Magic 3

Magic 3

Nas’ career boasts so many peaks that it’s futile even trying to spot valleys. Even so, the Queensbridge-bred rap luminary’s run with producer Hit-Boy in the 2020s rivals, if not outright tops, many of those prior high points. Timed to release on his 50th birthday—and in hip-hop’s 50th anniversary year, no less—Magic 3 seeks to close out this particular chapter in his vast and storied rhyme book. Though one naturally hopes these two artists will one day reunite, the sixth project from this fan-friendly team-up makes for one thrilling finale. From the emboldened opening bars of “Fever” to the closing victory lap “1-800-Nas&Hit,” Hit-Boy provides Nas with a supreme soundtrack for the cinematic sonic franchise, with standouts like “I Love This Feeling” and “Superhero Status” exemplifying the potency of their fortuitous collaboration. As a lyricist and performer, Nas remains righteously in the GOAT debate, a fact reinforced by several of these 15 tracks via showing more than telling. That knack for compelling, street-level storytelling continues on the two-part “Based on True Events,” while the ironically titled “Speechless, Pt. 2” confirms his effortlessly ruthless approach to rapping for the love of rapping. On the lighter side, he’s still out here playing the field, as “Pretty Young Girl” romantically lays out a mature proposal befitting his status and refined interests. Given the luxe flexes he exhibits on “Blue Bentley,” it’s an offer definitely worth considering. Though he has nothing left to prove, Nas insists on setting the record straight for anyone unclear or misinformed. On “TSK,” he scolds disingenuous critics and keyboard warriors while staking his rightful claim to hip-hop’s living history. On the aforementioned “I Love This Feeling,” he casually mentions that he’s quietly retired from the game more than once, making Magic 3 an even more auspicious affair. And though Nas could’ve invited just about anyone to this wrap party, the sole credited feature belongs to Lil Wayne, who brings his own cocksure, veteran flows to “Never Die.”

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