Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.


Street's Disciple (Columbia)

Now that Jay-Z is retired (albeit in theory only), who's his greatest rival trying to impress with this double-disc extravaganza? Maybe no one but himself: By turns confused, fascinating, frustrating, and brilliant, Street's Disciple justifies its bloat apparently because Nas needed this much room to work out its musings on race, hip-hop's roots, family, and marriage.

Whether or not you agree with his conclusions -- Nas's insistence on "authentic" blackness, which infects "American Way" and the snide "Coon Picnic (These Are Our Heroes)," is indefensible -- the use of his lyrical gifts on themes bigger than his own Queensbridge legend is rewarding.

Disc two contains the payoff. The dramatic one-two, old-school punch of "U.B.R." (an "unauthorized biography" of the great Rakim) and the beat-boxed boast "Virgo" pay as much homage as they rightfully demand. And though the bachelor-party nastiness of "Remember the Times" is an unfortunate but effective prelude, the suite of love songs that follows, pledging allegiance to fiancée Kelis and his daughter, is some of the most moving MC work on record.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • The Temptations and the Four Tops @ MGM Northfield Park

    • Sun., Nov. 28
  • Songs of the Polka King Release Party with Joey Miskulin & the KTB @ Beachland Ballroom

    • Sun., Nov. 28
  • Jokes on You @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Last Sunday of every month

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation