- Nas Hip Hop Is Dead
- NasPhoto credit: Frazer Harrison, Jason Kempin and Amy Graves, WireImage for Beats Music
Nas is credited for dropping arguably the best debut album in hip-hop history with Illmatic. After his classic 1994 release, the Queensbridge storyteller followed up with five more platinum solo albums in a ten-year span, pioneering a run that only Jay Z, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg have matched as the only rappers to claim such an impressive consistent stint, with ‘Ye recently joining the ranks after the platinum success of Yeezus.
With Illmatic turning twenty this April, XXL has compiled a guide to Nas’ first decade of his career, from his era-defining debut to 2002′s God’s Son. Since then, Nas has dropped four albums, and his latest offering, Life Is Good, was the most recent XXL-rated album by an artist not named Kendrick Lamar (and, like K. Dot this year, he’s been shut out of the Grammys on each occasion).
While many debate the quality of the street poet’s projects, the Street Dreams rapper still boasts one of the most successful debut decades in hip-hop history. It ain’t hard to tell. —Christian Bonoan