“Father Time is undefeated,” goes the old sports adage, but on King’s Disease III, legendary Queens-hailing MC Nas is out to prove that age ain’t nothin’ but a number. The project marks the third album-long pairing of the 49-year-old and Hit-Boy, the Fontana, California-originating producer 14 years his junior. The 2 have clearly stumbled onto something special, Nas sounding as comfortable in his own skin as ever when telling the stories of his developmental years (“Legit,” “Recession Proof,” “Reminisce”), celebrating his profession’s longevity (“Thun,” “30,” “I’m on Fire”), and even staring down his own mortality (“Once a Man, Twice a Child”).
With Hit-Boy production—and likewise perhaps a long way from the pressures of his days as contender for Recent York rap’s throne—Nas relishes the liberty to indulge a few of his more experimental whims, like imagining, on “First Time,” what it was like for various fans to listen to his music for the primary time, or on “Beef,” where he raps from the attitude of street static itself. There aren’t any credited guest MCs on King’s Disease III, a subtle acknowledgment that as prolific as Nas has been, the person once often called The Pharaoh still has plenty to say. And that’s not to say, as he does on “Ghetto Reporter,” the numerous people he has to say it to: “Once I’m 50 years old,” he says. “I wanna have 50-year-old fans, 60-year-old fans, and 16-year-old fans.”