• Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Jul 17, 2012

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
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  1. Jul 16, 2012
    If the game needed Illmatic, this is the one Nas needed to get out of his system, acting as a clearing house for all venom and bile, plus some gloss that doesn't fit but needed to go as well.
  2. Jul 17, 2012
    The man is just on fire throughout the album.
  3. Jul 20, 2012
    You can't recapture lightning in a bottle, or age backwards, but you can settle gracefully into strengths. Nas isn't back; he's just here.
  4. Jul 17, 2012
    [Nas] shreds any doubts about his MC prowess.
  5. Jul 24, 2012
    To pretend that Life is Good is flawless would be misleading, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable return to form.
  6. Jul 31, 2012
    Despite a couple of missteps (particularly "Summer on Smash" and "You Wouldn't Understand"), Life Is Good stands as Nas' best album in years, and one of the best hip-hop releases of 2012.
  7. 80
    Nas doing exactly what he does best.
  8. Jul 24, 2012
    Life Is Good leaves Nas in his comfort zone, where the vital music of his youth proves a rousing platform for commenting on matters of middle age.
  9. 80
    This is Nas' strongest album in 18 years and three months--yes, since his debut album Illmatic.
  10. 67
    Too many tracks here recount his salad days in the era "before Air Jordans."
  11. Jul 18, 2012
    Life is Good is a well-crafted entry from a seasoned veteran that displays his vitality and vintage flow 20-plus years into his career in a genre where many MCs don't age gracefully.
  12. Jul 19, 2012
    It's a solid album anchored by The Don, his best single since 2003's Made You Look and so raucous it belongs in raves and on runways.
  13. Jul 18, 2012
    What makes Life Is Good stand out is what also made his celebrated debut, Illmatic, so compelling. There's a sense of narrative unity here, a wide-angle look of the artist as a grown man.
  14. Aug 24, 2012
    An album of incredible songs.
  15. Jul 17, 2012
    At times, Life is Good is Nas' most satisfying album since God's Son, and at times it is just as flawed as its predecessors.
  16. Jul 18, 2012
    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.
  17. Jul 16, 2012
    Here, he exorcises the turmoil with a focused set of sustained brilliance.
  18. Jul 16, 2012
    Maturity suits the ever-articulate rapper, and his recollections of his early years as a Queensbridge hustler... have added resonance here.
  19. Aug 3, 2012
    While his lyrics may not make complete sense and can be hypocritical at times, Nas is on top of his game with Life Is Good.
  20. 88
    On Life Is Good, he's lyrically and musically rich as he's been for years now.
  21. Life is Good the most exciting Nas album to come around since It Was Written.
  22. [Life is Good] proves once again that Nas is one of the smartest and most skilled players in the game.
  23. Jul 17, 2012
    Apart from these misgivings [middle-core sequencing issues and "Nasty" not making the grade], it must be said that Nas has truly delivered.
  24. Jul 20, 2012
    The complete package displays an obvious maturation from the veteran that is effectively in tune with a focus many have considered missing for some time.
  25. Jul 23, 2012
    The self-awareness of this conflict makes Life Is Good a more compelling listen than Nas has delivered in a while.
  26. Jul 19, 2012
    Life Is Good is arguably Nas's best album since Stillmatic.
  27. Jul 18, 2012
    On his new album, Life Is Good, we're hearing the most locked-in Nas has been in years, and the results are awe-inspiring.
  28. The Source
    Aug 22, 2012
    Nas once again reminds us that as long as he's got one mic, lifee--and hip-hop--are beyond good. [#254, p.87]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 159 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 159
  1. Jul 17, 2012
    Lyrically one of the best rap albums in YEARS!!!
    Nas never left so it's crazy to say "HE'S BACK!". Just listen to this musically beautiful
    Lyrically one of the best rap albums in YEARS!!!
    Nas never left so it's crazy to say "HE'S BACK!". Just listen to this musically beautiful and lyrically intelectual album. Old rap fans will be pleased just as new ones.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 17, 2012
    Here's a secret about Life Is Good: It is the BEST RAP ALBUM OF THE DECADE THUS FAR.

    Before you even read this review, know this:
    Here's a secret about Life Is Good: It is the BEST RAP ALBUM OF THE DECADE THUS FAR.

    Before you even read this review, know this: Professional reviews for rap albums are almost meaningless. Pitchfork gave My Beautiful Dark and Twisted Fantasy a perfect 10. That album has a 94 rating on Metacritic, while this album is floating in the low 70s. This album is BETTER. Nas has once again perfected the art of song writing in Hip Hop. His flows and lyrics land over the beats effortlessly, and he has something on this album he did not have on his last effort Untitled: AMAZING PRODUCTION.

