He burst onto the scene heralded as the Second Coming of Rakim, a street's disciple anointed hip-hop's chosen one, an MC destined for greatness. Nas, of course, proved to be mere mortal, a godly lyricist from the Queensbridge projects who flirted with mass appeal with mixed results: recording numerous hits and selling millions of albums while also going through a Jekyll and Hyde period, seeing his supergroup, The Firm, fail to live up to expectations and getting into squabbles with some of his rapping friends. But the entire transformation from Nasty Nas to Escobar to Nastradamus back to Nas only strengthened one of the most respected rap artists in the game, someone who even at his lowest creative point has always been far above the average rapper.
His determination to be recognized as the best MC dead or alive motivated him through arguably hip-hop's most epic verbal war (which the public declared he won), and his fearless opinions and ideas have caused controversy in an age when not much is shocking anymore. With the recent announcement that he's working on his 10th solo album as well as an album with Mobb Deep, Complex explores his vast and exceptional collection to choose The 100 Best Nas Songs.
Written by Gabriel Alvarez of @egotripland