Rap veteran Nas recently discussed his method for staying relevant after over two decades in the music industry and what hip-hop album stands out the most in his head from last year.
Asked for what keeps fresh ideas churning, Nas said authenticity is key.
“Rule No. 1 is you can’t be fake. If you’re fake, you become a gimmick and you’re selling a gimmick; a little gimmick is cool, this is entertainment. But when you base your stuff on mostly real stuff, you never run out of it because every day is a different adventure.” (SF Gate)
He also bigged up West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar‘s good kid, m.A.A.d city LP and hinted at new music coming down the pipeline.
“No disrespect to nobody else in rap music, but Kendrick Lamar. I’m really happy about his record. I needed that. His record reaches you. It gives you hope. …Also, Meek Mill. His energy is amazing. … [New music?] Yes. It has started. I must tell you. I can’t stop now. I’m in a great zone.” (SF Gate)
Recently, Nasir Jones talked about his music’s evolution in an ever-changing rap game.
“I’ve been called everything. Gangsta rap. I’ve been called conscious rap. You know, everything. Whoever feels like calling it whatever they want to call it, that’s on them,” he said. “Don’t blame me; blame our wonderful country, America. And you can’t even blame America. It’s life. Blame life. I talk about life, and I make universal music with an American style — and that’s what I do,” he said. “I know one thing: People put too many labels on music.” (CNN)
Last year, God’s Son considered why his career has lasted for over 20 years.
“So many people think they’re relevant because they’re still alive. That’s not the case. Just because they stay alive, doesn’t make you relevant. Your music should mean something, and that’s what I always try to do. I don’t work hard on anything other than being me, and if that resonates and they say that’s relevant, that’s official. I get that question from so many people, ‘What makes you so relevant today when they’re not relevant?'” (Muve Music)
Check out some recent Nas footage: