There's no question that Nas is among the elite lyricists in the game, past or present. Which is why I'm always intrigued to hear new material, especially when it reinterprets one of my favorite songs in his diverse catalog.
"If I Ruled the World '09," featuring Marsha Ambrosius and part of Smirnoff's Signature Mix, has a more mature Nasir updating the lyrics to his '96 banger for the times. Also, the new beat reminds me of 2008's "Hero," which is a very good thing.
So has Nas still got his magic touch of street poetics and gritty lyricism? Personally, I prefer the original because of the emotion Nas and Lauryn captured plus the video was insane, but I'm definitely vibing to the new version.
Nas spitting then:
Imagine smoking weed in the streets without cops harassinAnd, Nas rhyming now:
Imagine going to court with no trial
Lifestyle cruising blue behind my waters
No welfare supporters
More conscious of the way we raise our daughters
Days are shorter, nights are colder
Feeling like life is over, these snakes strike like a cobra
The world's hot my son got not evidently
It's elementary, they want us all gone eventually
Trooping out of state for a plate knowledge
If coke was cooked without the garbage
We'd all have the top dollars
Imagine everybody flashin, fashion
Designer clothes, lacing your click up with diamond vogues
Your people holdin dough, no parole
No rubbers, go in raw imagine law with no undercovers
Just some thoughts for the mind
I take a glimpse into time
Watch the blimp read "The World Is Mine"
I don’t say I’m maintaining, that’s a lame’s language
Poor English, From a wise man I learned patience
Me not distinguished is like a fiend-less Queensbridge
I don’t say I’m grindin, ‘cause everything I do’s redefining
‘Cause when you know the streets to the science
Apply it very moderate to your business and watch you profit
Rap game, NBA, the NFL, the kids’ll yell
Will I win or fail or end up in a cell?
Nonsense, ‘cause they can grow to be part of the Congress
Be responsive to these inner city problems
Behind the tints with a chauffeur
I rep for the culture
Rep for the thugs and still see eye-to-eye with Oprah
I was a dream, a wisher with hope for
A better life for these kids while I’m sipping mimosa
I planned yo, used to watch a black and white Sanyo
Who’s the best? Next to me, they couldn’t light a candle
Looks like, despite the haters, Nas hasn't lost a step.
Thanks to Splash for the heads up, Enjoy!
Links in the Cbox --->
Nas ft. Marsha Ambrosius - If I Ruled The World '09 (Smirnoff Signature Mix)
Nas ft. Lauryn Hill - If I Ruled The World (Imagine That) [Original CDS]