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Name a Rapper Nas Ain’t Influenced

Nas didn’t become one of hip-hop’s most influential figures by design. Though he claims to have known that his introductory verse on Main Source’s “Live At the Barbecue” would invent shock rap back in 1991, the Queensbridge lyricist’s moves have since come off as instinctive, rather than calculated. Nasty Nas’s seminal 1994 debut, Illmatic, alone, birthed several trends—from the cover art picturing a younger Nas to its effect on the landscape of hip-hop production. By the time he celebrated 10 years in the game on 2001′s Stillmatic, God’s Son was fully aware of his impact. “Name a rapper I ain’t influenced,” he rhymed on the first verse of “Ether”—his scathing response to Jay-Z’s “Takeover.” Indeed. Nas’s DNA can be found in an innumerable amount of MCs that have come out in the last 20 years. With Nas celebrating two decades in the game in XXL‘s November issue, looks back at the “Nasty” MC’s contributions to the game and the MCs that followed.—XXL Staff

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