Without any doubt, Nas is one of the greatest rappers that has ever touched a microphone. According to Britannica, Nas is an American rapper with several classic albums and some of the best concept records. With more than two decades in the Hip Hop industry, his music career has been blooming in success. Nas has several outstanding albums and singles, including the popular N.Y. State of mind. This piece narrows down to the ten best Nas songs of all time.
10. N.Y. State of Mind
This is a huge song from Nas featured in his debut album Illmatic, released in 1994. The song was produced by D.J. Premier and is arguably the best rap song from Nas. According to Storyofsong, this track was to paint a picture to the world about what was taking place in New York then. Nas was only 19 when he released this album, and the fact that the lyrics of this track are amazing indicates how talented the rapper is.
9. The World is Yours
This is a 1994 song by the American rapper. It is the fourth single in his debut studio album, Illmatic. This song is among the greatest hip-hop songs that Nas has ever recorded. The song was ranked at position seven by about.com in the list of greatest rap songs. The track reached number 13 in the 1994 charts for Hot Rap singles charts. This tune features a sample of I Love Music by Ahad Jamal. The song and its music video pay homage to the Scarface film.
8. One Mic
This is another song from the American rapper that was released in April 2002. This track was the artist’s third single from his fifth album, Stillmatic. The track has a sample of “In the Air Tonight” BY Phil Collins.
On the Billboard Hot 100, this song peaked at number 43, which made this track the artist’s top 50 hit on the charts. Nas expresses his desire for a simple life and the obstacles that prevent that from happening. He also touches on the fact that material possessions are not what brings fulfillment in life.
7. It Ain’t Hard to Tell.
This is the second single in Nas’ debut album, Illmatic. Even though this track was technically the second in this album, it was the first to be released after this album was pressed in 1994. The production of this track was by Large Professor. This song samples the theme song in The Transformers cartoon series. Nas uses a lot of metaphors in this tune to tell the listeners about his skills in rapping.
When you listen to the song, you will easily notice some samples of “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson. This single reached position 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
6. Nas is Like
Nas is Like is from Nas’ third album dubbed I Am. It is the sixth collaboration between D.J. Premier and Nas and was well-received by critics. Listening to the song, you will notice that it has introspective and braggadocios lyrics over a string sample.
The lyrical prowess of this song is evident in the first lines that go “Freedom or jail…” in his third verse, the rapper incorporates similes to prove his prowess even further. The music video for the song shows the rapper doing his thing in the Queensbridge projects. Nick Quested did the video director here.
5. If I Ruled the World
In this song, Nas features another American rapper, Lauryn Hill. Nas released this song as his second single in his second album, It Was Written, in 1996. This song made people dig much into this album as it was not getting the attention it deserved. This is a radio-friendly hit where Nas gives a message of peace and hope. The supple vocals from Lauryn Hills make this tune even sweeter.
Ether is a diss track by this American rapper in his 2001 album, Stillmatic. According to songmeaningsandfacts, Nas did this song responding to Takeover by Jay-Z. “Takeover” was a diss track directed towards Prodigy and Nas by Jay-Z. Ether has been termed a classic diss song and the wildest track in rap history by music publications.
The song became so powerful that “ether” has been the common slang for destroying the haters. This track forced Jay-Z to apologize, which most people see as a win.
“Represent” appears as the ninth single on Nas’ debut album, Illmatic. D.J. Premier produced the song with Nas. The song has a sample of “Memory Lane” by Minnie Ripperton. This song samples “Thief of Baghdad” by Lee Irwin.
Nas has said that he dedicated this track to many people, including Cormega, a future hip-hop artist. Music critics have described the song as catchy with insane lyrics.
2. Life’s a Bitch
This tune is the third single in Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, in 1994. Life’s a Bitch was released as the twelfth single under Columbia Records. The song’s beat has been produced by L.E.S., who sampled the Gap Band’s “Yearning for your Love.”
In his lyrical verses, Nas discusses how he is so happy to be alive for 20 years. He says that he had a rough childhood, robbing foreigners of green cards. However, the tone of his words suggests that he reflects rather than glorifies his actions.
1. One Love
We summarize this list with “One Love” from Nas, released in October 1994 from Columbia Records. When asked, he said the song title originated from Bob Marley’s song with the same title.
This song is composed as a combination of letters the rapper wrote to his friends. He describes the events that occurred before and after the imprisonment of the receiver. You will surely enjoy this track with its relaxing beat and amazing lyrics.
It is very hard to talk about rap without an American rapper named Nas popping up. His catalog has been populated with street anthems, conceptual prowess, and cinematic flair.
The American rapper has also collaborated with fellow rappers to record some of the best tunes we listen to. At one time, he released a diss track directed to Jay-Z. His journey has been one of pure success. If you are looking for some of the best Nas songs to add to your playlist. The above tunes will be worth it.