This is a special year for Nas, who has a few anniversaries to celebrate including the release of his first verse ever. The Queensbridge poet, who’s gearing up for the release of his 10th solo album, Life Is Good, helped to pioneer shock rap with his timeless breakout verse on 1991’s “Live at the Barbeque,” with lines like “When I was 12, I went to hell for snuffing Jesus.” With that in mind, XXL recruited a new controversial MC, Odd Future’s frontman Tyler, the Creator, who’s a longtime Nas fan, to interview the veteran MC for the November issue’s cover story.
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Who would have guessed the two rappers would have hit it off so well. Throughout an in-dept interesting conversation that lasted over an hour-and-a-half, Nas and Tyler touched on a variety of topics including: music, religion, family, decision making, drugs, the Internet, and even Star Wars. But it all started with Tyler telling Nas, which of the rap vet’s CDs he likes best.
“God’s Son is my favorite album by you,” Tyler said. “And my second is probably Street’s Disciple,” he continued.
“Get the fuck outta here,” Nas responded.
Awkward and quirky exchanges aside, the discussion quickly picked up with the 20-year-old Tyler asking Nas for advice.
“You, Em, Jay, Snoop, like, you guys all started when you was exactly my age,” Tyler said. “The fact that you guys are still here makes me just always think, like, Fuck, could I?”
“Oh, you definitely can,” Nas replied. “Someone like you is, you’re interesting, for a lot of reasons. So someone like you, you can’t wait to see what’s next.”
And the topics continued to get deeper as the conversation went on.
“Are you, like—this question might catch you off guard, but I ask myself this—like, when you wake up, like, are you happy,” Tyler asked. “Like, are you satisfied how everything turned out?”
“Dawg, I was naming my album Life Is Good because of how happy I am about how happy things have turned out,” Nas answered. “Sometimes I may wake up and wish my kids were living with me. That’s the only thing, you know what I mean? Our loved ones that are not around no more, like my mom. That’s the only thing. But other than that, everything is great, even when I’m alone. Even when there’s no one around.”
Along with the massive story on Nas—which includes a story on the Queens rapper reflecting on the 20-year, 15-year, 10-year and 5-year anniversary of his respective milestone releases, “Live at the Barbeque”, It Was Written, Stillmatic and Hip Hop Is Dead.