CD Review | HIP-HOP

Nas, ‘Life Is Good’

Some of Nas’s past work went off the rails when it became more about ego than hip-hop. His new disc, “Life Is Good,” finds him humbled and reflective after his high-profile divorce from Kelis. This doesn’t diminish his impact, as these songs mix anger, nostalgia, and insight. The poignant “Bye Baby” recounts his days with Kelis, and it’s filled with conflicting feelings, including deep love. “Back When” and “The Don” evoke the sound and feel of New York’s ’90s hip-hop heyday. The MC uses his keen narrative skills on “Accidental Murderers” and “Stay.’’ “Daughters” is an emotionally complex paean to raising a girl as he struggles to let her find her way. Of the many guests, the late Amy Winehouse makes the biggest impression on “Cherry Wine,” a jazzy centerpiece. The producers, including Salaam Remi and NO I.D., smartly mix live instrumentation with creative samples. Nas declares life is good throughout, but that realization obviously did not come easily. (Out Tuesday)

Ken Capobianco

ESSENTIAL “Cherry Wine”