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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Nas: Greatest of his generation

Nas%3A+Greatest+of+his+generation
Alex Kendall

Hip-hop legend Nas recently celebrated not only his 50th birthday but the 50th anniversary of the rap genre. The story of hip-hop can not be told without discussing Nas, who rose up to legendary status during the golden age of rap: the ‘90s.

So many legends rose to stardom during this era, from Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, and Jay-Z to Andre 3000, Lauryn Hill, Eminem and more. However, Nas is different from the rest of the pack.

Not only did he release some of the most lyrically crafted and high-quality albums of the ‘90s, he continues to release albums with the same top-notch quality in the 2020s. Currently, Nas has 17 studio albums, with each one of them adding onto the myth and legend of the Queens native.

Nas (born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones) launched into the stratosphere of hip-hop when he dropped what is considered by many to be the magnum opus of the entire genre, “Illmatic.” A multitude of rappers from different eras have gone on record saying they were directly inspired by Nas’ debut album, including Lil Wayne, Common, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar.

Whether it’s the iconic verses on “N.Y. State of Mind” or the smooth and catchy chorus on “The World Is Yours,” “Illmatic” served as a blueprint for the rappers of generations to come for how to successfully start a discography.

What separates Nas from the other artists of his generation is not only his riveting lyrics and freestyles, but his ability to tell unique and fascinating stories. Whether it’s spitting bars from the point of view of a gun on “I Gave You Power,” detailing his experience  of the highs and lows of fatherhood on “Daughters” or telling an entire story in reverse on “Rewind,” Nas is always able to creatively tell stories while also putting the spotlight on important social issues, such as poverty, police brutality and racism.

The Queens rapper has always been able to hold his own against other emcees, including legends from his own time. The most famous rap battle Nas ever participated in was his years-long lyrical sparring match with Jay-Z.

After the New York native dissed Nas on “Takeover,” off his 2001 classic album “The Blueprint,” Nas fired back with everything he had on the track “Ether.” The brutal diss goes after Jay-Z in many different facets, from poking fun at his appearance, trashing his record label, claiming that other rappers out-rap him on his own songs and claiming that the New York rapper stole lyrics from the late Biggie Smalls.

The track even spawned the phrase “getting ethered,” which means to get insulted or humiliated publicly, which is certainly what Nas did to Jay-Z. Despite this, the story between these two New York legends has a happy ending as both rappers reconciled, and even went on to collaborate together on Nas’ 2006 album “Hip-Hop Is Dead.”

In more recent years, Nas has taken a more indirect approach to the rap game, dropping albums on his own time and experimenting with sounds. Some examples are the Jamaican inspired production on his collaborative album with DJ Damian Marley titled “Distant Relatives” to his 2018 project “Nasir” produced entirely by Ye (formerly known as Kanye West). Nas continues to find ways to innovate his own sound that stays refreshing and enjoyable to listen to.

However, the most impressive aspect to Nas’ game in recent years has been his consistency, which he matches with quality. In the 2020s alone, Nas has released two separate trilogies all executively produced by Hit-Boy.

The “Magic” and “Kings Disease” series showcases Nas’ rapping over modern-day beats with his iconic flow and pen game that seems to never run out. It seems as though Nas gets better with time as some of his best material has come out of these sessions with Hit-Boy, including “Magic” and “Kings Disease III,” which both feature Nas delivering quality verses over quality beats.

The six-album run between Nas and Hit-Boy officially came to an end in 2023 with the releases of “Magic 2” and “Magic 3,” coming within just a few months of each other, as both artists are looking forward to starting new chapters in their music careers.

Unlike some of the other rap giants from his era, Nas continues to deliver into the present day, with a wide variety of high-caliber albums in his catalog that will certainly continue to grow until the day he retires. His reputation, discography and passion for hip-hop make him stand out as the greatest rapper from the golden age of the genre.

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  • A

    Aldrick GillMar 11, 2024 at 8:06 am

    Greatest of all time! Not of a generation! Go listen to his catalog of music! One of the greatest writers of all time!

    Reply
  • G

    GamMar 9, 2024 at 8:47 am

    Nas is the Wolf of HIP-HOP!
    He slaughter goats respectfully.
    Nasty Nas is the Illest….
    Salute!

