Nas is back and has momentously positioned his feet on Hip Hop ground with the release of his 10th solo CD, “Life Is Good”. A perfected collaboration of beats, mixes and genuine lyrics infiltrate this project as he deals with his past, present and future. Nas has truly evolved and taken a stance that declares prolific maturity with a raw yet truthful outlook on life. He is in his prime as an artist and he’s boldly taking the craft of Hip Hop to another level.
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It’s been 18 years since the release of your debut project Illmatic. You’ve evolved from declaring “Life’s a B*tch” on your first release to now declaring “Life Is Good.” Talk about the peaks and the pits during the past 18 years.
It’s really so much I can start with. So much I can get into. It’s like a book. I wouldn’t know where to start. I’m happy to be alive and happy to be here. My passion for music is still here. All the things that happened to me, happened around me, all the things I made happen, and even all the things that didn’t happen – I just appreciate life.
Why did you get so personal on this CD with “Bye Baby” and other tracks?
I always like to do things that are about me being creative with my imagination when it comes to writing and some is very personal. I just couldn’t do it any other way this time.
Your song “Daughters” is a deep testimony. How is your relationship with your kids? How did you spend Father’s Day this year?
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It’s great but could be better. I need to spend more time with them. It’s always business going on. Music takes me everywhere and it’s a crazy life. I’m honestly tired of it and ready to be with them more. I spent the day before Father’s Day with my son and Father’s Day I spent with my daughter.
Would you encourage your kids to follow in your footsteps musically?
I wouldn’t encourage anything other than something I think is going to be positive. If they want to do Hip Hop, then they want to do Hip Hop. I want to encourage them to follow their dreams. I wouldn’t limit that to doing one specific thing.
You have a lot of women that love and follow you. What’s it like to get that kind of attention and be one of the hottest “bad boys” in the game?
It’s like anything else. Lots of people have lots of attention from females, especially in this industry. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m grateful.
Looking back on your past relationships, would you ever consider getting married again? If so, what attributes do you look for and prefer in a woman?
I look at Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, President Barack and Michelle Obama. Married people amaze me. I love the ones that stick together. I am a family guy but I had bad times. I would love to be married again. I like the subtle things. I like smart women, strong women. That’s what I really like.
Your daughter’s mother, Carmen, wrote an alleged tell-all book with some pretty unnerving statements. Were you ever upset about the book?
I was disappointed but I wasn’t surprised. It went along with her character as a person. Some people just don’t get it. They don’t appreciate life and don’t appreciate God. They’re selfish and angry. Born that way and gonna die that way. It’s a shame that some people are alive but really will not have lived one day in their life.
What would the Nas today now say to the young Nas of yesteryear?
I would tell the young Nas don’t worry about anything. Everything’s gonna be good. Keep doing what you’re doing. I would tell the young me to do it better because so many people are now listening and will be listening to your material forever because once you release material, it’s out there forever. I would tell myself to take it a lot more seriously when it comes to writing and what you want the world to see.
Life Is Good has gone to number 1 already overseas. You have a strong fan base – especially in NY. Do you sense that your fans are always anxiously waiting to hear from you?
No. You never know. People grow up and some grow out of rap music as a whole. I don’t expect anything. I know there are still people around that are going to like my stuff. I never know how many people it can potentially reach. I feel like a new artist and I want to slow grind and build myself back up. Once you’re at the top there’s nowhere to go but down. So I’d like to stay in a great place and challenge myself and have it hard for me every time – that way it’s honest and you see what I’m made of.
Your current outlook captures a sense of growth. I heard you say that you have a realistic understanding that all that you’ve experienced was simply LIFE. How did you get to that point?
I think I was just born not feeling like I was better than anybody else, but not worse than anyone either. I never had jealousy in me, not to the point where it hindered me. I was always the voice of reason around my crew. When people wanted to do crazy stuff and commit crazy crimes, I was the one that didn’t have the rage and anger. I felt like the way I feel am now. I always just stayed chill, especially in a crazy business where people are fake. I just stayed me. I have no problem with that. I don’t have to act like something I’m not. I never felt like that was a skill I had to work on. I felt like all I had to do was be me and work hard to accomplish what I wanted to do. All the other stuff doesn’t matter.
Music is your passion and your life. What would you say has been the loudest and most consistent message you have sent through your music over the years?
In a way, I’m a purist when it comes to my music. I stand up for it. I think that mostly stands out.
What makes you happy?
Seeing others happy. Making accomplishments. My children. Love. Food. My favorite food is grilled seafood.
What’s next for Nas?
I basically have reached a place that I haven’t seen done in Rap and I’m just trying to take it all in and see which way God will direct me. I’m going to enjoy entertaining with this album – see where it takes me and ride the waves. There are so many different interesting things happening today with technology and everything. I’m just looking at the future and walking with it.
By Tanya LaNice