Plenty of rappers have solidified their authorial prestige through the art of storytelling, and while many have proven themselves elite, few have managed to reach Nas level. Sitting comfortably atop the upper echelon, Nasir Jones has been painting vivid images and weaving street narratives for decades. Though the legendary rapper has many iconic tales under his belt, "Get Down" holds a special place in my heart. Kicking off with an iconic James Brown sample, the self-produced cut follows a young Nasir navigating the treacherous New York streets, moving alongside killers who "walk like Pistol Pete and Pappy Mason," yet still give the "young boys admiration."
Equal parts coming of age tale, equal parts crime thriller, "Get Down" follows Nas across several eras, crossing paths with a Tarantino-esque cast of supporting and dangerous players. "Some n***s fuck their enemies in their ass when they catch 'em," raps Nas, "weird-ass n***s are dangerous so don't test 'em." The table is set, with a brutal honesty worthy of one who moves in shadow. As the stories climaxes, Nas finds himself embroiled with a hotheaded Spanish lover during a deadly case of mistaken identity.
Honestly, everything about "Get Down" is a masterclass in lyricism. The evocative setting, the depth of the characters, and the naturally evolving narrative coalesce to make for one of God's Son's finest moments. If this doesn't get you hyped for Nas' album tomorrow, nothing will.
See, my cousin's in the game, thuggin' and thangs
He plugged me with a dame who was half-Mexicano
Gave the ass up, I'm a mack daddy Soprano
She passed me the indigo, but the imbecile
Shoulda never tippy-toed, thought my eyes were closed
Openin' the hotel room door to let her goons in
But I moved in a manner on some Jet Li shit
I let the hammers blow, wet three kids