Nas Reflects Upon 20 Years In Hip Hop

Nas says he didn't know he would still be making music 20 years after "Illmatic."

Nas, who celebrates 20 years since the release of his 1994 debut album Illmatic this year, recently spoke about how he feels when he looks back at the two decades of his Hip Hop career. 

"I didn't know I would even be still around this long," Nas said in an interview with Revolt

Beyond not being able to predict this type of longevity, Nas said he also did not want it. 

"I didn't want to be around this long in the game, to tell you the truth," Nas said. "I was just happy to get a voice in. So, just being happy to get your voice, anybody out there who's working on their first album or who's only made one album, just think about 20 years from now, it's gonna be a great feeling." 

Nas' reluctance to stay in the record industry is something he has discussed in the past. On "You're Da Man," a selection off 2001's Stillmatic, Nas rapped about this.

"I once said, 'If I, ever make a record, I'll take a check and put something away for a rainy day to make my exit,'" Nas raps on the track. "But look at me now, 10 years deep."  

Now 20 years deep in the industry, Nas announced illmaticXX, a twentieth anniversary edition of his debut album. Nas also recently announced that he is set to perform Illmatic in its entirety at Coachella. Meanwhile, a film about the making of Illmatic, Time Is Illmatic, is set to be released this year as well.  

RELATED: Nas Announces "illmaticXX" Release Date, Cover Art & Tracklisting

31 Comments

  • Anonymous

    jay z afraid to say the truth about Black history.Nas is a sacraficial lamb.

  • Anonymous

    nas please make another album like the untitled album dont let them bring you down about saying our history in your songs

  • Sam Snead

    Nas is still putting out quality work, Other greats like 2pac and big are dead, along with those that could have been like Big L and Pun. Eminem(eminem show) and Jay-z(black album, though america gangster was solid) have not put out a really good album in years, Rakim has not done anything in many years. Nas is the greatest rapper alive, sorry F%ck boys

  • great rapper but..

    he isn fuckin wit the lyricism of rakim, big l, eminem, big pun and tech 9 among a handful of others

  • Anonymous

    Best Rappers Of All Time: 1. Jay Z 2. Rakim 3. Eminem 4. Rick Ross 5. Nelly 6. Ice Cube 7. Drake 8. Pre Coke DMX 9. Fat Joe 10. 50 Cent Honorable Mention: Nas 2 Chainz Lil Whyte E-40 Wyclef Jean

  • 5TH GOAT

    wHY yall keep saying "lyrically"? I clearly said overall 2pac,Big,jayz and Slim Shady are overall better than Nas, this is the music industry not no rap battle, in a rap battle people focus on lyrics but nas is in the music industry, so the focus should be about everything, and nas comes up short as far as overall,Charisma,personality,delivery, etc.

    • Anonymous

      I guess you mean by selling records and who sold the most records. If that's the case I guess you are right. Cause all of those artist sold more then Nas. I guess little Wayne and Drake is better then Jay-Z now. And J-Cole is a better artist then Kanye West. His album sold more. Also replace Charisma with Swag cause that pretty much sounds like the same shit. Facts Everyone of Nas' albums went Platinum or Gold and he has never had a number one hit record ever. Only single that went platinum is "If I rule the World."(1996) How does all your albums sell so much without radio play and commercial success. Because people want to hear your whole project. People don't check Nas for one song they want the whole album. Em, Jay, Big and Pac(and many others) had it easy. They always had radio's playing their shit. You don't hear Nas' songs on the radio much, but somehow dude still sell records. Everyone hate on Nas for "You owe me and Oochie Wally," but those are the only songs I hear from Nas when I go to the club. And they still play those songs in the club now.

    • Anonymous

      you're a joke...you must still be wet behind the ears. Assassinate yourself

    • Real

      Are you stupid? Neither of those rappers have an album better than illmatic.

  • insanemacbeth

    when NAS is good, NAS is genius. not the second coming of RAKIM, however.

  • Anonymous

    Only artist to ever stay real and relevant for that long of time.

  • Mary Paine

    uptil I saw the bank draft ov $8866 , I did not believe ...that...my best friend woz like they say realie erning money in their spare time on their computer. . there uncle has been doing this 4 only about a year and just now took care of the mortgage on there appartment and got a great Lotus Elan . go right here... www.Tec80.com This iish is a joke smh. Be sure to checkout thegrandreport, they have some good hip hop and viral videos on there

  • 5TH GOAT

    Nas is the 5th Greatest Rap Artist Ever. He did a lot in the hiphop world to get that title, but real talk, illmatic is not nas greatest album, its his top 5, but not number 1, Stillmatic,I Am are better than ill, I no yall nas fans gona be like "nas not 5th", overall nas is, nas overall is not better than 2pac,Big,Jayz and Slim Shady, nas does not have the personalities and the charisma as the others.Nas is truly one of the greatest ever no doubt.

    • ^^^co-sign

      the last time has had a questionable album was the late nineties. since then all his work has been consistent. he is truly the goat

    • It Was Written

      Its all opinion's. I would replace charisma with Swag because that's all that bullshit means to me. Lyrically Nas is better then everyone you named cause his consistency. Eminen hasn't made a good album since Eminem Show. Biggie and Jay doesn't come anywhere near as deep as Nas does. Neither one of them is as creative. And 2 Pac is straight to the point with little metaphors and punchlines but his rhymes is as deep or deeper then Nas. Personally I think Big L and Big Pun Lyrically is better then everyone you named. If we talking about lyrics and let net forget Jay-z whole style is Big L's and Nas'. Difference between a Eminem or Jay-Z to Nas is both Jay and Em spit punchlines and Metaphors or Double meanigs, while Nas would have a whole song(or verse) be considered a Metaphor. I gave you power, Money is my bitch etc. So if your attention span is low of course you would think Jay-Z or Em is better lyrically. Their shit is more catchy while Nas would have a whole verse back down. Also Nas' is a story teller. His rhymes is vivid. Listen to It Was Written. Shit is like a movie.

    • Anonymous

      Nas is better lyrically then 2 of those dudes you just listed what are basing G.O.A.T on ? just curious

    • Anon

      I absolutely agree with all of that expect I would def put him lyrically past biggie. ppl are gonna bitch at you for this opinion but in mine, your very spot on. love nas but there are also many underground rappers better lyrically and i agree with the fact that he doesnt have the charisma or mic presence as the other ones for sure!

  • Anonymous

    nas is a hip hop legend.. 20+ years deep, been through many ups and downs, and still remains one of the top emcees in the game.. congrats nas, looking forward to that time is illmatic film..

  • Anonymous

    Nas is such a humble and real dude. It's a shame this article doesn't get as many comments as a lord jamar one.

  • Anonymous

    cormega raps better than has

    • Anonymous

      Untitled is a mediocre nas album illmatic stillmatic iww lost tapes are classics. the rest are great n better than most people album. i can jam to all nas tapes philosophical gangster!!

    • Anonymous

      Cormega is nice but really. You better off saying AZ or Prodigy. Also if you think Untitled is medicore you gotta be some white dude. That Album is in his top 5 above God Son, life is good and Hip Hop is Dead all in his bottom half. Funny cause Nas' worst albums is better then your favorite rappers best.

    • Anonymous

      u are a hater.. why are u comparing nas to cormega anyway.. not the point of the article dumbass

    • nas fan

      who is cormega? he got better albums than illmatic stillmatic lost tapes, it was written, even he medicro albums like untitled hip hop is dead gods son life is good is better than most niggas album.

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