Nas addresses comparisons between "good kid, m.A.A.d city" and "Illmatic," says comparing the two isn't fair to Kendrick Lamar.
In addition to offering his thoughts on Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar as part of Complex’s newly-released cover story with the TDE lyricist, Nas also spoke on the West Coast musician in a separate feature story released by Complex.
The Queensbridge emcee was questioned about Kendrick’s good kid, m.A.A.d city album and the pressure the rapper faces on the album’s follow-up. He also discussed his debut album Illmatic and its follow-up, 1996’s It Was Written.
When questioned about Kendrick competing against and surpassing himself with his good kid, m.A.A.d city follow-up, Nas went on to express his confidence in K-Dot and revealed that there’s no way the rapper can mess up on his next studio album.
“But I think he got it. I know he got it,” Nas said. “There’s no way he can mess it up because the love he has from the game is so large that he can almost mumble on the record and it’s going to be in rhythm and it’s going to be next level. So he’s in a great place because, again, there’re so many single artists that the album artist just holds up as a whole different kind of value. And he’s that kind of guy. So whatever he does, in my opinion, will be appreciated but at the same time he knows he has to bring it. It’s about challenges, right? Life’s about challenges. In this game it’s about challenges.”
Nas later recalled the pressure he felt in his early years due to the immense amount of competition there was in the rap game at the time.
“Oh, for sure,” he said. “Because you had Jay Z coming. You had Ghostface’s first album. You had Raekwon. You had Mobb Deep. These guys had cornered the rap game off. And also Biggie, and many others. So the competition was severe for me to put out the next record.”
Lastly, Nas was asked about comparisons between Kendrick’s good kid, m.A.A.d city and his debut album, Illmatic. He stated that it’s not fair to compare the two albums since good kid, m.A.A.d city represents a different time and Kendrick endured a different journey to get to where he is today in his music career.
“No, it’s not a fair comparison to me because Illmatic represented a different time and a different expression for different reasons,” Nas said. “The times inspired the sound of that—the climate of the music business, the rap game, the industry, the year, and life in itself. It’s not fair to Kendrick’s album either because his album is a brand new expression that represents these times, the sound represents what’s happening now, he’s changing things today.
“You can compare them because you can compare me and Kendrick in a lot of ways,” he added. “But at the same time you have to respect his journey. His journey is his own fresh journey and to compare it with me or anybody else is not fair to him. You gotta respect his music for him. It’s cool to compare it but at the end of the day, allow him to have his own lane.”
Kendrick has remained relatively tight-lipped when it concerns the details of his next studio album, but did recently reveal that Dr. Dre is working with him on the project.
“One thing about Dre is you can’t take the music away from him no matter how much money he has,” the rapper said during an interview with KIIS FM in June. “He’s always gonna be right there in that studio. That’s before the deal, after the deal. He’s always locked in there. That’s something that I know personally."