In a past interview with Complex magazine, Queensbridge rapper Nas was quoted as saying “I think Kanye West saved rap” after he was asked about Lil Wayne being dubbed the best rapper alive. Nas revisited that particular quote this month during a Complex-led conversation with Steve Stoute and Ben Horowitz at South By Southwest.

According to Nas, Kanye has moved past saving Hip Hop and is now on an artistic mission.

In addition to speaking on the G.O.O.D. Music emcee, Nas gave credit to artists in the South and on the West Coast for representing the next generation of Hip Hop.

“I think his mission no longer is to save Hip Hop,” Nas said. “I think he’s on an artistic mission. He wants to express himself. So, who’s saving Hip Hop today is the new generation. And it’s brothers like myself and brothers like Jay who still got love for this thing. You know, street dudes who’s going to another level and still have the realness at heart. It’s the dudes in the South. It’s the West Coast explosion that’s happening right now in L.A. You gotta give credit where credit’s due. To the next generation for sure.”

Nas also spoke on the term “tanning,” a topic discussed in Steve Stoute’s book, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy, which was recently turned into a docu-series for VH1.

When asked to name artists who represent tanning in today’s music, Nas cited pop star Miley Cyrus and crooner Robin Thicke as well as young American culture.

“[When] I first got in the business it was more about representing then,” he said. “I think the new artists are representing how tanning effects America today. The new artists are doing new things. They have a very new conversation about lifestyle, fashion, and all of that…Who do I think represents tanning today? From Miley Cyrus to Robin Thicke to all the people that are representing, saying ‘We are one.’ All the people that are out there doing music that’s like—This young culture, this young American culture, this young world culture. It’s a thing that we do together. So again, all the people. All the new artists. All the new artists that’s in the game today.”

Nas joins a number of big name acts present at South By Southwest this week in Austin, Texas. Both Jay Z and Kanye West reunited on stage yesterday (March 13) at a Samsung-sponsored concert at Austin Music Hall, while Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar headlined the iTunes Festival Wednesday (March 12).

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