20 Years and counting: Nas's impact on Hip Hop

Published on by JSmoove

XXL-Cover-Nas.jpg      This year, Nas is celebrating two decades in the rap game. It's crazy how most brothas' don't even make it to see eighteen, yet Nas's career has been 20 years deep in this game. No top 5 list can go withthout Escobar's name anywhere in the conversation. I remember I gave a shoutout to him on one of his songs on youtube saying that the was the best lyricist to ever touch the mic. However, I was quickly "corrected" as many people threw out the late great Big L, Notorious B.I.G, Big Pun, and Rakim. Then, in rapid succession, people through out Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. I thought to myself, really? The latter 4 make a great case. Big L was a beast, Rakim is the originator, plus we all know Bigge and Pun's flow's were unmaskable. But there has always been something about Nas that made him stand out from everybody else.


       Nas made it cool to be lyrical. He and Biggie were the front runners of that style back at the start of this genre's first boom. People reguard "Illmatic" as one of the best hip hop albums ever. With singles such as "N.Y. State of Mind", "Halftime", and "Memory Lane" Nas showed the industry that he was nothing to play with. Nobody was really rapping like Nas back when he first came out. Biggie was a very versitile emcee, as you could see in "Juicy" and "The Sky Is The Limit" but he was too caught up in his gangsta character. Nas isn't a gangsta rapper. He never was. Back in the 90's that all you heard from the mainstream rappers. Nas changed it up. He rapped about street life but he was also a social and political figure. Not really like 2pac but you knew how he felt about many topics. He didn't sugarcode anything. His music was how he wanted you to hear it.nas_web.jpg

       A perfect example of this would be Nas's untitiled album that was supposed to be titiled "Nigger". This LP generated alot of controversy just from the name. On the album cover, he was depicted as Kunta Kinte with whip marks on his back to symbolize how the media has done him over the time the album was scheduled to be released. He called out many public figures such as Bill O'Riley, Billy Joel, George W. Bush and aimed shots at  Fox News for it's blatent rasism. No one was doing content like that back in 08. All you heard was Violence and Sex. While songs like that can be guilty pleasures and can be enjoyable to listen to because of the storytelling aspect, Nas stood out from the croud and tried to educate us where as other rappers took our money and said, "F*** you, I'm rich".


     The fact that he cemented himself as a public figure dosn't mean that he didn't keep it gutta. Nas singlehandedly took out the Rocafella empire with one song. He's hasn't really got into many war of words but when he does, he kills it. From Cam'ron, 50 cent and Jay-Z to Bill O'Riley, no one is safe if you cross Nas. He keeps it 100 while other rappers lie every line.


     In his two decades of rapping, he really should get love. He really paved the way for many rappers in this decade ({Cough} J. Cole {Cough}). Lets look out for Nas's next LP "Life Is Good" and hopes he keeps taking out the hearts of these fake rappers.


Check out my soon to be published story, "The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson" on WattPad:



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