Nas is the best rapper alive. I REPEAT: Nas is the better rapper alive. Sure you have people like Lil Wayne and Jay-Z but Nas beat them out by miles. While Lil Wayne is focused on doing drugs, having seizures and putting “rock albums,” and Jay-Z is also busy executive producing Great Gatsby soundtracks, running sports agency and being a father, Nas concentrates on what he is good at, being a lyrical genius.
His classic debut Illmatic, may be the best debut album of all time and while some may think his next great album was Stillmatic (seven years later), his other albums have some real classics on them. To prove that Nas is one the best rapper alive right now, here are five Nas songs you should hear right now.
1. Nas- NY State of Mind (1994)
Bursting onto the hip-hop scene in 1994, Nas released Illmatic. With the image of a blurry child’s face emblazoned across the album’s cover, it didn’t take long to have an idea of Nas’ childhood. “NY State of Mind” is observational looks of what it was like to grow up in Queensbridge, Brookyn. Baseball players are allowed to pick what music is played when they go up to bat. If I played baseball, I would pick this song.
2. Nas- The Message (1996)
Even though It was Written, is widely regarded as Nas’ sophomore slump, it’s not that bad. “The Message” is actually my favorite hip-hop song of all time. I’m obsessed with the guitar laden beat. It tells the story of thugs in Queensbridge doing crimes and how two friends grow apart. One is able to live a normal life, while the other follows a life of crime eventually goes to prison.
3. Nas- Shoot Em’ Up (1999)
Even the lyrical content is really violent, this song is pretty fun. I’m not sure what it is sampled from, but the song sounds really familiar.
4. Nas- Rule (feat. Amerie) (2001)
Stillmatic is where Nas regained his form lyrically and critically. Hot off the heels of a feud with Jay-Z, Stillmatic includes the classic diss track “One Mic” and “Got Yourself A….” “Rule” is a great song also. Nas is able to take the song “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” by Tears for Fears and puts a hip-hop spin on it.
5. Nas- Make the World Go Round (feat. Chris Brown and The Game) (2008)
After Stillmatic, Nas started naming his albums Hip-Hop Is Dead and Untitled, just to create newspaper headlines. These albums didn’t have many great songs on them, but at least he was releasing new music. “Make the World Go Round,” may look silly at first glance when you see Chris Brown featured, but it’s not that bad. It’s also Nas’ only really try at a club hit.
What is your favorite Nas song?