Nas surveys the rise of a deadly drug on “Angel Dust,” his new song from Season Two of Netflix drama The Get Down. Over soulful backing vocals and simmering, low-key funk bass sampled from Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson’s 1978 LP, Secrets, the rapper condemns the “destructive, plus addictive” substance: “Angels with dirty faces/ Angels with broken wings/ The devil’s dust, PCP, invaded bloodstreams.”
On “Angel Dust,” Nas testifies about hip-hop conquering a potential life of drug-dealing: “The sidewalk was my brother’s office/ We cut our losses, I had choices/ I took a pen, became a voice for the voiceless/ My people walking in a zombie state/ Life is short, even mine’s at stake,” he raps, followed by samples of late Seventies news reports on the drug.
The Get Down Part 2 premiered last week on Netflix. Nas executive-produces the Baz Luhrmann-created musical-drama, which follows a group of teenagers as disco and rap flourish in late Seventies South Bronx. The hip-hop icon also “narrates” the show as the adult rap voice of protagonist Ezekiel “Zeke” Figuero.
“Even if I don’t look cool in it, I just want it to be real and raw,” he said. “I didn’t see this as a full autobiography at first. But I have so much that’s happened in my life already, there was no room for fantasy. I wanted it to be entertaining, but everything from my life seemed to be so strong. It’s all reality. There’s nothing from my life I didn’t want in there.”
While Nas hasn’t officially announced his 11th studio album, he revealed that the LP was finished on DJ Khaled’s literally titled 2016 track “Nas Album Done.”