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

There is no better term to describe Nas and Hit-Boy’s working relationship than “magic.” Ever since the two released their first collaborative album in 2020, their six-album run within the past three years has been nothing short of epic. With each quality King’s Disease and Magic release, Nas and Hit-Boy strengthened their chemistry and proved to be the rapper-producer pairing that fans did not know they needed.

The two recently concluded their second trilogy of albums with the release of both Magic 2 and Magic 3 this year. Further, we celebrated their first trilogy with a ranking of the King’s Disease albums, but now it is time to spotlight the Magic series. Ranked from least to greatest, look at our hierarchy of Nas and Hit-Boy’s Magic trilogy below.

3. Magic 2 (2023)

The sequel to 2021’s Magic arrived back in June, following the release of King’s Disease III last year. While it is an admirable sequel, Magic 2 sits at the bottom of the series. It is a quality release on its own merit, but it is far from the strongest work that Nas and Hit-Boy have made together. The album certainly continued to accentuate the duo’s chemistry, but it does not stack up to the others in the trilogy. Nas’s rapping and Hit-Boy’s production on Magic 2 make for an enjoyable listen, but it features the weakest production compared to the other Magic and King’s Disease albums. 

The choppy “Abracadabra” and the menacing “Motion” may not feature Hit-Boy’s best, but Nas still shines as a lyricist. Magic 2 includes several highlights, including “Bokeem Woodbine,” “Earvin Magic Johnson,” and “Pistols On Your Album Cover.” The celebratory “One Mic, One Gun” with 21 Savage served as yet another example of Nas and Hit-Boy’s ability to merge generations of hip hop seamlessly. Magic 2 has plenty of strong moments, but Nas and Hit-Boy set the bar so high with their previous works that they have had to keep up with themselves.

2. Magic 3 (2023)

Nas and Hit-Boy ended both the Magic trilogy and their six-album run on a perfect note with Magic 3. Released just months after its predecessor, the trilogy’s final installment strongly executes the consistent level of quality that the two have maintained. On the album, Nas celebrates his accomplishment of releasing six albums in three years with Hit-Boy. He basks in his longevity on songs like “I Love This Feeling” and “Speechless Pt. 2,” as well as proving that his storytelling is still on point with “Based On True Events, Pt. 2.” On “Never Die,” Lil Wayne delivers a brilliantly constructed verse that sticks to one consistent rhyme scheme. 

Hit-Boy’s production throughout the album is luscious and gritty, creating a perfect soundtrack to end the series. The song “1-800-Nas&Hit” serves as the closing credits to the Magic trilogy, creating a perfect send-off to their prolific string of albums. Released on Nas’s 50th birthday, Magic 3 may have marked an end to a trilogy, but it also felt like the rap legend was just getting started. 

1. Magic (2021)

Nas and Hit-Boy were in the zone when they released Magic. Arriving on December 24, 2021, just months after King’s Disease II, the album was a true holiday gift for fans. The nine-track opus felt like an extension of the masterpiece they had released earlier in the year. Hit-Boy’s production on Magic emphasized traditional loops in favor of its predecessor’s layered instrumentation. However, the album had the same polish of the King’s Disease sound he had already established. Hit-Boy’s approach to Magic allowed Nas to freely showcase his signature style after releasing a project full of new flows. 

Magic’s opening song, “Speechless,” sees Nas commanding a mesmerizing loop from Hit-Boy, rapping about his timeless winning streak. Album highlights like “Ugly” and “40-16 Building” serve as tales of old New York, while Nas and A$AP Rocky feel themselves on “Wave Gods.” Magic left minimal room with its concise tracklist, solidifying a new prime for Nas on an album that served as an appetizer to feed the buzz of King’s Disease III. Nas and Hit-Boy ultimately summed up their chemistry and consistent run of quality releases with the perfect word: magic.

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