Kanye West’s favourite rapper of all time
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Kanye West's favourite rapper of all time

Kanye West is arguably the most influential artist of the last 20 years, and his fingerprints are visible in every crevice of the music industry. His political and social stances may have made him a pariah, but his contribution to art is hard to argue with. However, there’s one rapper that he is forever indebted to and referred to as his favourite.

When he was in third grade, West started to take an interest in music, and by the point, he was in seventh grade, he’d already started making beats that he was selling to other artists. Back then, rap music was utterly different to what it is today, and while Ye is responsible for pushing things forward, so is his favourite rapper.

When Nas released Illmatic in 1994, he instantly became the golden boy of hip-hop, and for Kanye, there’s nobody that’s ever done it better. They’ve worked together on several occasions, and although their collaborations haven’t always hit the spot, the two figures have nothing but respect for each other.

West remarked the New Yorker when he stopped by the Drink Champs podcast last year. He told the hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN: “In Chicago, we call it sniping, Nas is my favourite rapper, many of times, I’ve said he’s my favourite rapper, but, the moment when it shifted was when Nas couldn’t rap that style,” he said about the emergence of Jay-Z changing the game.

He continued: “Nas don’t snipe, he don’t rap like that, and the thing that affected Jay was the death of auto-tune because auto-tune didn’t die.”

The duo first linked up when ‘God’s Son’ appeared on the Late Registration track ‘We Major’ back in 2005. Speaking about the effort, West said: “When something is so good, you can’t deny it… When you hear the horns on ‘We Major,’ and you hear the chorus come in, and Nas—in original form Nas, Nas like that—that can sometimes warm somebody’s heart.”

Meanwhile, Nas revealed to Complex in 2008 that he thinks “Kanye West saved rap,” and praise doesn’t get much higher than that. Additionally, in 2014 when he spoke at SXSW, he revisited his previous comments and speculated, “I think his mission no longer is to save hip-hop. I think he’s on an artistic mission. He wants to express himself.”

In 2018, they finally made an album together when Nas broke his six-year hiatus to record Nasir, and there wasn’t a hip-hop fan in the land who wasn’t elated when Ye revealed that he was producing the project. It might not be the greatest piece in Nas’ catalogue, but it has all the hallmarks of West’s brilliance.

Unfortunately, the seven-track LP didn’t go quite to plan and was immensely underwhelming. Despite their failure, it still does feel like the two of them have unfinished business, and it seems inevitable that one day, we’ll again see Nas working with Ye.