    When you hear people criticize a Nas album, it's always for one reason: his production. This time around, however, Nas paid close attention to the streets, and Salaam Remi did not disappoint on his end of the music. In addition to long time collaboration with Salaam Remi, Nas also enlisted No ID, Kanye West's mentor, to bless the album with the smooth, laid back ferocity that he laced Common's The Finder/ The Believer album. Justice League gives Nas another great introduction track (Nas has not had a less than stellar intro since The Prophecy on Nastradamus). And of course by now you have surely had the perfectly executed track The Don, which was produced by the late hip hop legend Heavy D with some great after-touching by Da Internz. And for the old school fans still stuck in the 90s, Nas gave them something extra special: not one, but TWO songs featuring The Large Professor. One listen to the track Loco-Motive will have fans wondering if this track is an updated cut from Illmatic. The production on this album is even better than amazing instrumentation used on Nas and Damien Marley's 2010 collaboration album Distant Relatives.

    So happens now that Nas has good beats? Well, with this one flaw corrected, this album is nearly flawless. Nas spits some of the craziest rhymes in years, and does it with a variety of style and grace. The story telling on A Queens Story paints a picture of early 1990s Queensbridge so vivid that eyes need not be closed to envision Nas' words come to life upon entering the listener's ears. The alliterations and metaphors used on World's An Addiction cannot be matched by any other rapper in hip hop, other than maybe Jay Z on his A-game. Cherry Wine is one of the standout tracks on the album, as Salaam Remi produces a smooth classical ballad on which Nas shows his maturity as a man and the late Amy Winehouse sings a soulful and infectious chorus that really leaves one wishing she had lived longer to make more beautiful music.

    In a 14 track album full of great material, if there is one track that deserves its own special praise and the status of CLASSIC, it must be track number 5, Daughters. Here Nas provides Hip Hop with the first single ever dedicated to the struggle of a single man raising his daughter. Pac had Dear Mama for mothers, Will Smith had Just the Two of Us for sons, and Nas had already made two songs dedicated to his father with Poppa Was a Playa off of The Lost Tapes compilation album and Bridging the Gap from Nas' 2004 Street's Disciple double album. Nas now completes the family with Daughters as he weaves together an introspective tale about his performance as a father and the now-famous ordeal he faced when his daughter Destiny posted a picture of condoms on her dresser on Twitter. This track embodies everything Nas is idolized for: brutal honesty upon reflection, great wordplay, amazing storytelling, and conceptual songs few in hip hop would dare to even attempt to craft. If there is a flaw to be found on the album, it is with Nas' attempt at commercial appeal with the sure-to-be radio single Summer on Smash. Swizz Beats provides a typical Swizz Beats track and Nas flows well over the beat, but the rhymes are nothing special. While this is expected of a radio hit, the problem is not with Nas or Swizz, but rather the feature of young RnB singer Miguel, who raps a lazy verse and then proceeds to sing a decent bridge. Miguel just seems out of place on the song, but I'm sure Def Jam thought this feature would guarantee some more spins on the radio, hence one can't be too mad at Nas- radio play has been something he has not had since 2002's God's Son album. Aside from the small misstep on Summer on Smash, Life is Good is nearly perfect. It will most likely go down as yet ANOTHER classic from Nasty Nas, who is increasingly harvesting the greatest discography in Hip Hop history. This masterpiece has almost everything that one could ask for from a hip hop album musically. The great production, seamlessly masterful lyrics, and ever intriguing topical matter makes for an album that will be replayed for decades to come. When one looks back at Nasir Jones' career, Life Is Good will undoubtedly be placed on the top shelf beside Illmatic, It Was Written, Stillmatic, God's Son, and Hip Hop is Dead. Escobar Season has returned, and Nasty Nas will be here forever.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 5, 2012
    Without a doubt Life Is Good is The Best Hip Hop Album of 2012 (trailing alongside Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city). The standardWithout a doubt Life Is Good is The Best Hip Hop Album of 2012 (trailing alongside Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city). The standard edition of 14 tracks are so soulful and diverse, while the extra 4 tracks are definitely worth the extra purchase - which includes one of the best rap songs of 2011, "Nasty".

    Illmatic will never repeat itself - that phase is long gone. Because this album is so recent it won't be stated as a classic but compared to nearly every other rap album coming out recently it is by far an astonishingly great record. Each beat is on point, lyrics are on point and the features give themselves justice. There are no songs to skip for me, I can listen to "Summer On Smash" even though it ain't the best song on the album.

    For me the top 3 best tracks are Loco-Motive, Accident Murderers and World's An Addiction. But every track is outstanding. There is truly nothing negative to say about this album.
    Full Review »