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美好生活:Nas – Life Is Good

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9e1deb24760c7ced4d088dd4 Life Is Good 歌手:Nas 制作人:Al Shux, Boi-1da, Buckwild, Da Internz, DJ Hot Day, Heavy D, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Nas, No I.D., Noah “40” Shebib, Rodney Jerkins, Salaam Remi, Swizz Beatz 发行年:2012 厂牌:Def Jam Life Is Good   文/喻言   长久以来围绕Nas的一大争议就是他对beat的选择——大概自I AmUntitled,Nas的每张专辑似乎都要有那么两三首令人不尽满意的beat,或旋律单调、或鼓点疲软,于是Nas不会挑选beat的名声一直在坊间流传(Nas在专辑如God’s Son, Hip Hop Is

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Dead中的歌词表现都得到了评论界的褒扬,但beat的乏力无疑令专辑失分不少,这也导致不少制作人,例如9th Wonder, MF Doom,都热衷于对Nas专辑推出自己的Remix版本)。不过Life Is Good的制作却可以用”tight”来形容——整张专辑的beats连缀紧凑、风格多样,其中不乏硬到极点的”Loco-Motive”和”The Don”, 亦有音乐性很强的beat如”No Introduction”, “The Queens Story”。专辑中大部分的歌曲制作由Salaam Remi与No I.D.操刀,二人都是入行二十年的老手,前者为Nas的老搭档,后者是Common 90年代三张经典专辑的缔造者,近年与Nas在”Success”(与Jay-Z)和Untitled 中合作过。 经过上一张Distant Relatives与雷鬼混合的尝试后,Nas这次对No I.D.表示要让Life Is Good完全成为一张Hip-Hop专辑。而就专辑中呈现出的制作风格来说,以七八十年代Soul, Funk采样为基础的beat既有向经典致敬的怀旧意味,又不乏新时代的影子。”Stay”采样于Funk乐队L.A. Carnival的”Seven Steps to Nowhere”,一个22秒长的萨克斯loop循环创造出jazzy, laid-back的氛围;而经过对当代福音歌手Kirk Franklin的”Don’t Cry”的重新编排演奏,再加上精致的鼓点,J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League制作的”No Introduction”亦不失为一当下经典。更值得一提的是,几乎每个beat都创造出恰到好处的意境,与Nas的说唱相契合——如”A Queens Story”中激昂的管乐与钢琴(来自对肖邦的巧妙采样)给了Nas最黑暗的幕景去诉说哪些肮脏却又悲壮的街头故事;而温情的”Daughters”、愤怒的”Accident Murderers”、令人感伤的”Bye Baby”,无不是说唱与beat契合的完美典范。这多半要归功于Nas与制作人的合作方式——共同探讨歌曲概念,而不是“你给beat,我说唱,互收名利”的商业形式(——No I.D.采访所说)。总之,忘掉音乐之外的各种争议吧,这张专辑首先是一个专注于音乐的Nas的作品。   专辑的开场曲名为”No Introduction”,实可谓一个完美intro。在恢宏的伴奏的映衬下,Nas用铿锵有力的声音道出了这张专辑的主题——Nas自己的生活:从贫困、免不了干脏活的街头走向奔驰宾利、左拥右抱的富裕。Nas将把自己的各种经历——险恶的街头生活、成名后的奢靡生活、女儿不当的行为、与前妻Kelis的问题,一一呈现在专辑之中。在这首歌里,他真诚地说道:Reveal my life, you will forgive meYou will love me, hate me, judge me, relate to me(回顾我的生活,你会原谅我,喜欢我,厌恶我,判断我,提及我)。这也同时奠定了整张专辑反思性质的诚实口吻。所以在这张专辑里,你将看到一个成熟、真实、情感充沛的Nas,一个开始提起从未提过的往事的Nas (“A Queens Story”),一个甚至承认自己出轨的Nas (“No Introduction”),当然也是一个从不吝于自我吹嘘的Nas。在这首歌的最后,Nasir Jones敞开心扉,笑对一切是是非非:The craziest things already happened to me/So either you’ll be laughing at me or you’re laughing with me”(世上最疯狂的事情已经发生在我身上了,所以你们若不取笑我,就跟我一起大笑吧)。     “A Queens Story”无疑是整张专辑最有电影感的歌曲,Nas用真实的笔调描绘了残酷的街头生活——麻布袋里的大麻、洗衣店里的毒品交易、死去的hood legends(街区的传奇)、现代换奔驰的“街头梦”……Nas再次恪守了他“keep it street”的信条,为走出街头中纷纷扰扰的兄弟举杯:Put your glass high if you made it out the stash spot/And here to tell a story and celebrate the glory”(如果你成功走出了藏毒点,请高举你的酒杯讲述你的故事,庆祝你的胜利)同时缅怀逝者:Drinks in the air for my niggas not here/This for the fallen soldiers”(这杯酒献给已逝的兄弟们)。其实说是”A Queens Story”, 哪里的黑人街区不如此?恶劣的生存环境导致年轻黑人卷入龌龊的毒品生意,把自己的生命置于悬崖之边。Nas虽靠着说唱闯出了一片天,可回首却难免不觉感慨: Now I’m the only black in the club with rich Yuppie kids / Sad thing, this is the top, but

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where the hustlers went 现在我是唯一一个能呆在雅皮士(中上阶层的年轻职业人士)云集的高级俱乐部里的黑人了。遗憾的是,这是(hustler能达到的)顶点,可街头的那些哥们呢?    

