On last Thursday night at the corner of Prince and Bowery Streets in New York City, life was good for a few people.
“Man, my intern got ME into VIP,” one person blurted out, as he waited in a loosely formed line outside the New Museum. “He just like me–he don’t give a f*ck!” So there’s one person whose life seemed to make clear, unperturbed sense at that particular moment.
But there’s one other guy whose life was — actually no, is — good, and he’s the reason why I was standing among a hoarding mass in the Bowery that evening: Nasir Jones, who was about to host a listening party for his upcoming 10th album, Life Is Good.
Security personnel ushered patrons into an elevator that took them to the museum’s seventh floor, a room accentuated in dim, neon green hues and plastered with magazine portraits of the Queensbridge rapper. Complimentary Belvedere and Hennessy filled the hands of guests, as home movies of Nas streamed along the wall behind the stage. The room opened its glass walls onto a porch that overlooked the lower third of Manhattan. Illmatic blared in the background before Nas took the stage.
As for the tracks themselves, Nas didn’t reveal much information. It’s still a full month from release, so there’s sure to be some final tweaking of the album. However, with Swizz Beatz in tow, they performed their as-yet-unfinished cut, which made the crowd lose its sh*t and a half. Ditto for No I.D.’s “The Train” and, of course, “Daughters.”
Some of the bigger tracks include a Rick Ross guest spot in “Accidental Murderers,” another Swizz-produced track in “Summer On Smash” and a mysterious partial track that Nas saved for the session’s conclusion. With Swizzle whipping around the stage like a recluse atom, Nas tore into a beat that Soul Culture‘s M. Gosho Oakes could only describe as “Diddy/Bad Boy era a la G. Dep’s ‘Special Delivery,’” before cutting the track short.
So life appears splendid for two people. It’ll probably be just as swanky for fans when Life Is Good drops. And if the listening session’s crowd’s rabid giddiness was any indication, even the most skeptical Nasir fans will give a f*ck on July 17.
Photos: Meredith Truax