Earlier today, Nas spoke with Marc Lamont Hill on Huffpost Live to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, discuss relationships with other artists and how fatherhood has changed him.
It’s hard to believe 20 years has passed since Nas dropped a lyrical bombshell on the Hip Hop community. On April 19, 1994, the Queensbridge rapper released his debut album Illmatic. Although the response from the album is still widely debated to this day, the classic later earned a rare XXL album rating and was certified platinum.
The artist, who admits to not being able to rate his albums from best to worst, opened up to Hill about his musical career, the relationships he’s built along the way and listened to fans voice their opinion about his music via tweets.
Nas on his relationship with Biggie:
“On the second album I had to respond a little bit to certain lines; we’d just keep each other on our toes. But that was the great thing about BIG. BIG wasn’t the guy who was bitter. He pushed you. He challenged you. He made you feel like you had to rise up or get out. He wouldn’t sit around and be talking about you and be mad at you and jealous. If he had any envy in him, it’s because he always had to have that top spot and that is what being the best is all about. And I miss him today because he was a class act with that.”
Nas reflects on Tupac:
“When I heard that [Tupac] had something about me in Makavelli, we talked about it and he said he would take it out after me and him met and voiced our opinions on everything. He said, ‘I’m cool with taking that out [of the record]. He was like, ‘Yeah I’ve got that on my record going at you.’ But he passed… the day before my birthday… we were going to meet in Vegas. I was in Vegas and it rained in Vegas when he passed. That was a trip. I have way too much respect for Tupac, way too much. He was a God.”
Nas gave fans another dose of the iconic album to celebrate the anniversary with the release of Illmatic XX: 20th Anniversary Edition. The album contains unreleased demos and freestyles, along with fresh remixes. You can find a stream of the album right here on the site.
You can watch the full length interview below:—Morgan Murrell