Nas’ “No Bad Energy” Lyrics Meaning
The theme the song “No Bad Energy” is based on is Nas staving off “bad energy”. That is to say in the chorus he is imploring others not to do anything which could disturb the peace. And the beginning of the first verse gives us an idea of what he perceives as bad energy, with Nas alluding to those who have negatively criticized him in the past.
But the majority of the track is not focused on bad vibes per se. Rather the first verse, in its entirety, is centered on the rapper boasting his own status. He does this not only by referring to himself directly but also his brother, “Jungle”, whom he helped secure a record deal back in the day. Indeed one of the tracks they dropped together, “Oochie Wally” (2001), was a hit which (according to this song) “sold a million records”. Nas also gives a shoutout to his dad, Olu Dara, who is also a professional musician. However, he does not namedrop him specifically but rather refers to his “Dad.. rolling hotels like The Plaza”, which is a reference to his father’s former touring-entertainer lifestyle.
At the beginning of the second verse, Nas calls out rappers who come off like gangsters but have never actually lived that life. He also states that when these individuals behave in such a way, they are perhaps pretending to be him rather than themselves. And as proof, he goes on to tout just how rugged his lifestyle truly is, including rolling with some wild and dangerous “cliques”. He then concludes the verse by once again bigging himself up in general and stating that he “still miss(es) Big Poppa”, aka Notorious B.I.G., a fellow 1990’s rapper who was slain decades ago.
So we can say that Nas bragging about his accomplishments in varying capacities is part of his effort to once again deter “bad energy”. In other words, his goal seems to be repelling haters by reminding them of just how influential and successful he has been in the rap game.
Facts about “No Bad Energy”
Def Jam Recordings alongside Mass Appeal released “No Bad Energy” as part of Nas’s album The Lost Tapes 2 on 19 July 2019.
The Lost Tapes 2 is actually a collection of songs Nas recorded for previous albums but never released. Thus this particular track is believed to have been recorded by Nas and one its producers, Swizz Beatz, back in 2016.
Moreover “No Bad Energy” is the first song on the playlist of the album, as Nas considers it the “perfect joint to burn the sage”, as in ward off negativity before listening to the rest of the project.
Besides Swizz Beats the other producer of this track is AraabMuzik. And the two of them, along with Nas, also wrote “No Bad Energy”.