I Can (Nas song)

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"I Can"
Nasican.jpg
Single by Nas
from the album God's Son
Released February 11, 2003
Format CD single
Recorded 2002
Genre Conscious hip hop
Length 4:13
Label Ill Will, Columbia
Songwriter(s) Nasir Jones, Salaam Remi
Producer(s) Salaam Remi
Nas singles chronology
"Made You Look"
(2002)
"I Can"
(2003)
"Get Down"
(2003)

"Made You Look"
(2002)
"I Can"
(2003)
"Get Down"
(2003)

"I Can" is the second single from the Nas album, God's Son. It was released internationally February 11, 2003. Unlike most of the album, this does not have the Parental Advisory (or Explicit and other labeling on digital stores) label on the song, as it is aimed at children.

Composition[edit]

Boasting production from Salaam Remi, the song samples Ludwig van Beethoven's "Für Elise" and the Honey Drippers' "Impeach the President".[1]

The lyrics are positive encouraging kids to stay drug-free and to pursue their dreams, pointing to examples of powerful icons in the African-American community like Oprah Winfrey. Conversely, Nas raps about a friend who was moving up in the music scene, only to fall victim to a debilitating drug addiction that took her career and her looks.

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Chris Robinson, was shot in Philadelphia, and contains footage of Nas rapping while children stand around him. The video starts out with the music from the introduction of "Get Down," but it soon transitions into "I Can." As the video starts, a young girl plays Beethoven on a piano in a vacant lot. Later in the video, children are jumping on a mattress in the same lot. The video also contains footage of break dancing and famous Egyptian structures.

Reception[edit]

The single received positive reviews. Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone magazine labels "I Can" as "a silly stay-in-school ad attached to a Beethoven sample."[2] This comment may be attributed to the "singsongy" call and response chorus featuring the voices of young children.[3] Other reviewers appreciated "I Can" more: Jon Robinson of IGN.com claims that on his second single, "Nas delivers some of his most inspiring lyrics to date."[4]

"I Can" charted in 2003 at #12 in Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, #6 on the Hot Rap Tracks and #58 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2003.[5] This is Nas's highest charting single as a lead artist to date.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "I Can" (Clean Version) (4:13)
  2. "I Can" (Instrumental) (4:14)
  3. "I Can" (Acappella) (4:03)

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2002-03) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[6] 72
Germany Official German Charts[7] 53
Netherlands Single Top 100[8] 46
Switzerland Schweizer Hitparade[9] 43
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 12
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 7
US Billboard Hot Rap Tracks 6
UK Singles Chart[11] 19

References[edit]

  1. ^ SamplesDB - Nas's Tracks
  2. ^ Hoard, Christian. Review: God's Son. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2012-02-14.
  3. ^ Kim, Serena. "Review: God's Son". Vibe: 135–136. February 2003.
  4. ^ Robinson, Jon. "God's Son review at IGN". Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved February 3, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Nas' Billboard singles chart positions at Allmusic". Retrieved January 17, 2007. 
  6. ^ Hung, Steffen. "lescharts.com - Nasir Jones - I Can". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2018-07-25. 
  7. ^ GmbH, musicline.de / PhonoNet. "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche - musicline.de". musicline.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-25. 
  8. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Nasir Jones - I Can". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2018-07-25. 
  9. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Nasir Jones - I Can - swisscharts.com". www.swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2018-07-25. 
  10. ^ "Nas Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-07-25. 
  11. ^ "NAS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018-07-25. 

External links[edit]