Nas Lights Up Queensbridge Park for 'Nasir' Album Listening Party: Recap
In the midst of Kanye West’s Twitter spree back in April, the G.O.O.D Music head honcho announced a stream of new albums on the horizon from his G.O.O.D Music tribe (all of which he produced himself) and slipped in a tiny announcement that sent the Twitterverse into a tizzy. “Nas June 15th,” he wrote on Twitter.
Nearly six years after his 2012 album Life Is Good (and after teasing the completion of his album with his guest appearance on 2016's “Nas Album Done,” from DJ Khaled’s Major Key album) Nas finally unleashed his new album, Nasir, on Friday (June 15) -- but not before treating his longtime devotees and his hometown of Queens, NY to an exclusive outdoor listening party on Thursday night.
Guests who received an invite to the exclusive event were asked to check-in at a secret location at 7:30 p.m. After securing a black wristband, a line of black charter buses lined up outside of a parking lot to transport attendees to the Queensbridge Park by 9:30 p.m. Upon arrival, guests were greeted by security guards and metal detectors.
Those who were lucky enough to arrive at the Queensbridge Park early were given free Nasir merchandise, including a neon orange hoodie and an olive long-sleeved t-shirt, both of which had the album cover art plastered on the back and “Nasir” written down the sleeves. Peppered into the crowd of journalists, socialites, and fans were familiar faces like Waka Flocka, who was seated by a tent surrounded by his entourage; radio personality Big Boy (of Big Boy’s Neighborhood), KYLE, and more who were also in attendance, awaiting the arrival of Nas.
Around 10:00 p.m, a black SUV pulled into the park, causing the crowd to flock to the vehicle to get a peek of the latest celebrity arrival, which happened to be Kanye West. A very jovial Kanye stepped out the van with a wide grin glued to his face, as he stopped to take pictures and greet fans. When Nas arrived shortly after, he and Kanye were escorted to the opposite side of the park in a giant olive green army truck, with fans marching behind the track in excitement.
With no stage in sight, security guards parted the sea of antsy fans to allow Nas and Kanye to enter the middle of the crowd, with celebs like Pusha T, 2 Chainz and Chris Rock surrounding the duo; Kim Kardashian, LaLa Anthony, Jonathan Cheban, and more were spotted sitting atop an army van for the entire listening event.
As the clock struck 10:30 p.m, a sweeping, orchestral sound permeated Queensbridge Park. “Escobar season begins,” Nas says on the track, presumably titled “Everything,” which features backing vocals from The-Dream and Kanye. For Nasir, Kanye opted for cinematic, grandiose sounds that make for the perfect sound bed for Nas to flex his smooth lyricism on, including the 070 Shake-assisted “Not For Radio” where he raps, “And who y’all comparing me to is nonsense/ Show gratitude in the presence of dominance.”
While Nas uses his newest album to touch of an array of topics, from bragging about his beautiful women on "Simple Things" -- “Lucky me, I meet some beauties/ Make you want to shoot me/ Hate to brag my worst batch kills off your best cutie” -- to police brutality on the Slick Rick-sampling “Cops," he failed to address one important topic on his album: Kelis' domestic abuse claims. In April, Kelis sat down with Hollywood Unlocked and opened up about experiencing domestic abuse during her marriage to Nas, claiming that their marriage was "really dark" and caused her to suffer "a lot of mental and physical abuse."
However, the release of Nas’ eleventh studio album marks the end of the rapper's respite from music, and judging by the warm response from the crowd -- who seemed to be in a state of pure euphoria all night long -- Escobar is officially back, and seemingly has no plans of hitting pause anytime soon.
Check out some highlights from Nas' listening event below.