NAS with GHETTO CONCEPT at Kool Haus (1 Jarvis), Friday (March 1). $34.50. 416-870-8000.
Lost in all the battle hysteria of the King of New York war between Nas and Jay-Z was the shocking fact that Nas is back.
Admittedly, the battle between the two multi-millionaire pop stars was the best thing to come out of mainstream hiphop in years, but as good as Jay-Z's rips into Nas were, the real story was the quality of the Queensbridge MC's comebacks.
Not coincidentally, the title of Nas's 2001 disc, Stillmatic, is a direct reference to his still-classic 1994 debut, Illmatic. After a string of embarrassing flops, increasingly absurd diamond necklaces and dodgy aliases like Nas Escobar, the supremely lyrical MC who once kicked the line "Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian/Half man, half amazing" was struggling to explain how he fell so completely off the map.
Perhaps spurred on by the slapdown on Jay-Z's Takeover dis, Stillmatic is vintage Nas -- superior beats and intelligent rhymes. Jay-Z is picked apart on the thundering Ether, while the track One Mic is as close to a mission statement as hiphop can get.
It's hardly another classic, but it is a step in the right direction. Write him off at your peril.