It’s been ten years since the prophet of hip-hop breathed new life into the game with the release of his instant classic Illmatic. Dropping science, dropping emcees and sometimes even dropping the ball, Nas takes it all in stride as he prepares to release a double disk CD to celebrate the past decade of delivering the word to his people. Like a double edged sword the responsibility his skills garnered him of saving hip-hop has been a blessing and a curse, but his love for it all has been the driving force behind his continued pilgrimage to enlighten the masses through rhyme and reason. Often crucified by the media or over zealous emcees trying to capture his crown, Nas finds the truth truly has set him free to be who he is and if that means hip-hops savior so be it, but it’s going to be his way, or no way.
AllHipHop.com: What bothers you the most about what people say about you, or what’s the biggest misconception about Nas?
Nas: I guess everybody listens to what people say, but now I’m like just a name so people can say whatever they want that doesn’t have anything to do with me.
AllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about the woman in your life, what was it about Kelis that caught your attention?
Nas: Umm, it’s so many things; I guess it’s just the easiness of it all, everything is just easy. Even when s**t is crazy with me and her, s**t is easy at the same time. I’m an easygoing person and she’s that way too in a lot of ways, she’s a Leo so she’s fiery too but everything is just easy.
AllHipHop.com: So is she the one?
Nas: Oh yeah, that’s what I said as soon as I saw her.
AllHipHop.com: Does it bother you when past friends criticize you?
Nas: Nah, it kinda freaks me out because I don’t see myself like other people see me. You can ask my girl and she’ll be like, “Aw that n***a, it ain’t nothing special going on.” So whatever they have to say kinda freaks me out in a funny way because I’m like, “Wow I’m somebody they even thought twice about.” Because I don’t even think that heavy on s**t and I’m just like wow and then I wonder is that because they got love or is what? It’s just really odd to me. I just didn’t know I was worth talking about so I guess I just really feel honored
AllHipHop.com: Over the past ten years how would you sum up what your career has meant to you?
Nas: It scares the s**t out of me sometimes, when I realize there’s really not somebody whose been around as long that’s progressive, focused, and on this path. There’s people around because they’re alive, not because they’re relevant, and that makes me feel like scared to death because what makes me relevant? Each time I drop an album I know they’re gonna be like, “Oh that sounds old school or that sounds like what is that, or why isn’t he making me bounce?” and I wonder when they’re gonna say, “F**k this guy.” But as long as they’re still down. I’m always surprised that people can still relate to the stuff I’m doing. It just scares me sometimes.
AllHipHop.com: So when you go into the booth, do you think, “I need to give the people something to think about,” or something to move to?
Nas: I’m always trying to go to the next step because I’m always in the studio saying, “I need to give the people something to think about,” and then that becomes corny because people catch on to that. Then I have a whole slew of MC’s trying to do that or outdo that, and I don’t want to be in a category in that level. I want to be in the category that we’re all trying to reach a higher ground in this s**t ya know?
AllHipHop.com: What are some of your challenges of today?
Nas: You know, your children are your true reward. It doesn’t matter about material, so just to see my daughter coming out the right way, coming out into a young adult and then my future children that will be my biggest reward. So that’s also my biggest challenge/ Raising the children and making sure they come out on top; bigger, better, and smarter than I could ever be.
AllHipHop.com: Now I have to ask about the Snoop situation with him talking about you and Pac in the park, what’s your take on that?
Nas: I didn’t understand that, I really didn’t. All I can say is, God Bless him.
AllHipHop.com: So who were the producers on the album?
Nas: I did a lot of it with Salaam Remy, Chuckie Thompson and LES.
AllHipHop.com: AZ was talking to us recently. Are you gonna do an album with him?
Nas: Yeah I want to. I know he brought that up to me and I put him on my CD and me and him did a joint on there that’s kinda fiery. But we’re just trying to find the sound of it and then we’ll go. I know it’s something that we talked about doing before. But I been hearing about it lately but I think dude is on fire man
AllHipHop.com: So you have one more album with Sony then what are you gonna retire?
