While the project marks the opening of another chapter in Nas’ illustrious career — not to mention his prolific partnership with the multi-platinum producer Hit-Boy — KD3 finds the legendary MC in a reflective mood throughout.
On “Thun” – a nod to Queens, New York slang popularized by the late Prodigy from Mobb Deep – Nas looks back on his early days dreaming of covering The source while trying to navigate street life with his “thoroughbred” crew.
Halfway through his verse, Esco turns his attention to his bitter conflict with JAY-Z and wonders how far they’ve come, admitting that he sometimes texts Hov jokingly about how their rivalry “isn’t over.”
“No beef or rivals, they play ‘Ether’ on TIDAL / Brothers can do anything when they set their minds to / In a Range Rover, dissecting bars from ‘Takeover’ / Sometimes I text Hova like ‘N- gga this ain’t over,” laughs,” he raps over mafioso production that evokes past albums like It was written and The company.
Nas and JAY-Z have certainly come a long way since then warring over diss songs like “Takeover” and “Ether” – as well as “Supa Ugly” and “Last Real N-gga Alive” – in the early 2000s.
After formally reconciling on stage during Hovs I declare war Tour stop in New Jersey in 2005, the New York giants have collaborated numerous times on tracks such as “Black Republican”, “Success” and most recently, DMXs “Bath salts” and DJ Khaled’s “Sorry not sorry.”
As we revealed in a FaceTime call with JAY-Z which was shared on Instagram by Khaled last year, the latter song bringing out his competitive side.
“Okay, I’m just here adjusting lines and shit,” he told his former enemy over the phone. “I’m in here, curating, rewriting four bars here and there… Oh, no no no. I’ve got to get back! [Laughs] Yo bro, this is one. The queen at the end, the harmonies that gave me chills… this is definitely one for the books.”
Ahead of the collaboration, JAY-Z even paid tribute to Nas’ city curate a TIDAL playlist highlights some of his finest lyrical performances including “NY State of Mind”, “One Mic” and “Made You Look”.
Fans have long been clamoring for Nas and JAY-Z to rekindle their rivalry in one Verzuz match, which would make it arguably the greatest match-up in series history. However, according to former Roc-A-Fella representative Memphis Bleek, it is competition would not be a close call.
“There is no comparison,” he claimed in one Bally Sports interview last year. “Because Nas doesn’t have enough songs to compete. And no disrespect to him, but he just doesn’t. Jay can fight anybody with just his B-Sides concert catalog and it’ll still be better than people’s A-Sides.”
The King’s Disease 3 arrived on streaming services on Friday (November 11) and features 17 new songs. It serves as the third installment in Nas and Hit-Boy’s acclaimed trilogy that began with the Grammy-winning The King’s Disease in 2020, and follows last year’s surprising decline Magic.