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FutureStarrNas Reveals Hit-Boy's Youth Inspires Him
Nas has been a major figure in hip hop since the 1990s, yet it wasn't until he linked with Hit-Boy late 2019 that his career started to take off. Since then they've released four projects together - one of which earned him his first Grammy award of any kind.
Nas is not just another hip-hop artist - he's one of the most iconic and influential figures in history. Additionally, Nas has crafted captivating stories through his songs which have been featured in Hollywood blockbusters like The Wire and Black Panther.
Nas has had an unparalleled career spanning almost 30 years, and his music has had a profound effect on so many lives. The lyricist has used his songs to explore some of life's most complex and emotional topics, from reflecting on his childhood in the dope game to paying homage to his mother.
Nas is known for his iconic album covers or captivating storytelling skills, always finding ways to get people thinking in new and insightful ways. The cover of his debut album, Illmatic, features a shot of him as 7-year-old against the backdrop of New York housing projects - an example of how much his music has impacted people's lives.
Even after facing obstacles with his comeback album Stillmatic, Nas found the strength to persevere. In "Made You Look," he took fans by surprise with an uptempo cinematic beat and an encouraging message: he was still in control no matter what.
Rap artists typically focus on their individual skillsets, but Nas is all about telling stories with his lyrics. On this track, he takes listeners through rap history - including his feud with Jay-Z and the Wu-Tang Clan.
Nas' track also showcases some of his soulful rapping. He calls upon his father, Olu Dara, for an incredible solo performance.
As Hit-Boy recently revealed in an interview, Nas is one of his all-time idols. They had been so obsessed with each other that the two had debated joining forces for years before finally taking the leap together.
Hit-Boy and Nas first collaborated in 2020 on the award-winning King's Disease album, executive produced by both of them. Since then, they've continued their collaboration with several top-debuting albums - including this year's Top 5 "King's Disease II").
Nas has continued to motivate Hit-Boy throughout this time. During their recent HNHH Presents: 12 Days Of Christmas interview, the two talked about their mutual influence on each other throughout their careers and how they have managed to achieve such success at such a young age.
Nas is not only an accomplished rapper, but he's also one of hip hop's iconic lyricists. His catalogue boasts classic hip hop songs from diss tracks to poignant depictions of street life.
However, his credibility among fans was severely damaged in the late 2000s due to his stylistic shifts. He began focusing on commercial success which some critics and hip hop purists felt compromised his artistic integrity. This eventually led to a decline in his popularity; however, Stillmatic's return to artistically ambitious projects restored some of his previous success and allowed him to regain some ground.
Nas has endured much criticism throughout the late 2000s, yet he remains one of the most influential and important rappers in music. His impressive career includes two Grammy Awards and a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Industry Association of America; it has seen its share of highs and lows but never stopped striving for perfection.
Nas recently shared with The New York Times that Hit-Boy's youth inspires him to keep making music. "It's always beneficial to listen to rappers who are younger but still have that same kind of rap style," Nas said.
Nas' music, while most of it is excellent, contains some lesser-quality works. Despite this, he remains determined to improve himself with each project and push boundaries.
One of his projects is his collaboration with Damian Marley on Distant Relatives, an album which makes a powerful statement about international unity and the interconnectivity of people from diverse backgrounds. It's an incredible accomplishment for these two artists to be able to produce such an excellent album together in such a short amount of time, demonstrating just how much talent each has to offer.
The album's lyrical and thematic ambitions are matched by its musical innovation. It feels like a perfect marriage between the two artists, showing off their talent, hard work and good fortune in one cohesive effort.
Many people immediately think of "Strong Will Continue," a powerful and poignant track that speaks to our need for hope and resilience in the face of hardship. It serves as a poignant reminder that real change takes time; each victory brings us closer towards creating an improved world.
"Strong Will Continue" is an iconic example of rappers using their storytelling talents to bring a story to life. Boasting smooth production and an uplifting message, it's one of Nas' finest works ever.
Nas is an accomplished rapper nearing fifty years old whose craft and vision have evolved with time, and who has finally found a collaborator who motivates and inspires him daily. While this doesn't make him sound like someone half his age, it does suggest an impressive longevity and talent which is evident throughout his oeuvre.
Many consider the MC's lyrics and production to be a cornerstone of hip hop for decades, making the recent news that he's working on a project with Hit-Boy especially exciting.
Recently, Nas revealed to The Breakfast Club how Hit-Boy's youth inspires him. The producer had been considering working with him for years, but when they heard "One Mic" in their studio together, it clicked and the process of creating a creative bond began between two artists who have long held an intense affection for one another began.
With a nod to the single-mic recording method used by rock bands, this track remains as fresh and timeless as when it was recorded in 2008 with engineer John Cuniberti. It serves as a reminder of what music should sound like without all the edits, overdubs, and other modern technology we've come to rely on today.
Nas' Queensbridge OG can flex over this groove as he remembers his days growing up in the hood. It's an unusual song from him, usually focused on stories of hustle and poverty.
It's also an ideal chance to showcase a young talent to the rapper's faithful followers. Although AZ, featured on the track, was only sixteen at the time of recording, his lyrical precision and devotion to his style make this one of his best works.
Nas has continued to achieve success in hip hop, yet he finds himself reflecting. His latest single "Surviving the Times" pays homage to those artists who helped him along the way; often overlooked by most fans of this genre of music but Nas believes these artists deserve recognition.
When asked which rap stars inspire him, Nas named Hit-Boy as his mentor. In 2020, they collaborated on several albums together, including King's Disease and King's Disease II.
Nas' career has spanned two decades, and he remains one of the most important voices in rap. His lyrics are both thoughtful and direct, with an unparalleled lyrical style.
Nas is a legend in the industry and doesn't shy away from difficult topics that others don't want to talk about. From his divorce with R&B singer Kelis to raising children, Nas has never shied away from sharing personal experiences.
He does this while showing his true colors and being honest about his shortcomings as a father, making the track highly relatable to any parent out there. Ultimately though, Nas is able to express his love for his daughters and how they've shaped his life.
Due to his determination and hard work, Nas has achieved success in the music industry despite being black and from a low-income neighborhood. This feat of determination is an uncommon occurrence within hip hop culture, earning him respect from many within the business.