According to recent certification by the RIAA, Street's Disciple has gone platinum. This means now that all of Nas' solo studio albums have reached that mark. What it also points out is that one million people, at one time or another, purchased Nastradamus. Yes, that same Nastradamus that bore a black hole into Nas' Achilles heel and made it seem for a second like legitimacy was gone for good. Subsequently, popular wisdom says that it wasn't until Jay-Z and Kanye and Jim Morrison all hooked up together that Nas snapped back to reality. However, if a million people had chosen instead to focus their attention and finances towards something other than nursery rhyme-led first singles, QB's Finest would have relaxed all worries 365 days before a moment named Ether.
Released approximately a year after Nastradamus and a year before Stillmatic, QB's Finest, one of the few records from the Ill Will imprint, was to present a compilation of Queensbridge legends. So, naturally, Nas, MC Shan, Marley Marl, Cormega, Nature, Tragedy, and Mobb Deep all showed up. And that was just the first song. However, most of the rest of the album then read like who's-who list of rappers who wouldn't get play outside a 5-block radius of Vernon Blvd. In fact, QB's Finest ended up mirroring the own story of many of the project resident rappers: there was a lot of talent to make an impact, but dissention and distractions ultimately corrupted potential. A look alone at the career number of weed carriers people like Nas and Mobb Deep had with them, and it makes you wonder just why two of QB's biggest names had to run to other dudes to get play within the past year.
However, when the QB'S Finest album was on point, great music was made. And that's precisely what Self Conscience is. Over a straightforward drum beat and a vocal sample best described as haunting, Prodigy trades verses back and forth, in a sobering flow, against his own state of mind. Nas then comes in, battling his self over years of regrets and the trust burned by a number of the usual trappings. In the end, both P and Nas determine that the crew can't absorb pain through osmosis and that the gun smoke and weed smoke only cloud the essence that was there in the first place:
I fuck until there's no feeling where I bust and I peeNas, Prodigy: Self Conscience
I lusted cars, but I suffered and my scars run deep
I stay to myself one deep, pray to my God 'cause he
Say when it's hard, get on one knee--and ask thy for forgiveness