap ft. Olu Dara
29. Can’t Forget About You
30. Still Dreaming ft. Kanye West
Thirty songs, you say? Yes, THIRTY SONGS. Why? Because Nas is ill like that. Because after releasing damn near 10 albums, the first of which earned the very first 5 Mics from the Source, he deserves it. Yes, there was a 2002 release, The Best of Nas, but this album was still severely lacking in pivotal tracks that should have been included.
Of course, this is just my opinion, but I’m sticking to it.
Nas’ take on this album, including his track-by-track insights, can be found here.