Nas is one of the most celebrated lyricists in hip hop and, at one point, ruled New York. Known for his infamous battle with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella records, Nas is definitely a rapper that will go down in history. However, unlike the big man Hov, Nas’ career never took off the way it was supposed to in the early noughties.
With so many amazing rappers coming onto the scene at the turn of the millennium, Nas really seemed to stall and is still predominantly looked at as a 1990s rapper. However, that is not to say that he didn’t release some quality records after the 1990s.
Born and raised in the Queensbridge area of New York, Nas was one of the biggest names in underground hip hop during the early 90s, with his debut album Illmatic to this day still classed as a classic and a must-listen for any fan of hip hop. He was a rapper, songwriter and, most importantly, a storyteller whom other artists envied over. The rapper’s ability to immerse listeners in a story was second to none, and his way with words was awe-inspiring. His music remains some of the most memorable hip-hop creations, and his contribution to the culture can never be negated.
What’s fascinating about Nas is his ability to romanticise what can often be very sombre themes and find the beauty in what most would consider squalor. Listening to a Nas album is an unparalleled experience. Beyond the braggadocious attitudes and materialism that are so often associated with the hip hop genre, you have a soul, and Nas’ albums were straight from the soul. They can evoke a range of emotions, and that’s crucial in hip hop, a quality album cannot be centred around just pure anger.
Nas is an iconic rapper, and that’s something that no one can take away from him, so it was extremely interesting when in an interview with Andre Harrell for Revolt’s Music Talks series, the rapper (real name Nasir Jones) named his favourite rappers of all time.
Nas’ five favourite rappers of all time:
- J. Cole
- Kendrick Lamar
- Lil Wayne
- Rick Ross
In 2012, while talking to Complex, the rapper also named his favourite albums of all time, which featured releases from rappers such as: Run-D.M.C., Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. & Rakim, MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Main Source, Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest, Scarface, N.W.A., Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., and OutKast. You can watch the full Revolt interview in the video below.