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Nas & Hit-Boy’s “King’s Disease” Trilogy Albums, Ranked

Nas and Hit-Boy recently concluded their King’s Disease and Magic series with the release of Magic 3. What started as a single collaborative album became two different trilogies of music, released over three years with a grand total of six albums. After an unprecedented string of quality releases, Nas and Hit-Boy became the ultimate rapper-producer pairing that fans did not know they needed. With each album, the two brought the best out of each other. While Nas and Hit-Boy officially ended their series of collaborative works, for now, it is time to highlight their epic run by ranking their albums. Today, we are ranking the King’s Disease trilogy from least to greatest. Take a look at the list below.

3. King’s Disease (2020)

It all started in 2020 when Nas released his twelfth studio album and first project to be entirely produced by Hit-Boy. Looking back, King’s Disease has many great qualities. While Nas had previously made mature and introspective albums with Life is Good and Nasir, King’s Disease felt like a new beginning for the hip hop icon. The album’s production was new for Nas, but also honed in on his strengths. He embraced the current sounds of hip hop while sticking to his signature style. 

Compared to the other King’s Disease albums, the first installment is notably calmer with somber production. However, it does have its unpredictable moments like the uplifting “Ultra Black,” the street banger “Spicy,” and the song for the ladies in “Replace Me.” There is even a Firm reunion on “Full Circle.” The first King’s Disease marked an evolution of Nas’s sound with the help of Hit-Boy’s production and his collaborations with younger artists. Still, the pair had yet to unlock the full potential of their working relationship.

2. King’s Disease III (2022)

Nas and Hit-Boy could not have ended the King’s Disease trilogy on a better note. The series’s third and final installment did not include any guest features and consisted of very minimal co-production. The featureless tracklist attests to the duo’s ability to make quality music without relying on others. The chemistry between the two on King’s Disease III is undoubtedly the tightest it had ever been on any of their albums. 

Nas likens his and Hit-Boy’s collaborative relationship to that of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones on album highlight “Michael & Quincy,” which features one of the most jaw-dropping beat switches of their six-album run. He also sharpens his ability to not only personify objects but also concepts in the song “Beef.” The album features some of Hit-Boy’s most inventive productions, such as the Five Heartbeats-sampling “Legit” and the groovy “Hood2Hood.” He even flips an EDM song into a New York anthem for “Til My Last Breath.” King’s Disease III features some of Nas and Hit-Boy’s best collaborative moments and is a very close second to its predecessor. It was an epic closer to a trilogy, reaffirming that Nas and Hit-Boy were on fire.

1. King’s Disease II (2021)

Following their first collaborative album in 2020, Nas and Hit-Boy struck gold with King’s Disease II the following year. Its tracklist is the most varied out of the trilogy, with layered production that captured the essence of vintage and current Nas. The album was built upon the strengths of the first King’s Disease. The sequel also took more artistic risks that ended up paying off. Nas’s hooks and overall songwriting on King’s Disease II stand out as the best among the trilogy. 

It is impressive that on his thirteenth studio album, Nas was still trying new flows and pushing the boundaries of his sound with different productions. Songs like “40 Side” and “YKTV” saw him exploring new musical territory, not to mention “The Pressure,” which is arguably the best opening track from their entire run. Nas’s songs of reflection like “Moments” and “Store Run” are lyrical highlights. King’s Disease II also boasts many of the best features out of the trilogy with commendable verses from Eminem and Lauryn Hill. While Hit-Boy provided both classic soulful beats and modern upbeat instrumentation, he shined as a rapper on “Composure.” Overall, King’s Disease II stands tall at the top of the trilogy between Nas and Hit-Boy, displaying that they were in rare form during their historic run.

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