For the first time in years, Nas has garnered adulation from both critics and fans with his latest project, Life Is Good. It debuted at No.1 on the Billboard charts this upcoming week. Whether it's his ghetto Aesop's fables, personal anecdotes, or wise sayings he shares from experience, Nasir Jones has always conveyed messages in his songs. For nearly two decades, fans have taken upon quotes after quotes from Nas' catalog, deciphered them, and applied them to their lives. Here's 50 of his best life lessons to keep in your mental arsenal. —XXL Staff (@XXL)
Translation: Times get tough, but the key to making it through is persistence and perseverance.
Translation: Imagine if you put your efforts towards building for the future, rather than quickly enjoying (or lamenting) the moment.
Translation: Be careful what you say and who you trust.
Translation: People come in and out of your life, but, in the end, all you’ve got is yourself. Bet on yourself, and you’ll go far.
Translation: It may seem cool to committing rhymes or blasting rounds from a gun at foes, but the result is you’re locked up and their life will be mourned.
De Ja Vu
Translation: Stay smart if you want to avoid getting locked up in jail, or get affected by the sometimes ruthless force of the law.
Translation: Even when things aren’t looking up, don’t dwell in your own misery. The only way you’ll come up is if you go and get yours. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t do any good.
Translation: Just be yourself, do you, and the ladies will catch on.
It Was Written_The Message
Translation: Oftentimes, due to various circumstances (money, greed, lust) close relationships can face unpleasant outcomes. It's a natural occurrence of life, and it is bound to happen one way or another.
Translation: Don’t simply say what you plan on doing. Actually do it.
Translation: Ladies, understand your own self-worth. Don’t let a man or your sexuality define this for you. Set high standards for yourself and hold yourself and those around you to those standards.
It Was Written_If I Rule The World
Translation: Others will plot on your demise.
It Was Written_If I Ruled The World_Part 2
Translation: Black communities face oppressive forces and institutional racism even in today’s society.
I Am_NY State of Mind Part 2
Translation: A lot of people are planning to acquire riches. While some are actually executing their plans, others are merely talking about it. As Nas referred to himself, look forward to create something that's bigger.
Translation: Some people hate. All you can do is keep doing you.
Translation: The people in our communities are better off coming together instead of fighting one another.
Translation: Those who are in a less desirable position than you may try to chop you down. Don’t let them deter you.
Translation: The universe is a balance. Without pain, there is no joy.
Find Ya Wealth
Translation: Find your identity by studying who you are as an individual. When do achieve that state, take your abilities to the limit. You'll come across haters, but dismiss them.
Translation: It’s easy to have your judgment clouded by beautiful things and people and seemingly too good to be true situations. Sometimes when things appear to good to be true, they are. Learn from your mistakes.
Translation: Don’t limit your education to what they teach (or don’t teach) in the classroom. Take control of your own future.
Stillmatic_What Goes Around_1
Translation: Religion and religious doctrines employed for the wrong reasons can be harmful, oppressive, and even deadly.
Stillmatic_What Goes Around_2
Translation: Your impact on this earth is not based upon possessions or how long you live, but they way you affect the lives of others.
Stillmatic_What Goes Around_3
Translation: Take care of your kids.
Lost Tapes_Doo Rags
Translation: Take care of your body with the proper nutrients and exercise. In order for you to accomplish more as an individual, you need the full support of your physical form. Plus, you only get one body for your lifetime.
Lost Tapes_Nothing Lasts Forever
Translation: Carpe diem.
Translation: The circle of life is evident. Whether that's a good or bad.
Lost Tapes_Black Zombies
Translation: The future lies upon your hand. It's not determined by those who are enforcing upon a false belief. Figure things out on your own terms, and decide the path you think it's righteous.
God's Son_Get Down
Translation: Watch your back.
God's Son_I Can_1
Translation: You can be and achieve anything that you want, but it only comes with hard work and dedication.
God's Son_I Can_2
Translation: Keep your circle tight. The negative influence of others can not only influence others’ perceptions of you, but also the person you become.
God's Son_I Can_3
Translation: You have your whole life to be an adult. Enjoy your childhood. The time to be a grown up will come.
God's Son_I Can_4
Translation: Don't resign to a future that society says you will fulfill. Pursue knowledge and become great.
God's Son_Book of Rhymes_1
Translation: Living is no different that prison when you're around those who can't elevate your stance. Surrounding yourself around dung, will make you smell like dung and be treated like a dung. Stay away from those who are of no help.
God's Son_Book of Rhymes_2
Translation: Living one's life solely based on money leads to foul deeds, including hurting those who are poor. Live your life to the fullest, but money shouldn't be the end all, be all.
God's Son_Book of Rhymes_3
Translation: Be aware of your surroundings. And keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
Translation: Sharing is caring.
Street's Disciple_Live Now
Translation: You only live once, so live your life to the fullest.
Street's Disciple_Rest of My Life
Translation: Your death will spark some very unfortunate happenings, including your enemies trying to get a nut with your loved one. Therefore, always be aware.
Street's Disciple_Street's Disciple
Translation: It's easy to get lost in the 'hood environment, not realizing the existence of the outside world. This could be detrimental, as the 'hood has no sympathy towards those that are left behind.
Hip-Hop Is Dead_Money Over Bullshit
Translation: Snitches will get reprimanded. So be careful what you utter on these streets, society, or corporate environment.
Hip-Hop Is Dead_Still Dreaming_1
Translation: Stay in your lane, and watch where you're going. Otherwise, you'll get hurt.
Hip-Hop Is Dead_Still Dreaming_2
Translation: Be wise with your spending habits, because not everyday is sunny. Or you might end up doing something stupid like busting guns to gain riches.
Translation: The bigger your circle, the more likelihood of you dealing with individuals with wrong intentions. The world is full of people who are blinded (or dumb). To win, you must have knowledge.
Distant Relatives_Strong Will Continue
Translation: Unlike his song "Rewind," things don't go backwards or return to the way they were. So cease the opportunity you're granted if you don't want to get left behind.
Life Is Good_Loco Motive
Translation: Remove yourself from scuffles and tribulations of life, and you'll be in a better state.
Life Is Good_Daughters
Translation: Karma's a bitch.
Life Is Good_Stay
Translation: Some people seek fame to feel better about themselves, while some people hate out of jealousy or longing to be in the same position their subject stands upon.
Life Is Good_World's An Addiction
Translation: Don't waste your time on the bullshit, because it's a blockade from allowing you to accomplish bigger and better things.
Life Is Good_Trust
Translation: Opportunities don't fall from the sky, you must strive to achieve them on your own.