Nas appears on the cover of his 10th LP holding the wedding dress of ex-wife Kelis. But this is no Drake-style sob story. It's just that nowadays, he cuts his rhymes with midlife realism and daring empathy ("Could you imagine writing your deposition/Divorce lawyer telling how this going to be ending," he raps on "Bye Baby"). Nas discourses on parenting ("Daughters") and senseless violence ("Accidental Murderers," with Rick Ross), and shreds any doubts about his MC prowess ("The Don") over crisp, Nineties-tinged beats. Using a leftover Amy Winehouse vocal on "Cherry Wine" was an attention-grabbing move he didn't need: His words alone keep us glued.
Listen to "Daughters":
• Photos: Random Notes