[SOHH allows artists and the like to mentally dig through the crates and reflect on singles that they feel not only affected hip-hop culture, but their own musical technique as well. Today, Queens rapper Consequence shares his experience sitting in on one of Nas’s Illmatic studio sessions.]
I actually was with Nas when he recorded “One Love”. That was one of the best experiences that I had growing up.
I was about 17. At the time, me and Q-Tip were runnin around, bustin’ moves, doing music. We were both still living in Queens at the time and had went out to a studio in Manhattan; Tip had a session with Nas. At the time, I was doing my tree thing crazy! I wasn’t rollin’ papers, I was smokin’ blunts. Where I lived [Jamaica, Queens] was about 45 minutes from Queensbridge. We had this spot out there called Princess Black. So [Nas] comes to my side of Queens to get the weed. [Princess Black] was crazy … like if you can’t write a rhyme off this, stop smokin’ weed! That shit was that good.
[That] was the first time we’d met. I had heard about him, you know? People had told me about him, like “Yo there’s this kid Nas, he’s ill.” I had saw the video Back to the Grill Again so I kinda knew what he looked like and [previously] had heard him spit.
At the time, Nas was kinda like one of the first dudes to have shock value rhymes. He was sayin the thing about snuffin’ Jesus. Nobody had really started takin’ it to that extent, you know? Rap was still politically correct, most people were still doing the Kid ‘N Play thing. We were comin’ out of that era. So Nas is like, “Yo, I came out to y’all side to get this Princess Black.” I’m like “Whoa! I know what that is, roll that up!”
Eat. Smoke. He go in the booth … the shit was just so loud, clear and [“One Love”] was just so relevant to where we come from. Writing a letter to ya man in jail. It was such a zone-out; I was just in awe and hypnotized.
Right after that, I knew it. From that point I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell the story of being from Queens and the different instances with which we deal. And that’s why I love “One Love”. In New York, especially in that time period, so many of us dealt with having to write somebody a letter in jail. The way he captured [that sentiment], it was mind-blowing.
Check out “One Love” – Nas featuring Q-Tip below: