Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Nas: Street's Disciple [Columbia, 2004]
Its double-CD sprawl is ambitious not hubristic, imposing not indigestible--squeezes onto a C-90. There's devil and Jesus-killer obscurity up front, electoral asininity later, but in general Nas finally seems comfortable with his (black) humanity. He's responsible, thoughtful, and compassionate, never mealymouthed, so that his political misprisions and retrospective sex boasts function like Eminem's latest sound effects--they keep him incorrect. If this means "Prescott Bush funded Hitler" is ignored on the op-ed page, Nas is barred from that realm anyway, and the information certainly does his faithful more good than, for instance, the distracting fantasy that Prescott's heir planned 9/11. The shout-outs to Bojangles Robinson, Stokely Carmichael, Redd Foxx, Fela, and Miriam Makeba are right on time. And when he and his pops get together on a blues, Muddy Waters is in the house. A-