    Reply
  • R

    RuéFeb 25, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    Nas is the hands down the G.O.A.T!!!

    Reply
  • L

    Len Williams IIIDec 31, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    Nasty Nas always being my best lyricist/rapper that is why Jay-Z tried to challenge him for King of New York. Nasty Nas is a better artist also with his own style. There will never be another after Escobar. Peace King!!!

    Reply
  • M

    M. SmithOct 2, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    So curious to hear Lonzo Ball’s thoughts on this after saying “Nobody listens to Nas no more”… I’m surprised Nas hasn’t penned him on a bar.. Thank you for all of the music Nasir.. from 17 to 47.. Salute!

    Reply
    • N

      N BenningOct 4, 2023 at 5:40 pm

      “I’m a Top Shotta Stay in Ya Lane” directed at Lonzo when he said that.

      NaS – Cops Shot The Kid.

      #OYAB

      Reply
  • S

    Samuel Roland Ghampson aka Don papa sledgeOct 2, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    Nas thank you alot I remember been a teen in the ninetees in ghana and no one really took me seriously but I was lucky I had a dickman and a friend of mine gave me a nas CD I was so green a boy of my age in the world but I was curious to know what this world was all about because my dad was sick and actually doesn’t really care about my life but listening to nas in my diskman I said to myself this a human being and a senior brother who cares for meand I will love to know much about.sledgy

    Reply
    • D

      Deez NutsOct 5, 2023 at 9:18 am

      You had a dickman??? Lol 😂😂😂

      Reply
      • B

        Blake S NathanMar 10, 2024 at 12:26 pm

        I was wondering if someone else noticed that!🤣🤣🤣🤣

        Reply
  • K

    KashidOct 1, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Great Rapper 💯

    Reply
  • D

    Don GreenSep 30, 2023 at 9:18 am

    Rakim&Nas is like after all your bills paid and your homie comes buy with a glass ofyak and a cuban cigar.

    Reply
  • M

    Ma6Sep 29, 2023 at 11:13 pm

    My dude is the illest

    Reply
    • D

      DeiondriaOct 2, 2023 at 10:05 am

      Nas is my favorite rapper. No one compares to his lyricism. And six quality albums since 2020? Nobody hotter than Nas, at least to me.

      Reply
  • R

    RodSep 28, 2023 at 11:04 pm

    Nasir the greatest period.

    Reply
  • R

    ROLLIE MOSLEYSep 28, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    I still have Pac #1 I’m sorry. His lyrics really impacted me

    Reply
    • M

      MoletSep 28, 2023 at 10:14 pm

      Pac is overrated like the a certain Kardashian

      Reply
  • A

    Abraham SmithSep 28, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    The greatest of all time not just his time period.
    No one will ever do it like he did
    Maybe find another Leo Messi but u can’t find another nas

    Reply
    • B

      BowieSep 29, 2023 at 3:51 am

      Facts

      Reply
  • K

    Kool KeithSep 28, 2023 at 9:03 am

    It’s Nas Escobar moving on your weak production

    Reply
  • B

    Born CSep 28, 2023 at 8:55 am

    If you like NAS HOODIES AND T-SHIRTS CHECK ✔️ OUT @GORILLA_GREEN_INC ON INSTAGRAM

    Reply
  • M

    Maurice BradfordSep 28, 2023 at 6:03 am

    Much respect and appreciation for a true poet. Nas is the game changer. Like TUPAC, Nas is a legend with the courage to speak on topics on every level. Reverse said it all. To rap a story from end to beginning, is nothing short of pure genius. I’m a blue team side of Los Angeles CA. Much appreciation to this guy. He slayed and earned his title, hands down.

    Reply
  • A

    AndreSep 27, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    Nas is the Goat 🐐 !! This Resurrection of skills with HitBoy delivering the tracks has put Nas ahead of the pack with the legends of his era!! Salute Nas you’re an inspiration and a lyrical genius💪🏾💪🏾

    Reply
  • A

    Aldrick gillSep 27, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Greatest from his era? No! Greatest of all time! Yes!

