On this day, December 17, in hip-hop history…
2002: After making a near classic album in Stillmatic (2001) the following year was a real roller coaster ride for Nas. His mother would die from breast cancer in Nasir’s arm in April 2002. This happen while he was in a heated rap feud with prominent New York City rapper Jay Z. Through all this, Nas would create a solid, somber album which he discussed religion, violence, and his own emotional experiences when he released God’s Son in December 2002.
God’s Son finds the Queensbridge native dedicating much of the album to his mother, especially “Dance” which has Olu Dara, Nas’s father, playing the cornet as a tribute. “Last Real Nigga Alive” showcases Nas’ masterful storytelling ability while “Warrior Song,” which features Alicia Keys, we once again feel the pain of loss that saturates the album. Self-examination is another major theme on this album, especially with commercially successfully track “I Can” who Salaam Remi sampled Beethoven’s classic “Für Elise” for the beat. Salaam Remi also produced “Made You Look,” the bone-shattering lyrical beast that became Nas’ second most successful single on God’s Son reaching #32 on the Billboard Hot 100
God’s Son marked the return of Nasty Nas and shredded any doubt of his greatness. The album was very open and filled with sorrow, yet street savvy and artistic. Nas proved that he is a living legend and should be placed with the greats