This album is #2 on my best albums list-- in the company of, "I Phantom" Mr. Lif; "Moment Of Truth" Gang Starr; "The Best Part" J-Live; "Illadelph Halflife" The Roots; "Lets Get Free" dead prez; "Disposable Arts" Masta Ace; "Soon Come..." Blue Black & Asheru of Unspoken Heard; "Fantastic Damage" El-P; "ATLiens" OutKast. Most of these albums are sleepers-- but I'm lettin' you know the time, so don't sleep!
When I first heard Nia (which is Swahili for "purpose", an appropriate title), there was no denying it being a classic. Chief Xcell's beats range from simple but live, "Do This My Way"; to having a life of their own, "Trouble (Eve of Destruction)". Upon close listening, one should pick up on clever sampling & sounds, an array of positive, introspective, social commentary, and straight up dope lyrics. Gift of Gab should have more shine than he has now, period! As a fellow lyricist, he gets mad props from me. If hip-hop ain't your thing, this might just be an exception to your collection-- it's good music, which is the most important issue. All in all, Nia is (for some) relaxed, but not boring; uplifting, but not preachy or gimmicky. It's more than worth the money, which in todays 'drowning' music industry, is a rare thing. With Nia, you get quality AND purpose!