    Reply
  • L

    LubradeySep 27, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    Love this. Happy to see Nas finally starting the receive his flowers. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • V

    Vernon JohnsonSep 27, 2023 at 11:27 am

    I seriously find this article false simply because illmatic is all that nas has to his name and that’s it and that’s all and Rakim changed the image of the street life in New York City with the iconic album called Let the rhythm hit’em in 1990 and 1992 with Don’t Sweat the Technique album and even biggie called nas out for switching up his music style,,,,Rakim is better than nas both lyrically and flow and Rakim made nas. Look stupid on the Nike classic track by premo and nas is repetitive with his subject matter,,, and the magic 2 and 3 albums are nothing special,,,,

    Reply
    • M

      MichaelSep 28, 2023 at 1:01 am

      It Was Written, I Am, Stillmatic, all classic from the 90s and 2000s. Nas has so many albums to his name that aren’t illmatic

      Reply
    • N

      NativeFeathersRebelSep 28, 2023 at 2:39 am

      Dude grow up

      Reply
    • N

      NewyorkerSep 28, 2023 at 6:50 am

      Nas is certainly the cream of the crop.

      Reply
    • D

      Dutch22Sep 28, 2023 at 2:42 pm

      Jay-z we know this is you

      Reply
    • R

      RizSep 28, 2023 at 8:02 pm

      Rakim is and will always be the God MC, and his flow can’t be compared to anyone! However, his discography doesn’t even come close to Nas’.

      Reply
    • 𝘾.𝙋.𝘽𝙧𝙤𝙬𝙣Sep 29, 2023 at 2:05 am

      I seriously find this comment false simply because I can’t even say ianything is all you got, because you have nothing. Then again yes you do have something. You proved you have the lack of hip hop knowledge. & this is in no way disrespecting Rakim. Yes Nas started out with a Rakim type style, but has been flourished to now multiple styles, skill set, etc still teaching & preaching the knowledge. Nas is the 𝙊𝙉𝙇𝙔 rap artist that can’t record a club song or go too mainstream without critics criticizing claiming he’s crossed over, too mainstream, too commercial. All the things that Biggie, Tupac, Jay Z, & others have done & can do & nothing is never said. All 3 artist mentioned & other so called top lyricist don’t get that. Biggie, Pac, & Jay has done nothing but commercial music. No other artist bear the weight that Nas does. Because they expect more out of Nas reppin
      the culture. While they don’t expect anything from others but whatever they do. Can you imagine if Nas had done Big Pimpin, One More Chance, or I Get Around. The man got hated on for doing You Owe Me feat Ginuine, & Oochie Wallie because they were commercialized club success songs. Just like the ones mentioned above. Only difference is they didn’t get criticized for doing it.
      Bottom line is this……. Nas is the Bret Hart of rap………..
      𝙉𝙖𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙀𝙎𝙏 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙨, 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙀𝙎𝙏 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙨, 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙀𝙎𝙏 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙗𝙚. 𝙋𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙙. 𝙀𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙛 𝙖 𝙣𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙙𝙚𝙗𝙖𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙘𝙪𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣.

      Reply
    • B

      BrandySep 29, 2023 at 2:46 am

      In 2023, Nas is cemented as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, emcee of all time. Rakim does not have the mystique, presence or mythical legendary status as Nas. You are probably sitting in the 1% region of people who share your view.

      Reply
    • M

      MarcusSep 29, 2023 at 6:37 am

      Dude where you come from. Rakim is not better than Nas lyrically and Nas has way more iconic albums other than illmatic.
      Furthermore Rakim only has 5 albums if that. Stop hating Bro! Give respect when it due.

      Reply
    • Z

      ZoSep 29, 2023 at 6:14 pm

      I know ether still has your soul on fire…if even Jay-Z moved on so can you.

      Reply
    • M

      Matthew MoundsSep 30, 2023 at 8:56 pm

      I seriously find this comment false lol Nas has so much more fire music than illmatic and his discography is way more extensive than Rakim. His longevity compared to Rakim should speak for itself.

      Reply
  • M

    Matt A.Sep 27, 2023 at 8:54 am

    Great article. Nas is truly the ILLEST!

    Reply