So I’m driving around in my whip bumpin’ some Nas ish and wondering what is my favorite songs of all time. After careful consideration I’ve managed to come down to two songs. Now this isn’t meant to mean the best rap song of all time, because that title clearly goes to Biggie’s Juicy. These two songs are joints I can listen to at anytime and just feel ill.
Nas – Take It In Blood
The first song on my list is Nas’s Take It In Blood from his second album “It Was Written” (1996). This song would have been my favorite song of all time if it hadn’t been for the next song I’m going to mention.
Now what’s so ill about this song? I love how the beat kicks in on some hard east coast boom bap and then over top of it you have this delicate piano loop that sounds like diamonds are falling all over the track.
Secondly, Nas just goes off. Whenever I hear Nas begin with, Yo, I never brag, how real I keep it, cause it’s the best secret I rock a vest, prestigious, Cuban link flooded Jesus…. It is as if he’s going into fly-genius mode. He absolutely and unequivocally murders this beat. I mean who rhymes like this?
Mega popular, center of attraction
Climaxin, my bitches they be laughin
They high from sniffin coke off a twenty-cent Andrew Jackson
City lights spark a New York night
Rossi and Martini sippin, Sergio Tachinni flippin mad pies
low price, I blow dice and throw em
Forty-five by my scrotum, manifest the “Do or Die” slogan
My niggaz roll in ten M3’s
Twenty Gods poppin wheelies on Kawasaki’s
Hip-Hop’s got me on some ol’, sprayin shots like a drumroll
Blankin out and never miscount the shells my gun hold
I don’t stunt, I regulate
Henny and Sprite, I seperate, watchin crab niggaz marinate
I’m all about tecs and good jooks and sex
Israelite books, holdin government names from Ness
MC’s are crawlin out, every hole in the slum
You be aight like blood money in a pimp’s cum
Nas’ ability as an MC has astounded me for the last few weeks as I’ve thought about how ill this dude really is. How many rappers you know who can mimic Jay-Z’s flow? Or Lil Wayne’s flow? Or any other rappers flow. I could go on myspace right now and find clones for any rapper except Nas. I mean Ali Vegas was the closest to sound like Nas but now he just sounds like Jay-Z. But no rapper has been able to match the flow, vibe and lyrics that Nas’ Take It In Blood did ever. This song is the definition of hip hop.
Nas – You’re Da Man
The second song which is my favorite of all time goes to another Nas joint, which is Nas’ You’re Da Man from his comeback album “Stillmatic” (2001). I love this song so much because it is Nas With A Vengeance. The background story here is that this was the time when Nas’ stock was on serious decline after he became this Nas Esocobar character who was primarily concerned with making pop records like “You Owe Me” with Ginuwine, his stint with The Firm and his verse on that Missy Ellliot song “Hot Boys”.
To make things even worse, Jay-Z the reigning king of 2001 hip hop had just questioned Nas’ legendary status at Hot 97’s Summer Jam in the song “Takeover”. Jay-Z finished his scathing verse dissing Nas with the now classic line, “And you know who, did you know what, with you know who, now let’s keep that between me and you”. It later came to light on a freestyle over “Super Ugly” that Jay-Z was referring to boning Nas’ baby momma. Needless to say, things were really bad for Nas.
Then Nas dropped “Ether”.
I’m not going to go into what “Ether” did to Jay-Z, I’ll save that for another time, but it was the hip hop equivalent of The Count of Monte Crisco.
Now back to Nas’ “You’re Da Man”. Nas again attacks a beat that bridges an uptempo boom bap with a delicate sounding sample creating one of the illest juxtapositions I’ve ever heard. Anytime I’m feeling like the whole world is against me, I turn this joint on and think I can take the world on.
Peep how Nas just goes in on his first verse and doesn’t come out.
They plan was to knock me out the top of the game
But I overstand they truth is all lame
I hold cannons that shoot balls of flames
Right in they fat mouth then I carve my name
Nas – too real, Nas – true king
It’s however you feel, g’head, you swing
Your arms too short to box with god
I don’t kill soloists only kill squads
Fame went to they head, so now it’s “Fuck Nas”
Yesterday you begged for a deal, today you tough guys
I seen it comin
Soon as I popped my first bottle I spotted my enemies tryna’ do what I do
Came in with my style, so I fathered you
I kept changin on the world since “…Barbeque”
Now you wanna hang with niggas I hung with
Fuck bitches I hit, it’s funny I once said…
If I, ever make a record
I take a check and put something away for a rainy day to make my exit
But look at me now, ten years deep
Since the project, ??? ???
I never asked to be top of rap’s elite
Just a ghetto child tryna’ learn the traps of the streets
But look at me now
The tone of disgust in Nas’ voice and the way he lyrically digs himself out of the hip hop grave is astounding. It really was the world against Nas at that time, and Nas used every single ounce of his genius to prove the naysayers wrong. Oh yeah and how does Nas respond to his baby momma drama with Hov? On the second verse, Nas raps,
Broads play with pentagrams in they vagina
Like the Exorcist, then they gave birth to my seeds
I beg for God’s help, why they love hurtin me?
Take a second to think this out, who the hell says this? This isn’t mixtape rapper with punch lines this is a higher level of rhymin’ that borders the line of abstract poetry and concise thought. Nas is da man and my favorite rap songs of all time go to these two gems he created.