Irv Gotti believes Nas has the “best Hip Hop record” of all time — but not because of Illmatic.
During an appearance on the Earn Your Leisure podcast, Gotti heaped yet more lofty praise on the Queensbridge MC, claiming there’s no better rap single than his 2002 effort “Made You Look.”
The Murder Inc. founder also reserved special credit for Nas’ aforementioned debut LP, calling it the best Hip Hop album ever made.
“‘Made You Look’ may be the best Hip Hop record. He has the best Hip Hop album and the best Hip Hop single. The best Hip Hop record might be ‘Made You Look,” Gotti declared.
When one of the co-hosts asked if it tops Nas’ 1996 hit “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” with Lauryn Hill, he replied: “‘If I Ruled the World’ isn’t even in the fucking sentence! [It’s a] great record, immortal, iconic; it ain’t on the fucking list as the greatest Hip Hop record!”
Released in September 2002 as the lead single from Nas’ sixth album God’s Son, “Made You Look” remains arguably one of his greatest lyrical performances, if not one of the grittiest records in his decorated catalog.
Produced by Salaam Remi and built around a sample of the Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache,” the song peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100. It remains Nas’ third highest-charting track behind “I Can” (No. 12) and “Street Dreams” (No. 22).
Jadakiss and Ludacris joined Nas on the official remix to “Made You Look,” which the trio performed at the latter’s Made You Look: God’s Son Live concert at New York City’s Webster Hall in 2003.
Prior to the release of “Made You Look,” Nas surprised the rap world by flirting with joining Murder Inc., which was teased on Ja Rule and Ashanti’s “The Pledge (Remix).” While the deal never materialized, Irv Gotti later revealed it fractured his long-running relationship with JAY-Z, who was famously beefing with Nas at the time.
In an interview with HipHopDX last year, Gotti called his affiliation with Nas one of the biggest regrets of his career.
“I’m not really a regretful person, although I do have two regrets in my life,” he said. “I got love for Nas, but I should’ve never fucked with him because me and JAY-Z was brothers.”
Irv Gotti, JAY-Z and Nas have since cleared the air, and Gotti confirmed that everything is “cool” these days. Revisit “Made You Look” below: