My Favorite Rap Artists, Vol. 12 | Nas

I never make the same mistakes,
Movin' with a change of pace, lighter load, 
See now the king is straight.
- (Stillmatic, 2001)

When you think of someone to look up to in regards to setting the standard for something that you really want to do, you image the legends and those who failed to live up to their potential for the lessons that you look to build off. When people refer to Nas, they don't simply refer to him as a legend, they often refer to him as being the best who ever did it. That's a lot to take in when you're from a different era and you have just his albums to go off and not the aura that he gave off during his time in the early 90's. While Jay Z undoubtedly had the sales to back up his claims as the best ever to do it, more times than not you heard MC's come to Nas' side and say that record sales isn't indicative of who's the best.

Simply put, anyone who loves Hip-Hop says Nas is the best, even your favorite MC.

Hip-Hop is influenced regionally, meaning that different states hold different artists in different regards. Like in the south Gucci Mane, Boosie & Devin The Dude are all considered Legends while others in different states disagree because they can't relate to the style of music. Same thing can be said for the L.O.X., AZ and Rakim on the east coast and Snoop, Tech N9ne & Eazy-E on the west coast. But one thing remains consistent across the board, Nas is a legend and will make your top three nine times out of ten. Legends transcend trends and regionally tuned ears to become what they are; the best to ever do it and Nas did it with ease.

You can look up quotes from Pac, Biggie, Eminem, Outkast and more recently J. Cole and Big K.R.I.T. on him being that good and setting the example of being consistent with his content and always being true to his art form. For me I would say when I first heard that Human Nature sample I was hype, but when I heard him going in and putting down one of the most iconic rap songs from arguably one of the best albums ever, I was sold. I will admit that I went through a period where I deviated from listening to music that wasn't southern and when I returned a more seasoned and responsible young adult, I understood him more.
From I Can, One Mic, If I Ruled The World, to Daughters, Bye Baby and even Ether; I started to see Nas for who he was and the message that he was trying to get through to all of us. While there are plenty of conscious rappers out there that can handle their own, Nas does it in such a way that it resonates in your mind for a long time and you still talk about it years later. He's done a great job picking the right beats and the right message that he wanted to convey on those beats. When I want to get into the zone and get stuff done nowadays, I put on my Nas playlist and I go to work.
He inspires me to be a better as a creative through studying and crafting things in my own personal way.

Owner of multiple classic songs, albums and even arguably the best diss record ever recorded, there isn't anything that Nas hasn't done in his career. At times I wonder if he gets the just dues that he deserves but then I look up and realize that he doesn't care about that at all. He simply just wants to be known as the guy who came in, did his thing and eventually left when he was ready to leave.

Until that day comes and after I will hold him in the highest of standards and #1 on my favorite MC's list. 

1994 | Illmatic
1999 | I Am…
2002 | God's Son
2008 | Untitled

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