20 years of setting the standard to what a real MC embodies and he isn’t stopping anytime soon. Nasir Jones has shown longevity through staying true to himself and the art of storytelling. Since his classic debut album Illmatic, Nas has demonstrated versatility through various topics including success, growing up in the Queensbridge houses, spirituality and the truth. Hands down, Nas has become one of the best in the Rap genre. Check out his ten best verses below:
10.) Raekwon Feat. Ghostface Killa & Nas – “Verbal Intercourse”
Nas drops a very memorable 16-bar rap that was noted by many in the industry as one of the best verses in all of Hip-Hop. He was the first rapper to ever be featured in the 36th Chamber and man, are we grateful that Raekwon decided to add him onto this track.
9.) Main Source Feat. Nas, Joe Fatal, & Akinyele – “Live at The Barbecue”
The verse that started it all. The Hip-Hop community went bananas when this verse was released and rappers such as Common were inspired to change their delivery even before Nas debuted his first album. Clearly, Nas was doing something right.
8.) “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”
“Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian, half man, half amazing.” Nas has been consistent with the way he views himself throughout his music, from referring to himself as God’s Son, to characterizing himself as both divine and wholly man.
Nas goes in on a day in the life of a young Queensbridge resident, capturing what was the mentality during that era in Hip-Hop (Straight up, shit is real and any day could be your last in the jungle). Dj Premier’s production on this one really captures the East Coast aura.
6.) Nas Feat. AZ – ” Life’s a Bitch”
“I switched my motto; instead of saying “fuck tomorrow”/That buck that bought a bottle could’ve struck the lotto.” This line alone entails growth in Nas and what he’s choosing to spend his money on. Life as a young adult is indeed a bitch but Nas has chosen to face life with a much more uplifting outlook.
“Eminem murdered you on your own shit.” Ouch. 13 years since the beef between Nas & Jay Z occurred, fans still argue on who took the win. This 40-bar diss still gives us chills, as Nas goes in on Jay’s appearance and “dick-riding” antics. Who do you think won the infamous battle?
4.) “The World is Yours”
“Born alone, die alone. No crew to keep my crown or throne.” At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves. Nas expressed at the time that he had no one to pass his legacy onto and that he is the only one who can look after himself.
3.) “The Message”
“There’s one life, one love, so there can only be one King.” During the time of this release, Notorious B.I.G was the hottest thing in New York rap, according to an article published at The Source. & of course, as a prominent lyricist, Nas came for the crown.
2.) “One Love”
“Mind’s in another world thinking how can we exist through the facts/Written in school text books, bibles, et cetera/Fuck a school lecture, the lies get me vexed-er.” This song is one of my favorites, as he really utilizes the art of story-telling to tell a tale of sending letters to his friends in the pen. Here, Nas believes the public school system is a failure for the youth.
1.) “NY State of Mind”
“I never sleep, ’cause sleep is the cousin of death.” In his critically-acclaimed debut Illmatic, Esco delivered one of the most classical rap lines in rap history. Nas describes a drug dealer’s paranoia, yet it is still relatable with any form of hustle; sometimes, we have to sacrifice slumber to see success.
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