Some people have a lot of balls. There was a time when you didn’t dare bite or pay homage, you did your own thing. If you honored, you did it with the utmost respect. With the 20th anniversary of Nas‘ Illmatic approaching in two years, an album that for many is one of the best hip-hop albums ever made, is it right to do a song in honor of him and his album? Avatar The Articulate thought it was cool and decided to give it a shot.
“The Message” was produced by Avatar himself, and if the song moves you, he’s honoring the entire album and calling it It Was Bitten. Are Nas fans going to go nuts over this guy, or just metaphorically nut? Maybe a bit of both, but Avatar is doing this not to 1-up, but merely to shine the line on what was and still is great, but with a perspective that doesn’t latch on exclusively on the 1994 album. Avatar might set a trend for a lot of others to honor Nasir, but we’ll see how that goes.
What Dynas did with this single is get a classic Dilla beat, have DJ Jazzy Jeff produce a track, and called it a day. Oh, but what a GOOD day this is.
“The Apartment” is the Dilla track and it makes one wish that Dilla’s influence was bigger than it is, but then a lot of songs and instrumentals would be watered down with people hearing sounds and samples one way, but not doing it quite right. “The Apartment” is a feel-right song.
“It’s My Turn” feels like the 90’s over again, with a horn-ridden sample and a drum machine layered over it, with heightened hi-hats and a deep bass that makes you want to dance, do a bit of jazz hands, and makes you feel and question why you feel so high. This is a high single, and I wish all hip-hop these days sounded like this. Fuck it, their loss.