“If I Ruled the World,” Nas and I would’ve been married, had five kids and been divorced by now. Nas is the only MC that I’ve listened to consistently from 1993 to now. We’ve been rocking for a minute. He’s not aware of my relationship with him, but that’s ok. It’s real in my head.
I was immediately taken by Nas, not just physically, but lyrically. He had that run-out-the-room wordism that makes you listen to him over and over again. I first heard of him in “Back to the Grill Again,” before ever hearing “Live at the Barbque” (which I didn’t hear until after Illmatic). So, I’d heard him in reverse of everyone else. Then “Half Time,” came out and I was done. I was so into him that my boyfriend at the time was jealous.
By the time Illmatic came out I was a full-fledged fan. I loved/love “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” so much that I would cry. Literally, by the time the third verse would come on I’d have tears in my eyes. It was like the most amazing thing I’d heard since “The Bridge is Over,” and “Check Out My Melody”. As far as albums go, Illmatic is one of three albums I can listen to without skipping any songs (36 Chambers and The Low End Theory, in case you were wondering, are the other two).
I have every Nas album except Nastradomus. He was in a different place, and so I was I. My life was weird at that time and I wasn’t listening to much music.
I make sure to actually buy his music. I spend that bread! Which says a lot because I am cheap. I didn’t have to listen to tracks before buying any of his albums either. I just trusted they’d be good.
He’s so important to hip hop. Enough that I use him as part of a litmus test I use to decide whether I’ll get serious with someone or not. There are three questions I ask any man that I’m interested in. One of them involves Nas. Answer that wrong and I immediately put a guy in the friend zone.
So, he’s my MCM, beyond his looks. He’s one of my top three favorite MCs of all time (the other two are Rakim and KRS). He seems like a cool, laid back cat, with the right amount of eccentric energy to keep me guessing about him. I’d love to interview him some day.
Fun fact: Nas has a little cousin named Yara Shahidi. You may know her as Eddie Murphy’s daughter in Imagine That, or as Zoe, the oldest daughter on Black-ish. She does favor him.
Thanks for reading!