Nasir Jones, AKA Nas, is one of the greatest rappers in Hip-Hop.
The Queens native was at the forefront of rap as it made the transition from the disco-like party grooves of the ’80s to the gritty street energy of the 90s. Nas’s clever wordplay and delivery were a breath of fresh air. Rap music at the time had become more graphic and intense, but Nas’s accounts of growing up in Queensbridge Houses came across as refined and poetic. His influence in Hip-Hop is as prominent now as it was during his ascension.
With almost 30 years and 13 albums to his name, Nas’s whole discography is a cornerstone of Hip-Hop. However, some have had a more significant impact than others. Here are some of Nasty Nas’s best albums.
“Illmatic” album cover
Ask any hardcore Hip-Hop fan for a list of their favorite albums, and it’s almost guaranteed that Illmatic will be one of the top choices. Not only was it Nas’s debut album, but it set the bar for every rapper’s debut album. Released in 1994, Illmatic was both a coming-of-age story as well as a coronation.
Since his emergence, many in the New York rap scene thought Nas was the heir apparent to the Hip-Hop throne; this 10-track instant classic confirmed their predictions.
It Was Written
“It Was Written “album cover
Illmatic’s success would be hard to top, but Nas welcomed the challenge with open arms on his sophomore effort, It Was Written. While his first album had an underground Hip-Hop sound, It Was Written was crafted with the hopes of capturing a mainstream audience.
Nas enlisted the production talents of Trackmasters. They oversaw the bulk of the album’s production and provided Nas with his first Top 20 hit, “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” featuring Lauryn Hill. The album became Nas’s most commercially successful album to date and proved that Illmatic wasn’t a fluke.
“Stillmatic” album cover
After It Was Written, Nas’s career experienced a bit of a decline. He was still one of the genre’s most respected artists, but his albums weren’t receiving the same commercial (or critical) success as his first two.
In December of 2001, Nas released Stillmatic. This album was pivotal in Nas’s career because it re-established his position as one of rap’s top lyricists at a time when he became embroiled in a personal feud with Jay-Z. Stillmatic helped Nas reclaim the throne that fans and critics thought he had vacated.
“God’s Son” album cover
Looking to prove that he was back to his old self, Nas released God’s Son almost a year later. The success of Stillmatic saw a rejuvenated Nas go on to prove that he was still one of the best while being able to adapt to Hip-Hop’s landscape at the time. God’s Son would go platinum almost a month after its release.
Life Is Good
“Life Is Good” album cover
Nas would experience another lukewarm period after God’s Son. He released three albums, one of them a double album, that were all met with mixed responses. With his legacy in question yet again, Nas released Life Is Good in July of 2012.
Life Is Good showed that despite his creative ups and downs, issues with other rappers, and a failed marriage to singer/songwriter Kelis, Nas was very much happy with how his life and career had panned out thus far.
“King’s Disease” album cover
King’s Disease is Nas’s thirteenth album. Released in August of this year, King’s Disease bridged the gap between his debut era and the new era in Hip-Hop.
While many of his contemporaries are against the new crop of rappers, Nas embraced them. The album was executive produced by Hit-Boy and features appearances from Big Sean, A$AP Ferg, and Fivio Foreign.
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