Song of the Day #1,881: ‘If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)’ – Nas

nas_it_was_writtenNas’s sophomore album, It Was Written, is described by Wikipedia as more “polished” and “mainstream” than its predecessor.

Those might sound like bad words to most indie or rap music fans, but I see it as a sign of hope. Polish is exactly what the first two songs I featured this week were lacking.

Today’s track is a duet with Lauryn Hill, another fact that has me excited. The song was recorded in 1994, when Hill was starting out with The Fugees, three years before her acclaimed Miseducation.

This song is a little more interesting, lyrically, than the previous two. We’re still on the streets but now he’s imagining a different sort of world — one without The Man’s boot on his neck.

I like that he would turn women into his sex slaves, but he’s aware that it’s not the most savory thought: “It sounds foul but every girl I meet’d go downtown.”

I’m very curious to hear the mainstream polish on this track, as well as Hill’s contribution. Here goes.

OK, that’s more like it. Amazing what a little polish can do! This song has a much better flow and beat than the others, and a catchy chorus to boot. And it features the best rapping I’ve heard from Nas so far.

[Intro: Nas]
Life, I wonder
Will it take me under?
I don’t know

[Verse 1: Nas]
Imagine smoking weed in the streets without cops harassin
Imagine going to court with no trial
Lifestyle cruising blue Bahama waters
No welfare supporters more conscious of the way we raise our daughters
Days are shorter, nights are colder
Feeling like life is over, these snakes strike like a cobra
The world’s hot my son got knocked, evidently
It’s elementary, they want us all gone eventually
Trooping out of state for a plate of knowledge
If coke was cooked without the garbage we’d all have the top dollars
Imagine everybody flashing, fashion
Designer clothes, lacing your clique up with diamond Roles
Your people holding dough, no parole
No rubbers, go in raw imagine law with no undercovers
Just some thoughts for the mind
I take a glimpse into time
Watch the blimp read “The World Is Mine”

[Hook: Lauryn Hill (Nas)]
If I ruled the world (Imagine that)
I’d free all my sons, I love em love em baby
Black diamonds and pearls (Could it be, if you could
Be mine, we’d both shine)
If I ruled the world (Still living for today, in
These last days and times)

[Verse 2: Nas]
The way to be, paradise like relaxing black, Latino and Anglo-Saxon
Armani exchange the reins
Cash, Lost Tribe of Shabazz, free at last
Brand new whips to crash then we laugh in the iller path
The Villa house is for the crew, how we do
Trees for breakfast, dime sexes and Benz stretches
So many years of depression make me vision
The better living, type of place to raise kids in
Open they eyes to the lies history’s told foul
But I’m as wise as the old owl, plus the Gold Child
Seeing things like I was controlling, click rollin
Tricking 6 digits on kicks and still holdin
Trips to Paris, I civilized every savage
Gimme one shot I turn trife life to lavish
Political prisoner set free, stress free
No work release purple M3’s and jet skis
Feel the wind breeze in West Indies
I make Coretta Scott-King mayor the cities and reverse fiends to Willies
It sounds foul but every girl I meet’d go downtown
I’d open every cell in Attica send em to Africa


And then we’ll walk right up to the sun
Hand in hand
We’ll walk right up to the sun
We won’t land

[Verse 3: Nas]
You’d love to hear the story how the thugs live in worry
Duck down in car seats, heat’s mandatory
Running from Jake, getting chased, hunger for papes
These are the breaks many mistakes go down out of state
Wait, I had to let it marinate we carry weight
Trying to get laced, flip the ace stack the safe
Millionaire plan to keep the gat with the cocked hammer
Making moves in Atlanta, back-and-forth scrambler
Cause you could have all the chips, be poor or rich
Still nobody want a nigga having shit
If I ruled the world and everything in it, sky’s the limit
I push a Q-45 Infiniti
It wouldn’t be no such thing as jealousies or B Felonies
Strictly living longevity to the destiny
I thought I’d never see but reality struck
Better find out before your time’s out, what the fuck?



One thought on “Song of the Day #1,881: ‘If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)’ – Nas

  1. Dana says:

    This song absolutely benefits from Hill’s contribution and a catchy chorus. I still find Nas’ vocals to be rather bland and forgettable though.

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