The much-discussed Jay Z versus Nas debate was one of several topics West Coast wordsmiths B-Real and Evidence tackled during the latest episode of The Smoke Box.

While discussing the matter, Evidence declared that Nas is an artist with God-given talent, a talent he says he didn’t see in Jay Z during his early years. Despite commenting on Nas’ God-given talent as an emcee, Evidence did credit Jay Z for surpassing Nas at a certain point in their careers.

“To me, Nas is one of the most gifted rappers of all time,” he said. “From God though. Not from what he made of it. My man Planet Asia is the same way. They just got that shit on the mic. For me, I look at early Jay Z work and I don’t see that God-given thing. [B-Real: He had to work on it] And God-damn-did-he. And look what he turned it into…I think Jay Z surpassed Nas at a certain point. It’s debatable, but at least it’s debatable… Maybe Nas is sharper than Jay Z right now. Maybe because Nas is on some b-boy shit. But Jay Z [may be] so powerful. It’s a debate.”

Prior to speaking on Nas’ talents, Evidence explained that despite lacking some of his own God-given talent as an artist, he was able to hone in on his techniques as a musician.

“For me, I got so lucky because I wasn’t the God-gifted…I think there were things I did that were inclinations that you could be good at this, but I didn’t have that immediate thing, so to hang out with all these people, I surrounded myself with all the best creative people I could find, it’s what helped me get better,” Evidence said.

The Dilated Peoples emcee even gave credit to B-Real, who he referred to as a “hero,” for helping him at the start of his music career.

“You still are my hero,” Evidence said to B-Real. “I wasn’t really doing good at the beginning and you were really cool with me. You don’t realize how much that helped me. You could have fucked me up a little bit. But instead, you found positive ways to say things to me. Like, I got to meet LL Cool J through QD3, I played him one of my first demos. Instead of him dissing me, he kinda sang along with the chorus. You don’t know how much that did for me. I keep that in mind when somebody’s playing me something. I just try to find a lot of good in stuff.”

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