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专辑之中还有很多这类对脱胎于街头的成功的思考。“Reach Out”中:   Can see myself in presidential campaign dinners/But I’m passing blunts around a bunch of gang members/When you’re too hood to be in them Hollywood circles/And you’re too rich to be in that hood that birthed you 可以想象我自己在参加总统竞选晚餐的同时,也在把大麻交于一帮黑帮成员之手。当你的街头气息太浓以至于进不了好莱坞圈子时,你也因为太富裕而回不到养育你的街区了。   “No Introduction”中Nas也说Hood forever, I just act like I’m civilized”(我永远保持街头,我只是假装自己很文明)。可以看出,Nas对于hood有一种复杂的情感。首先hood是他成长的地方,寄托了Nas的记忆与“乡情”——在充满怀旧意味的”Back When”里,Nas深情回忆:How it all started, fifth floor apartment/A jigsaw puzzle aerial view of the projects”(一切开始的地方,在第五层公寓,还有鸟瞰住宅区的拼图游戏),可当他如今chill in resorts, enjoying massages”(在度假胜地爽,享受按摩)之时,与贫困的project总会有些疏离。但作为一个”street rapper”(街头说唱歌手)(——Rakim语),Nas一直致力于保持自己的street credibility(街头的名誉)——例如在”Nasty”的MV中,Nas既秀着自己的豪车,又与street people一一打招呼,显示自己与hood紧密相连。不过,Nas在热爱着给了他生命的hood的同时,却也厌恶其中的种种阴暗——比如”Accident Murderers”。   这首歌里,Nas抨击了那些误杀无辜者却以此为耀的人,You ain’t mean to murk him, your gun’s a virgin”(你不想杀他,你的枪还是处女)。最后Nas也表达了对一些冷血的年轻杀手的失望,把他们比作臭名昭著的杀手Wayne Perry,再次让人感受到街头的冷酷。值得一提的是作为专辑唯一一个客串MC的Rick Ross在这首歌里的表现——在仔细研究了他那段Verse后,我可以肯定地得出他的Verse与”Accident Murderers”的概念毫不相干的结论。吹嘘自己的放纵生活与给自己的专辑做广告在今天都不算什么,但是夹在Nas两段verse中间,生生把歌曲主题截断则无疑是一大败笔。   不过谁想这还不是最坏,当Swiss Beatz操着他那嘶哑的声音不断重复着”Summer On Smash…Summer On Smash… Baby girl, show’em that ass…”的时候,你就知道,Life Is Good里最大的污点出现了。这首歌浮躁的氛围让你没法去听Nas在里面说了什么,只给人无穷的动力去按下那该死的快进按钮。   “Loco-Motive”, “The Don”, 包括专辑的首支单曲”Nasty”,可以归结为一类歌曲——在一个强劲、“nasty”的beat上,Nas毫无顾忌地展示着自己的rhyme skill(说唱技巧)。Nas用紧凑的Flow、复杂的韵脚、丰富的比喻夸耀他的豪车、名酒、服饰、女人……总之,就是长久以来说唱歌词亘古不变的主题——Braggin’。这可能也是一些人觉得这张专辑还是老一套的原因——Nas在每张专辑里都有类似的自我吹捧:”Hero”, “Got Ur Self A Gun”等等……(但不可否认的是,Nas的Braggin’让人听着很愉悦,因为有足够的Flow功底在。至于现在的那些胡逼吹的主流rapper,应该先学学怎么说唱)。其实就是典型的Nas式歌曲,但上一次有这么带劲的beat,可能还要追溯到”Nas Is Like”?     Nas的歌词不是最能发人深省的,但Life Is Good中亦有思想的闪光点。在凝重的”World’s An Addiction”中Nas讲了3个迷失的故事——参与街头火并最终被捕、腰缠万贯玩女人玩到疲、与妻子离婚心如死灰,指出We all need faith cause the world keep changing/Let go of the illusion, start some restraining”(世界变化太快,我们都需要点信念。放下幻想吧,学会抑制自己)。在“Stay”里,Nas在第二段verse先提到了一种扭曲的爱憎交加的感情关系: I want you dead under six feet of soil/At the same time/Want you here to witness me while you in misery 想让你去死,也想让你在痛苦的时候看到我   之后Nas类比着作了关于Hatred——仇恨的探讨:   Some say hating is confused admiration 有人说厌恶是变相的爱慕 Maybe niggas could see too much of they failures through a nigga who realer 也许人们(haters)从一个更real的人(Nas)(的成功)看到了太多自己的失败 Nas厌恶haters在他的痛苦之上获取快感,但他也用一种狂傲的态度去回敬:Spotlight on meI still look twenty/Still get money, lady killer/Pushing a Bentley”(我是聚光灯的焦点,我看着还像二十岁,还在挣钱,玩女人,开宾利)。这与10多年前”Hate Me Now”里的不羁态度相近,但是Nas在”Stay”里冷静语气使他更显成熟洒脱。   两首关于个人生活的歌曲”Daughters”和”Bye Baby”引来的关注不小。Nas在”Daughters”里回溯了女儿的各种不当行为,责备自己不是最合格的父亲。这也是Nas对于父亲职责的再担当。在Nas自己解释Life Is Good这个概念的时候,他说:“现在我人生中最好的三件事,我的女儿,我的儿子,和我的音乐。”再联想到Nas在”Loco-Motive”中说的“finding peace”(找到宁静),这也就是为何这张专辑名叫Life Is Good了——一切都来自于Nas积极、成熟、平和的态度:尽管女儿正处叛逆期,这种态度使他缝补了与女儿的关系;尽管与Kelis有很多美好的回忆,这种态度让Nas洒脱地挥手告别:“Bye

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Bye Baby…”   从音乐性上来说,得益于高质量的Beat和Nas富于变化的flow,这张专辑的可听性与耐听性是很高的。无疑,第十张个人专辑,再次巩固了Nas在说唱届独一无二的地位。   评分:9.2

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