Defying the Nas Syndrome

When the Slaughterhouse LP dropped, I had unfairly high expectations for it. I knew the lyrics would be clever by and large, but I expected the beats to be dope as well. Of course, I was disappointed to hear a selection of largely stale productions that relegated the album to the unfortunate canon of the Nas Syndrome.

I don’t want to speak prematurely, but I’ve heard 4 tracks from Royce’s upcoming album, Street Hop, and it sounds like the man is doing all that he can to avoid the Curse of Nasir.


It certainly doesn’t hurt that DJ Premier is not only executive producing the whole album, but has also contributed a number of beats. Two of his productions–“Somethin 2 Ride 2” and “Hood Love”–have leaked, and both bump pretty seriously. “Somethin 2 Ride 2” is nice and smooth, providing a soulful groove for Royce to rip into.

“Somethin 2 Ride 2” ft. Phonte

“Hood Love” is basically what I’d expect to hear on a Gangstarr reunion album. Premo’s signature cinematic Hip Hop. It bumps, it’s smooth, and it feels larger than life.

“Hood Love” ft. Bun B and Joell Ortiz

And “Dinner Time.” Whoa. Not sure who produced this, but it sounds like some of that filthy Detroit Dilla-influenced rock funk that begs rappers to just wig out. This beat is simple as all hell and exactly what I expected and wanted to hear on Slaughterhouse. Fire.

“Dinner Time” ft. Busta Rhymes

Also, a side note: I think at this point Busta has become a better feature artist than a solo artist. It hurts me to say this more than you’d think–I grew up admiring Busta Rhymes. I won’t really get into how much I loved his first three albums here and now, but let’s just say my mom once heard me rapping the words to “Keepin it Tight” in my sleep. Busta rips every cameo he gets, but for some reason he just can’t seem to put together a great album anymore. A damn shame too, because “Don’t Touch Me” seemed like it was going to turn everything around. At least he’s still dope in small doses.

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One Response to Defying the Nas Syndrome

  1. Jason Dean says:

    Royce is one of the most highly underrated mc’s out there, but Detroit in general is killing it right now (in my opinion). Between Em, the also underrated Obie Trice, Guilty Simpson, Black Milk, Elzhi, the late Dilla, and Royce, I think there are more original and talented rappers and producers from Detroit than anyone gives the city credit for.

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