** Nas, "illmatic," Columbia. In an obvious attempt to wrestle hip-hop away from the West, East Coast critics have been gushing over Long Island's Nas as if he were rap's second coming. Don't believe the hype. While "The World Is Yours" is one of the year's smartest, silkiest numbers and his delivery is equally smooth, too much of the album is mired with tired attitudes and posturing.
New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).