In 1996, Nas released the catchy single, “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” featuring Lauryn Hill. In 2021, you are still likely to hear a DJ drop the song so that the party crowd can belt out the hook into the air with nostalgic smiles on their faces.
Following the album release, Lauryn quickly began trending on Twitter, especially due to her lyrics. Yes, she directly addresses the critiques and jokes regarding her penchant for lateness, quipping, “My awareness like Keanu in The Matrix / I’m saving souls and y’all complaining about my lateness.”
It’s way too Friday to be overthinking and assessing this sort of thing, but I couldn’t help but notice that the song duration just so happens to be four minutes and forty-four seconds. Yes, 4:44. Jay-Z is the reason why seeing those numbers displayed won’t be “normal” ever again.
Vulture provides more scoop about the new album and the significance of Lauryn’s appearance:
Ms. Hill’s collaboration with Nas is one of her few recent musical outings, including recording a studio version of “Guarding the Gates” for the Queen & Slim soundtrack. The first single off King’s Disease II is “Rare,” which according to Pitchfork has a music video directed by Savannah Setten. The video for “Rare” sees Nas go back-and-forth between video and still photography, color, and black-and-white. Setten also directed a video for Baby Keem. Last year’s King’s Disease won Best Rap Album, beating D Smoke, Freddie Gibbs & the Alchemist, Jay Electronica, and Royce Da 5’9”. It was the rapper’s 14th nomination and first win. By the way, the traditional King’s Disease is gout.
Along with Lauryn, the new album also features notable artists such as Eminem, Charlie Wilson and YG.
By the way, I have to mention this out loud—but searching for Getty Images of Nas is much more difficult now that Lil Nas X exists (which is hilarious, given the inspiration behind his stage name—basically it was a play off of the many modern rappers with “Lil” in their name and he decided to go with the OG rapper’s moniker).