Nas: I been really trying to do things in moderation. I was thinking about running for President but I really don’t want that obligation or type of commitment to an organization so big and so old and so scary. I would like to contribute some dedication and hard work to the struggle and if that means taking a stand or voicing opinions on political issues. And if that meant taking a title of some kind, then I’d rather do that for a short period of time to help lead the way toward something righteous.
AllHipHop.com: You think it would be easier to be the president or the king of Hip-Hop?
Nas: Well I’m much better on the mic than Bush or John Kerry. ‘Cause the s**t they spittin’, it ain’t connecting. So I might have a better chance because it’s much nicer n***as on the mic in Hip-Hop than it is in politics
AllHipHop.com: Who would you say is the king of NY??
Nas: Right about now the rats and the roaches. They on it and who else? Corporations man, joint corporations ownership with some of these athletic teams like the opening of what they’re trying to do with the Giants Stadium in New York City. And the plans that the Mayor has, I think he’s definitely the king of NY from a financial state and a powerful state through finances. But through vocals man, I think its every dude in NY that records rock throughout the system ya know what I mean every dude that rocks.
AllHipHop.com: What do you want your fans to know about you with this album?
Nas: Listen to this album. It’s a lot of goodness happening. I’m in an incredibly happy state on this album. So it’s kinda weird for me. I’ve always done albums in a kinda melancholy state, I’ve never really done an album so happy so it’s going to be different in that perspective and it’s definitely sounds like 90’s and sounds like today, it’s another personal one.
AllHipHop.com: What has you so happy? Ms. Kelis and her Milkshake?
Nas: Yeah, Ma is holding it down. My little one turned ten, and I’m thirty and I think that’s just a great place to be with me… probably about to make some transitions. I got like two books done with no publisher yet, and I got two screenplays done. So I’m like at the best part, just to wake up in the morning I take about two minutes and look in the mirror that’s the best fu**ing feeling I’ve ever had in my life.
AllHipHop.com: What kind of books did you write?
Nas: They’re like novels. But I cant’ really describe them because they’re written from truth, and they’re written from imagination combined. So I don’t know if they’re like a philosophical Les Brown picker-up book, or if it’s like some sick Donald Goines ass f**king different s**t. It’s all-different kinds of s**t combined from a different perspective and I have a lyric book that’s done called, Book of Rhymes that should be hitting stores soon.
AllHipHop.com: What happened with Bravehearts?
Nas: I don’t really know, those dudes are doing them. So it’s no biggie any more its like this is what we do so I think they are working on some material and they just shout me out when they want me to hear it or jump on some s**t.
AllHipHop.com: So it’s not Nas and the Bravehearts?
Nas: Naw, the original concept for that was like Horse, Jungle, Whiz, Nashawn. And a couple other dudes who were in the midst of their crew and once it didn’t fall out like that man I was really disappointed but it was always Jungles dream to do an album so I just gave them my team name the Bravehearts. It didn’t come out like with the original team but Jungle and Whiz trooped it.
AllHipHop.com: So with your Ill Will Records are you going to start putting out artists?
Nas: Yeah we got another one that we’re gonna start with some new artists too, we got this artist name Fuqwan from VA that’s kinda fiery we thinking about f**kin’ with him and we looking at the dude Saigon, and trying to see what’s up with his situation and a few other dudes that’s kinda nice.
AllHipHop.com: What do you look for in an MC?
Nas: I’m looking for that s**t, you know it when you hear it or see it.
AllHipHop.com: So it doesn’t have to be another Nas just be tight?
Nas: Naw, you can be a new Biz Mark. That’s what’s f**ked up it ain’t no fun no more. Like I have fun when I listen to Luda, or when I listen to Busta, I like the fun part of the s**t too cause them n*ggas is mad lyrical but they’re fun, that s**t that’s fun but real.