The Lost Tapes

When an artist attains a certain amount of celebrity, their unreleased material—songs that didn't make previous albums for whatever reason—often becomes a hot commodity.

When an artist attains a certain amount of celebrity, their unreleased material—songs that didn't make previous albums for whatever reason—often becomes a hot commodity. In the case of Nas, those tracks are some of the Queens, N.Y., MC's best offerings. The Lost Tapes, a 12-track set of previously unreleased songs, showcases Nas' incredible talent as a lyricist and social commentator. The set opens with the piano-driven nostalgia of "Doo Rags," Nas' Precision-produced take on society's cyclical nature. Lead single "No Ideas Original" gives a funky facelift to Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More Babe." Free of hooks and choruses, the 3-minute track comes across like a fiery commentary on the state of hip-hop. While the production on some tracks is clearly dated, Nas' lyrics are as crisp and vivid as ever. Other standouts include "Poppa Was a Playa," "Black Zombie," and "Drunk by Myself."—RH