While Nas has been a part of his fair share of controversy, that’s not something I want to highlight. Nas has been in the rap game for over 20 years now. His music career has included collaborations with the likes of AZ, DJ Premier, Lauryn Hill, R. Kelly, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, and many others. The rapper has been a part of creating many classic musical works, including his 1994 debut Illmatic, and he’s released 10 more studio albums since then. The MC is a workhorse and one of the greatest rappers of all time.
Nas’ debut full-length album, 1994’s Illmatic, became an instant classic upon its release. It’s cited by many as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, and he performed the album in its entirety at SXSW 2012. The stage in ACL Live here in Austin was “transformed into the graffiti-lined streets of Nasty Nas’ Queens neighborhood,” an image Nas brilliantly paints for his listeners on the album.
Nas has stayed busy throughout his career, even in recent years. Nas and Damian Marley teamed up to release the album Distant Relatives in 2010, which was “created by the two artists to celebrate the correlation and deep-rooted connection between reggae music, hip-hop, and Africa,” according to their Facebook page. Nas was also featured in Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, a 2012 movie directed by Ice-T that examines the process behind creating a rap.
Many entities have paid tribute to Nas over the past few years. Elzhi, a rapper based in Detroit, released an album in tribute to Illmatic, entitled Elmatic, in 2011. Will Sessions, a band that’s also based in Detroit, recreated the classic beats of Illmatic and Elzhi paid tribute by pairing new lyrical content with Nas’ original flow patterns. The Hip-Hop Archive at Harvard University recently established a fellowship in Nas’ honor with the purpose of seeking “projects from scholars and artists that build on the rich and complex hip-hop tradition.” Nas started working on his twelfth studio album earlier this year. His last full-length album was 2012's Life Is Good.
Join B. Hobbs on today’s episode of Tha Fixx Radio as he pays tribute to Nas during his classics segment. You will also hear music from Jackie Chain, Curren$y, and many more on today's episode. Tha Fixx Radio, SXSWfm’s hip-hop specialty show hour, airs Tuesdays at noon, 6pm, and 12am CDT, and Saturdays at 10pm CDT only on SXSWfm.
Photo by Erin Fotos