Nas Tributes Ex-Wife Kelis, Daughter On Life Is Good Album

On Monday night, Nas celebrated the release of his 10th album Life is Good, with an intimate dinner in New York. It was a celebratory evening, and the magnitude of the moment wasn’t lost on the Queensbridge rapper.

“I came from saying, ‘Life’s a bitch and then you die’ to Life Is Good, so it’s a whole journey that you go through to understand why I’m feeling this way,” God’s Son explained to MTV News while he walked the carpet before enjoying a dinner with some of his closest friends and industry comrades like Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, producer No I.D., Hot 97 radio veteran Angie Martinez and Q-Tip, who DJ’d a portion of the evening.

On Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic, his outlook on the future was pretty dark, as he pointed out, referencing the lyric “Life’s a bitch.” These days, even with his tax troubles, parenting woes and divorce from R&B singer Kelis, Nas is much more upbeat and positive. “Nas always takes the time to reinvent himself,” said Hot 97 personality and news blogger Miss Info. “And I think that this time, he’s really opening his personal life in a way we haven’t seen before.”

Throughout his career, Esco has been notoriously private, but with Life Is Good, he opens up like never before, and with all its boom-bap-inspired production, the music is pretty damn good as well. On the No I.D.-produced “Daughters,” Nas grapples with the difficulties of raising a teenage girl and even criticizes himself for, at times, not being the greatest role model. Still, the LP’s most gut-wrenching moment comes on “Bye Baby,” on which he directly addresses Kelis over a sampling of Guy’s 1988 R&B breakup track “Goodbye Love.”

“The record is dedicated to Kelis, my ex-wife; it’s also dedicated to my daughter Destiny,” Nas said. “It’s also dedicated to all the people that like the ’90s sound or really love hip-hop. So this one is from the heart.”

“A lot of people probably want him to do his first album a hundred times over and over, but in order to take things to the next level, you gotta accept growth, you gotta accept experience, and I think he accepted all those different things,” Swizz Beatz said. “Especially dealing with a lot of trials and tribulations around the making of this album and his personal life. For him to embrace that and embrace who he is as a person is amazing.”